Intel Core i9 13900K Review | As potent as hot

Intel Core i9 13900K Review |  As potent as hot

At the end of September last year, Intel announced the first processors of its 13th generation of desktop chips, the Raptor Lake. Among them is the Core-i9 13900K, the most powerful desktop processor ever created by the American manufacturer. The chip was created to keep the company as a leader in the gamer segment, and also to reaffirm its position in the high-performance market.

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I tested the Core-i9 13900K for a few days, and I was surprised to find that the chip is really very fast, both in games and in any other type of activity. I also took advantage of Intel’s high-end CPU review to make a comparison between it and the Ryzen 9 7950X, AMD’s fastest desktop chip.

Is the i9 13900K worth buying? To know the answer, follow the review until the end!

  • Buy the Core-i9 13900K on Amazon

pros

  • Incredible gaming performance
  • Amazing multitasking performance
  • Supports DDR4 memories

cons

  • It heats up a lot
  • consumes a lot of energy
  • Price

Configuration of test PCs

To test the Core-i9 13900K, I used the motherboard sent by Intel together with the parts we have available at FreeGameGuide.

Intel hardware

  • MSI PRO Z790-P DDR4 motherboard (BIOS 7E06v13 )
  • 16 GB DDR4 RAM Kingston Fury Renegade 4000 MHz CL 19 2x 8 GB

AMD hardware

  • Aorus Master X670E Motherboard (BIOS F8h)
  • 32 GB DDR5 RAM G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo 6000 MHz CL30 2x 16 GB

shared hardware

  • Nvidia RTX 3090 Graphics Card Asus ROG Strix Gaming 24GB
  • SSD Samsung WD Black SN750 500GB
  • Water cooler Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360L V2 ARGB
  • Source XPG Core Reactor 850 W Gold

Software

  • Windows 11 Home Version 22H2 Build 22621.963
  • GeForce Game Ready Driver version 527.56

Intel Core-i9 13900K data sheet

  • Cores / threads: 24 (8 P-Cores + 16 E-Cores) / 32

  • Base/turbo clock: 3.0 GHz (P-Cores) and 2.2 GHz (E-Cores) / 5.4 GHz (P-Cores) and 4.3 GHz (E-Cores)

  • Cache: 36 MB

  • Integrated graphics: Intel UHD 770

  • Architecture: Raptor Lake

  • Socket: LGA 1700

  • Lithography: Intel 7 (10 nm)

  • Maximum temperature: 100º C

  • TDP: 125W

Tests with benchmarking software

Benchmarking software is a great way to determine the performance of pieces of hardware. They can simulate real applications or measure the performance of a processor with respect to a specific function.

We use the 3DMark suite apps a lot, like Fire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme, Time Spy and CPU Profile. Unfortunately, I couldn’t run PCMark 10 with the i9 13900K. There may have been some incompatibility between the program, the Intel platform and Windows 11.

Overall, both CPUs offer spectacular performance, whether gaming or content creation. The Core-i9 13900K could have performed better in the benchmarks. But the fact is that Intel’s top-of-the-line chip heats up to the point where a water cooler with a 360 mm radiator isn’t enough to cool it in the most effective way.

What we can conclude is that our cooling solution causes thermal throttling on the Intel chip. This means that, for the processor to reach its maximum performance, the user needs to invest in an even stronger cooler.

Cinebench R23

Based on Cinema 4D, Cinebench tests the processor for multi-core as well as single-core performance.

Blender

Blender uses all of the chip’s processing power to render three scenes.

V-Ray

V-Ray is yet another image rendering test that uses all CPU cores.

CPU Profile

The CPU Profile measures processor performance in terms of the number of threads in use. In this way, we can observe the scaling of performance regarding the use of threads. This allows the creation of software optimized for certain hardware.

7-zip

7-Zip measures the chip’s performance in file compression and decompression tasks.

Fire Strike

Benchmark for DirectX 11 based games running in Full HD. While the Ryzen 9 7950X did 108.64 FPS, the i9 13900K did 69.21 FPS.

Fire Strike Extreme

Benchmark for DirectX 11 based games at 1440p resolution. In this test, the Ryzen 9 79050X setup generated 62.89 FPS, and the i9 13900K setup generated 61.50 FPS.

Time Spy

Benchmark for games based on DirectX 12, in Full HD resolution.

Tests with games

For the hands-on game tests, we chose five popular titles, as seen below:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

forza horizon 5

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction

Total War: Warhammer III

temperature and consumption

As I mentioned earlier, the i9 13900K is a processor that heats up a lot. You need a pretty beefy cooler to maintain peak performance, and that’s expensive. It also consumes a lot of power when all your cores and threads are at 100% usage.

Stressing the Ryzen 9 7950X and i9 13900K with Cinebench R23, Intel’s chip peaked at 319.7 W, while AMD’s CPU peaked at 230.12 W. That’s a difference of nearly 100 W. It is worth remembering that AMD still scored more, since it managed to deliver consistent performance with our water cooler.

direct competitors

The Ryzen 9 7950X is the direct competitor to the Core i9 13900K. Both processors deliver top-notch performance for both gaming and productivity. It is worth mentioning that the Intel chip has a slight advantage in the average of Full HD games. This is more evident with DDR5 memories (for now, we only tested the chip with DDR4 memories).

Already in multitasking, the fight gets fiercer, with each CPU standing out, time in a benchmark, time in another.

Is it worth buying the Intel Core-i9 13900K?

The Core-i9 13900K is a top-of-the-line processor, ideal for those looking for the highest performance for all types of tasks. The CPU has 32 threads, and can deliver optimized performance in games, as well as extreme performance in content creation applications.

In addition, the processor uses the LGA 1700 socket, released in the previous generation. Therefore, users of 12th generation Intel chips do not need to change motherboards. This platform should support Raptor Lake Refresh chips, which will possibly be released in 2023. Additionally, you can use DDR4 memories on this platform, which are more affordable than DDR5.

  • Buy the Core-i9 13900K on Amazon

If you prefer to build an AMD gamer setup, the Ryzen 9 7950X is the most advanced on the competing platform. This processor also has 32 threads, and manages to deliver massive and stable performance even without the use of an extremely expensive cooler. In this case, you will have to invest in a new motherboard and DDR5 memories.

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