What a fantastic month it has been, with so much new hardware available! But what is this? It is Intel, who decided to add even more spice with their new Raptor Lake launch! Woohoo!
Potential CPU buyers had already had their options improved when AMD launched Zen 4 earlier this month, and from Intel’s timing, price, and performance, it is clear that this is a response. How good are the new choices from Intel?
Let us take a look.
There are three main “Raptor Lake” CPUs in this launch:
- i5-13600K ($330 – 14 cores, 20 threads)
- i7-13700K ($450 – 16 cores, 24 threads)
- i9-13900K ($660 – 24 cores, 32 threads)
We are going to ignore the i7-13700K for this launch, as most review sites did not review it. In the near future, once more 13700K reviews are out, we will come back to it.
These new CPUs are fantastic! In single-threaded (read: gaming) performance they are the new best-in-class option, beating Zen 4. The core/thread count is very high, and Intel’s multi-threaded performance meets or beats the competition.
But we all know that great performance alone is never the full story: What about the cost? Intel scores another win here with some clever prices. The Intel i5-13600K beats the AMD R7 7700X while costing $70 less. Similarly, the Intel i9-13900K beats (or matches) the AMD R9 7950X while costing $40 less. To rub salt into the wound: AMD’s most affordable launch motherboards were $300, while Intel’s are $200. So, you are going to save roughly $150 in total if you opt for Intel with no loss of performance!
The “Raptor Lake” CPUs use the same 1700 socket as the predecessors from Intel, and are backward-compatible with the older 600-series motherboards, as long as you update the BIOS. The new CPUs support both DDR4 and DDR5.
The number of cores stuffed into these CPUs looks very impressive, but there is a catch: they are not all the same type of cores.
Intel is still following the same strategy from last generation of mixing strong “P”erformance cores and weaker “E”fficiency cores. If you are comparing these new CPUs to the older ones, do not be fooled: All the new extra cores are E cores.
Intel’s Raptor Lake CPUs do beat the competition from AMD Zen 4 options, but the margin is often extremely small. We are talking something like 2% or 3% overall, not a dominating win.
We criticized the original Alder Lake for its excessive power draw and extreme temps. We criticized the new Zen 4 for its excessive power draw and extreme temps. And now it’s time to criticize Raptor Lake for its excessive power draw and extreme temps. It looks like no one intends to learn a lesson any time soon…
Power draw: Look, we are polite folks over here, so we cannot directly point at the official 125W TDP, slap our knees and roar with laughter. No, no, we will not be doing anything like that, no. What we can do is point out that the TDP is officially 125W, but:
So, the 125W TDP might be official, but it is also “fantasy”. These chips use a lot of power, which brings us to the next issue.
Operating temperature: The new Raptor Lake CPUs are hitting 101C temperatures under normal conditions, and as high as 117C if you let them. That is absurd. That is literal boiling temperature! This is just not right. What did we do to deserve this, Intel?
The new CPUs have great performance, earning them a spot in our list. The changes will be as follow:
- R7 7700X moved to the Outstanding tier
- i5-13600K added to the Exceptional tier
- R9 7900X moved to the Enthusiast tier
- i9-13900K added to the Extremist tier
The new CPUs in Exceptional/Extremist will have natively compatible motherboards added as well. The changes are live for the USA table, and will go live in other countries as soon as possible.
As usual, our main source is one of these megathreads containing a large set of proper sources compiled in one place. A huge thank you to the folks over at Reddit that put these together! Those people are awesome!