Intel is kicking off its 13th Gen Core CPU lineup, codenamed ‘Raptor Lake’, starting with high-end desktop models aimed at gamers and enthusiasts. The company makes a fresh claim to the title of “the world’s fastest desktop processor” with the flagship Core i9-13900K, which features a 5.8GHz peak boost speed and a total of 24 cores – of which eight are high-performance ‘P-cores’ with Hyper-Threading, and 16 are smaller single-threaded ‘E-cores’ for power efficiency. Intel claims up to a 15 percent improvement in single-threaded tasks but a huge 41 percent jump in workloads that can scale to all 32 available threads, compared to last year’s Core i9-12900K.
Six CPU models have been announced, in addition to a new set of 700-series chipsets for motherboards and a new smartphone integration platform called Intel Unison. In addition to the Core i9-13900K, there’s the Core i9-13900KF which lacks integrated graphics. Both have 36MB of L3 cache, plus 2MB of L2 per P-core and 4MB per cluster of four E-cores. The base TDP is 125W but the rated maximum power draw at boost speeds, with an adequate cooling solution, is 253W.
Intel has also announced the Core i7-13700K and 13700KF, which are identical other than the latter’s lack of integrated graphics. Both models have 16 cores in total, with eight P-cores and eight E-cores. The top speed is 5.4GHz and there’s 30MB of L3 cache plus 24MB of L2 cache in total. Base and max TDPs are also 125W and 253W respectively.
Finally, the Core i5-13600K and 13600KF feature 14 cores (six P-cores with eight E-cores) running at up to 5.1GHz, with 24MB and 20MB of L3 and L2 cache respectively. Base and max TDP ratings come in at 125W and 181W for this pair.
All six SKUs are overclockable and support up to 128GB of RAM, with 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes and four more PCIe 4.0 lanes. Non -F models feature the basic Intel UHD Graphics 770 integrated GPU. Prices in the US range from $294 (approximately Rs. 23,456 before taxes) for the Core i5-13600KF to $589 (approximately Rs. 46,992) for the flagship Core i9-13900K. Additional non-overclockable models with 65W and 35W base TDP ratings are expected to launch later. All six CPUs will be available as boxed retail units and in pre-built desktop PCs worldwide starting October 20, setting up a showdown with AMD’s brand new Ryzen 7000 series.
The Intel 7 manufacturing process, higher clock speeds, and new cache architecture contribute to the generational gains that Intel is promising. Intel’s Thread Director scheduler algorithm, which determines which tasks are assigned to different core types, has also been updated using machine learning. Windows 11 22H2 optimises the handling of background tasks vs those initiated by users. Overclocking is also said to be significantly improved, with P-cores reaching over 8GHz and DDR5 crossing 10,000MT/s using liquid nitrogen.
On the platform level, the new 700-series chipsets will allow for DDR5-5600 RAM, PCIe 5.0 support, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6e. 13th Gen CPUs use the same socket and are are pin-compatible with existing Intel 600-series chipsets, and motherboards with both DDR4 and DDR5 will be available.
Intel has also announced its Unison software platform which is intended to allow users to connect their iPhone or Android smartphone wirelessly to their PCs in order to easily transfer files, synchronise messages and phone calls, and receive notifications without having to juggle multiple devices. The technology is based on Screenovate, which Intel acquired late last year. Unison will first be available on Intel Evo platform laptops based on 12th and 13th Gen Core CPUs, with Acer, HP and Lenovo set to support it this year.