Gaming PC

Taking Intel’s Raptor Lake to 6 GHz

Back at Intel’s Innovation 2022 event in September, the company revealed that it plans to release a “6 GHz” processor based on the Raptor Lake-S series of processors. It didn’t get as much fanfare as Intel’s soon-to-be-launched 13900K/13700K/13600K, but enthusiasts and industry watchers alike know Intel is still waiting for one more, even faster Raptor Lake desktop chip. I noticed.

A few months later, Raptor Lake’s moment to shine has arrived. Intel has launched the 24-core (8x performance + 16x efficiency) Intel Core i9-13900KS with turbo clock speeds of up to 6 GHz. Until very recently, the use of exotic cooling methods such as liquid nitrogen (LN2) was an unprecedented mark.

In what is likely to be one of the last of the wide range of Raptor Lake-S SKUs to be announced, Intel seems to have done its best in the end. It’s a fast and distinct big brother, with turbo clock speeds of up to 6 GHz while maintaining the halo presence with a 200 MHz increase in base frequency for both P and E cores. .

Intel’s focus and strategy of offering halo-level processors in limited supply is something that has become a regular part of the product stack over the past few years. We’ve seen the 12900KS (Alder Lake) and they were relatively successful at showcasing their respective Core architectures at their best. The Core i9-13900KS looks to follow this trend, as we’ve reached a point where power efficiency and cost are just a few of the widely shared concerns globally.

If you want cutting-edge desktop performance, the best of the best has some advantages, but at what cost? Faster cores require more energy, and more Energy produces more heat. 6 GHz is finally here for the average consumer, but is it worth taking the plunge? We aim to find out in our review of the 6 GHz Core i9-13900KS.

Intel Core i9-13900KS: Raptor Lake to 6 GHz

AMD and Intel’s R&D teams have worked hard over the last few years to keep hitting hard in key areas like core count, IPC performance, and of course price. If you look at the flagship CPUs, there are also CPUs that have earned status by offering high numbers of cores and very good clock speeds, outperforming their competitors. Having the right balance of faster cores is an advantage, but there’s no question that Intel and AMD have been pushing their silicon closer to its limits in recent years.

The Intel Core i9-13900KS is a juxtaposition of high core counts combined with incredibly high frequencies in a single silicon package that can be inserted into a suitable LGA1700 motherboard. It has the same 24 CPU cores as the Core i9-13900K. As for the specs, everything is the same except for the number of clocks and TDP. The Core i9-13900KS has 8 Raptor Cove Performance (P) cores for the compute workload potatoes and 16 Efficiency (E) cores based on the Gracemont architecture to pick up slack in other areas.

Intel’s hybrid architecture design of performance and efficiency cores, sometimes called big/little, works well. However, efficient and effective utilization of thread director scheduling requires a suitable operating system (most recently Windows 11).

Intel 13th Generation Core i9 Series (Raptor Lake-S)
anand tech core
L3 cache
IGP base
i9-13900KS 8+16/32 3200 6000 2400 4300 36 770 253 253/320 $699
i9-13900K 8+16/32 3000 5800 2200 4300 36 770 125 253 $589
i9-13900KF 8+16/32 3300 5800 2200 4300 36 125 253 $564
i9-13900 8+16/32 year 2000 5600 1500 4200 36 770 65 219 $549
i9-13900F 8+16/32 year 2000 5600 1500 4200 36 65 219 $524
i9-13900T 8+16/32 1100 5300 800 3900 36 770 35 106 $549

What makes the Core i9-13900KS different from the rest of the 13th Gen Core i9 series lineup is that it’s a special bin, aside from the obvious increase in P-core and E-core base frequencies and 6 GHz turbo. . existing silicon. Experience with the Core i9-13900K in terms of overclocking abilities has been mixed, and few of these chips have the ability to run at 6 GHz without exotic cooling methods like liquid nitrogen or dry ice.

Matching batch numbers is usually the closest you can get to a comparable level of overclocking ability, but it’s not an exact science. is not. The benefit of Intel binning the silicon in-house for the KS series is that each i9-13900KS is guaranteed to reach his 6 GHz turbo clock speeds, thus helping extreme overclockers. With at least two P cores. This also means that the Core i9-13900KS draws more power by default, running at over 320 watts to be exact.

Looking at the specifications of Core i9-13900KS, 24 cores (8P + 16E), 32 threads, P core turbo maximum 6 GHz. This makes it the fastest desktop processor on the market today, given the out-of-the-box settings and automated technology implemented. Intel also increased the P-core and E-core base frequencies by 200 MHz from his regular 13900K, giving the 13900KS a P-core base of 3.2 GHz and an E-core base of 2.4 GHz. All of Intel’s 13th Core series SKUs support DDR5-5600 or DDR4-3200 memory, saving you money. However, Core i9 series buyers will likely opt for DDR5 memory due to the higher level of performance.

The Core i9-13900KS reached 6 GHz on cores P4 and P5 during XTU stress tests (but with thermal throttling).

Intel also increased the base TDP from 125W to 150W to account for the additional bump to the P and E core frequencies. What’s interesting is that Intel offers a maximum turbo power spec of 253W. Another value Intel offers is the new Extreme Power Delivery (EPD) profile at 320W. , especially for computationally intensive tasks at full load.

Achieved 6GHz

It shares the same specs as the Core i9-13900K, with the exception of the Core i9-13900KS’ 6 GHz capability and the increased base frequency and power nuances mentioned above. This includes the same 36 MB shared L3 cache across the board, 2 MB L2 cache per Performance (P) core, and 4 MB L2 cache per each Quad Efficiency (E) core cluster.

Intel Core i9-13900KS retail package

Things to know before interpreting test results: Extreme delivery profile is 320 W (PL1/PL2)

Extensions to Intel’s new Extreme Delivery Profile allow higher power limits on the Core i9-13900KS. As per Turbo Boost Max 3.0, this is set to 253 W which is the same PL1/PL2 value as the Core i9-13900K. For the Core i9-13900KS, the Extreme Delivery Profile allows a higher profile, increasing the PL1 and PL2 values ​​to 320W. This gives the Core i9-13900KS more power headroom and enables higher frequencies on the two cores. 5.8 GHz with Turbo Boost Max 3.0 and 6.0 GHz with Thermal Velocity Boost.

Intel Core i9-13900KS P-Core turbo frequency
(when Thermal Velocity Boost is active)
anand tech 1 core 2 cores 3 cores 4 cores 5 cores 6 cores 7 cores 8 cores
Maximum frequency (GHz) 6.0 6.0 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.6

This completely ignores Intel’s base TDP of 150W. The chip also sports the Extreme Delivery Profile with PL1 and PL2 values ​​of 253 W, so even the regular Core i9-13900K by default doesn’t make sense. Of course, motherboard vendors usually ignore the PL1 and PL2 values ​​through their Multi-Core Enhancement (MCE) implementations, which usually break them.

In terms of expected performance levels, this can come down to one key area. Heat dissipation. The extra heat from increased frequency requires more aggressive cooling. As you can see from our Core i9-12900KS review, the KS chip not only runs at more power compared to its K-series counterparts, it doesn’t. It’s easiest to chill one or the other.

One important thing to consider is that to be able to use the Core i9-13900KS, the motherboard should have a stable power supply capable of sustaining up to 400A (ICCMax). The Core i9-13900KS will work with any Z690 and Z790 motherboards, but just because it works doesn’t mean you should use it. Look for a motherboard with decent quality power delivery and good VRM thermal capabilities before considering this chip to work optimally.

The premise of the KS series is very favorable for some, but it is not enough to install it on a motherboard or cooler for optimal performance. ), you might expect at least some thermal throttling.2 Even with a heat spreader, it doesn’t have a lot of surface area to dissipate 320 watts. The best-case scenario is a sensible, well-thought-out custom liquid cooling loop with premium components and decent cooling fans. Not only did this add a significant amount to the cost, but it was not a cheap process to achieve the highest performance levels.

Current CPU test suite

Intel Core i9-13900KS testing uses the following test systems:

Intel 13th Generation Core System (DDR5)
CPU Core i9-13900K ($589)
24 cores, 32 threads
125W TDP

Core i5-13600K ($319)
14 cores, 20 threads
125W TDP

motherboard GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master*
memory SK Hynix
DDR5-5600B CL46
cooling EKWB EK-AIO Elite 360 ​​D-RGB 360mm
depository SK Hynix Platinum P41 2TB PCIe 4.0 x4
power supply Corsair HX1000
GPUs AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT, 31.0.12019
operating system Windows 11 22H2

*I changed the motherboard to GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master because the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon WIFI I used in my previous 13th Gen Core series review refused to play the ball.I don’t like making these changes lightly, but I wasn’t able to source another carbon in time for this review

Note that there is no CPU performance difference between Z690 and Z790 motherboards. More I/O options are available on the new Z790 models. This was confirmed by Intel prior to the release of the 13th Gen Core series.

The updated CPU suite for 2023 includes a variety of benchmarks, tests, and workloads designed to show the performance differences between different processors and architectures. These include UL’s latest Procyon suite, CineBench R23, Dwarf Fortress, Blender 3.3, and C – Includes Ray 1.1.

In the meantime, we’ve also carried over some older (but still relevant and enlightening) benchmarks from the CPU 2021 suite. This includes benchmarks such as Dwarf Fortress, Factorio and Dr. Ian Cutres’ his 3DPMv2 benchmark.

We’ve also updated our game pool for 2023 and beyond, including the latest F1 2022 racing game, the CPU-heavy RTS Total War: Warhammer 3, and the popular Hitman 3.

Various issues with Cyberpunk 2077 resulted in strange results, so we’ve excluded this from further testing until we can identify the issue and apply a fix.

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