Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: Everything you need to know about Intel’s next-gen processors

Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: Everything you need to know about Intel’s next-gen processors

Following AMD’s recent launch of the Ryzen 7000 series, Intel’s own next-gen CPUs are now official. The 13th Gen “Raptor Lake” CPUs will be coming to market soon and in the usual way, there’s a lot to talk about.

More specifically, Intel has detailed its desktop 13th Gen chips at this point. There is much to discuss, dissect and of course, compare to the competition. 13th Gen, in a not-at-all-surprising move, is going to be harder, faster, and stronger than the 12th Gen that it succeeds.

Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far.

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Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: At a glance

There are many specs, details, and performance metrics to get through. But if you’re looking for the briefer version, here’s what we’re looking at.

  • Up to 24 cores (combination of P (performance) and E (efficient) cores) and 32-threads.
  • Intel Thread Director optimizes workloads by helping the OS distribute loads to optimal cores.
  • Intel Core i9-13900K is the “world’s fastest gaming CPU” with a 5.8GHz clock speed on the P-cores.
  • DDR4 3200 and DDR5 5600 support.
  • PCIe 4.0 (up to 4 lanes) and PCIe 5.0 (up to 16 lanes) support.
  • P-cores, E-cores, graphics, and memory can be overclocked on Z690 and Z790 chipsets.
  • XMP 3.0 support.
  • Integrated graphics capable of driving 8K60 HDR video and four simultaneous 4K60 displays.
  • Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E.

Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: Specifications

Intel 13th Gen

Now the chips are official we have a much clearer picture of key specifications. As previously confirmed, the 13th Gen CPUs are built on the same Intel 7 process as the 12th Gen “Alder Lake.” But with impressive performance improvements. It’s expected these will be the last CPUs built on Intel 7 before the move to Intel 4.

Here’s a breakdown of the key specs to expect from the 13th Gen Intel Core i5, i7, and i9:

Model Cores Threads Base/Turbo frequency L3/L2 Cache Base/Turbo power
Intel Core i5 (K and KF) 14 cores
6 P-cores
8 E-cores
20 Max turbo – 5.1GHz
P-cores – 3.5GHz/5.1GHz
E-cores – 2.6GHz/3.9GHz
24MB/20MB 125W/181W
Intel Core i7 (K and KF) 16 cores
8 P-cores
8 E-cores
24 Max turbo – 5.4GHz
P-cores – 3.4GHz/5.3GHz
E-cores – 2.5GHz/4.2GHz
30MB/24MB 125W/253W
Intel Core i9 (K and KF) 24 cores
8 P-cores
16 E-Cores
32 Max turbo – 5.8GHz
P-cores – 3.0GHz/5.4GHz
E-cores – 2.2GHz/4.3GHz
36MB/32MB 125W/253W

Just as with 12th Gen, the new Raptor Lake CPUs boast Intel’s hybrid design of P (performance) and E (efficient) cores. The range-topping Core i9 now boasts 24 total cores, though like the Core i7 only 8 of these are P-cores. Across the board, though, the 13th Gen sees double the number of E-cores to their relevant predecessor. And all of these cores can be overclocked on K variants. Turbo clock speeds are also increased compared to 12th Gen, with up to an additional 600MHz from the Core i9.

Additionally, Intel 13th Gen increases its DDR5 support up to 5600, compared to 4800 in the 12th Gen. It’s also now confirmed that DDR4 support does remain up to 3200. AMD has ditched DDR4 with Ryzen 7000, so this additional backward compatibility is no doubt a comfort to some Intel PC builders.

Both PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 support is included, with up to 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 bandwidth. And 13th Gen is compatible with both Z690 and Z790 chipsets while using the same LGA1700 socket as the 12th Gen. This also means the same cooler support as 12th Gen.

Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: Performance

Intel 13th Gen

To this point, we don’t have any first-hand performance data to go on. Everything we can discuss right now comes from Intel’s own comparison data. Where comparing to its own 12th Gen chips, the data gives a good indicator of the type of performance gains we can expect. However, Intel hasn’t been able to compare against its newest competitor, instead only comparing 13th Gen to AMD Ryzen 5000. Nevertheless, 13th Gen should see up to 15% gains on single-thread and up to 41% gains on multi-thread performance.

In a handful of games when the Core i9-13900K is compared to the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, Intel boasts up to 58% increased average frame rates and up to 107% frame consistency with higher 1% lows. Naturally, these have been carefully selected, so treat with the usual caveats. But both were paired with an Nvidia RTX 3090 at 1080p. More importantly in some newer and fairly intensive titles, such as Spider-Man Remastered, the 13th Gen Core i9 also handily outperforms its predecessor. But there are also titles where apparently there will be less of an uptick. And perhaps strangely, Intel also compared to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D where it doesn’t command such a lead.

Intel claims up to 41% better multi-threaded performance from 13th Gen

Content creators can also expect similarly impressive gains. In software such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Blender, the Core i9-13900K is up to 34% faster than its 12th Gen sibling.

Since the 13th Gen is the same Intel 7 process as 12th Gen, the gains come from a number of areas. Not least by doubling up the number of E-cores on each of the new CPUs. These E-cores also have higher clock speeds and up to 4.3GHz turbo. It’s a similar tale with the P-cores, with an updated design, up to 600MHz clock speed increase, and a larger L2 cache. If you’re into overclocking, the P-cores have already reached 8 GHz using liquid nitrogen.

Perhaps more impressive is the scalable performance compared to power draw. The Core i9-13900K can deliver a similar level of performance to a 241W Core i9-12900K while drawing only 65W. Or about a quarter of the power of the 12th Gen. Ramp up the power and the gains kick in, but at the same 241W as the max turbo on the Core i9-12900K, Intel says the Core i9 13900K will perform 37% better. Impressively, the Intel Core i9-13900K has the same TDP as the Core i7-13700K, despite its increased core count.

The real proof will come when we’re able to test these for ourselves, as well as compare them to the newest Ryzen chips.

Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake: Release date and price

Intel 13th Gen

The good news is that Intel has been true to its word about launching the 13th Gen before the end of 2022. Currently, the chips are on track to launch to the public on October 20. So not too long to wait.

Prices vary, with the Intel Core i5-13600KF starting at just under $300, with its K variant just over $300. The range-topping Core i9 starts around $560. The difference between the K and KF variants is that the KF CPUs don’t come with integrated graphics. So if you’re building a gaming PC with a dedicated GPU you can save yourself a little money.

Both K and KF versions are unlocked and overclockable and all other specs match between the two.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Intel 13th Gen processors

What socket will Intel 13th Gen use?

Intel’s 13th Gen Raptor Lake will use the same LGA1700 CPU socket used by 12th Gen Alder Lake chips. And since 13th Gen supports Z690 as well as Z790, you can retain your existing motherboard.

Will 12th Gen CPU coolers work with 13th Gen processors?

Yes, the CPU coolers that you may have just purchased for your Alder Lake-based PC build will also work with the next-gen Intel chips. This is because the 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors also use the same LGA1700 socket.

Will Raptor Lake support DDR4 memory modules?

Yes, DDR4 3200 is supported, though overall system performance will be lower than when using DDR5.

Is there a laptop 13th Gen?

Yes, there will be, though initially we only have full details on the desktop versions. Intel has confirmed though that laptop chips are on the way and will follow the now-familiar U, P, H, HX naming scheme. In its Unison announcement, Intel eluded to the availability of 13th Gen laptops in the early part of 2023. So we’re not expecting to see anything concrete until at least CES in early January.

Closing thoughts

It’s a great time to be a PC builder between these new Intel 13th Gen CPUs and AMD’s own newest offerings. Without any hardware to touch with our own hands, we’ll leave the final judgment for now. But all the signs are positive that at least something from 13th Gen will be on the list of best CPUs. This isn’t the same shift that 12th Gen was from 11th Gen, so being able to retain some of your existing hardware is certainly a bonus.

13th Gen is certainly more though. More cores, more performance, and importantly, better performance-to-power ratio. There are some additional touches that impress, too. Intel Thread Director works in conjunction with Windows 11 to better distribute workloads across optimal cores. So far, it looks like a solid update.

About author

Richard Devine
Richard Devine

Editor at XDA, I've been covering tech for over a decade from mobile to gaming and everything in between. Direct enquiries to [email protected]

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