Intel 13th Gen Core i5-13600K and Core i9-13900K Review
Published: 20th October 2022 | Source: Intel | Price: £379.99 and £699.98 |
Isn't it fun when something arrives and you start off with thinking one thing, and end up coming away with quite a different impression?
We know from past experience that the Intel Core i9 processors are fantastic performers, and we are nothing if not obsessed with high performance. As much as we love products that give great value for money, or approach a problem with a left-field solution, sometimes there is no replacement for the best possible hardware.
The 11th Generation was a fast set of processors that ran incredibly hot. The 12th Generation brought a whole redesign with the introduction of Efficient Cores alongside the Performance Cores. The 13th Generation continues to use the P+E Core combination, and does so to great effect. In case you didn't know, the Performance Cores are the ones that run at the headline grabbing speeds, and are used in those situations where you need a sledgehammer of performance. Hence the name. Meanwhile the Efficient Cores are running a little slower, but mainly intended to run the dozens of background tasks when gaming, or helping out the P Cores when in heavily multi-threaded creative applications.
The Core i9-13900K is, at the risk of being reductive, the less interesting of the two processors. It's spectacularly powerful and capable, matching the Ryzen 9 7950X in pretty much everything, and fits the role of "Core i9-12900K with a clock speed boost" that seems to have been the design brief. It's very much a faster 12th Gen. It's still got a huge thermal output so those who like to try and get away with minimal CPU cooling need to look elsewhere. Our triple AIO still just about kept things under control. It is a hugely powerful processor, munching through benchmarks as if they weren't there. But it's just a faster 12900K, so still within the bounds of what we were expecting, particularly given that both the 12th Gen and 13th Gen use the LGA1700 socket and will work in the Z790.
The Core i5-13600K is a weapon. Anyone who remembers the Sandy Bridge processors will remember that the Core i5-2500K was about the best CPU you could get at the time, even if it didn't have hyperthreading and all that. The Core i5-13600K gives off the same vibes. Not only is it brutally fast, far faster than it has any right to be at this price point, but the doubling of the number of Efficient Cores when compared to its 12th Gen predecessor means it's even more capable in creativity tasks as well as being a gaming beast. Unless you've a genuine need for the big Core i9 then the Core i5 is all the processor most of us need.
Intel's 13th Generation CPUs are everything you would expect to find from a revision of the LGA1700 socket processors. Both are faster than their forebears, and in the case of the Core i5-13600K there are more cores to play with too. All of which wins them our OC3D Performance Award. Just make sure you're not trying to cool them with a single 120mm air cooler eh.
Intel Core i5-13600K £379.99
Intel Core i9-13900K £699.99
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