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Best Intel 13th gen CPU for gaming 

Here's the best Intel 13th gen CPU for gaming

Updated: Nov 7, 2022 8:06 am
best 13th gen CPu for gaming

Intel’s 13th Gen CPUs were announced recently on September 27, 2022. There was a lot of speculation and conjecture about how these processors were going to perform. As of right now, the 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors are on retail and available to consumers.

Now read our 13th-generation reviews if you fancy picking up a 13th-generation CPU of your very own.

Intel truly needed something special to compete with AMD, considering the momentum Team Red has been growing with over the past few years. Fortunately, they managed to deliver. In terms of performance and overall value, Intel’s 13th Gen CPUs are a major success.

If you’re planning to upgrade, let’s figure out the Best Intel 13th Gen CPU for gaming that fits your needs.

There are six CPUs in total, 13900K/KF, 13700K/KF, and 13600K/KF. The K version is the standard, and the KF version is the same CPU but without the built-in iGPU component. The KF versions usually come at a slightly reduced cost.

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Intel 13th Gen CPU Line-Up – A Quick Look

A lot of users will appreciate the increase in performance with Raptor Lake. This comes about thanks to the higher core count, higher threads, faster clock speeds, IPC improvements, and much more.

Of course, numbers are not everything, and you’ll need to consider other components such as your graphics card to find the right processor for you.

With that in consideration, here’s a quick look at the line-up

  • Intel Core i9 13900K – 24 cores (8 P-cores+16 E-cores), Up to 5.8GHz Turbo, 36MB L3 Cache, DDR5 Support, and Intel UHD 770 Graphics.
  • Intel Core i7 13700K – 16 cores (8 P-cores+8 E-cores), Up to 5.4GHz Turbo, 30MB L3 Cache, DDR5 Support, and Intel UHD 770 Graphics.
  • Intel Core i5 13600K – 14 cores (6 P-cores+8 E-cores), Up to 5.1GHz Turbo, 24MB L3 Cache, DDR5 Support, and Intel UHD 770 Graphics.

Best Intel 13th generation CPU for gaming

Here we will take a look at the best Intel 13th-generation CPU for gaming, and list the reasons why we have come to this conclusion.

The Core i9 13900K, Core i7 13700K, and Core i5 13600K are the main processors out of Raptor Lake’s launch lineup. There are “KF” variants of these processors. The KF variants feature the same performance and specs, with the only differentiation factor being the lack of integrated graphics.

Now that you’re aware of the line-up and specs, let’s find out which CPU is the right choice for you.

Intel Core i9 13900K – A Power-Hungry Beast

Intel Core i9-13900K
Best Intel 13th gen CPU

Intel Core i9-13900K

19 118 412 V01

Cores

24

Threads

32

Base speed

P-cores 3 GHz / E-cores 2.2 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.8 GHz / E-cores 4.3 GHz

Cache

36MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost.

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Powerful single and multi-core performance
  • High boost speeds
  • improved L2 cache capacity
  • 32 logical processors
Cons
  • pricey
  • runs VERY hot

The Intel Core i9 13900K is nothing short of a monstrosity. This CPU has a large core count, and a lot of L3 caches, and outperforms almost any processor out there when it comes to gaming. Unfortunately, it’s also the one that the majority of people should avoid.

Specs

  • Core Count – 24 (8 P-cores and 8 E-cores)
  • Threads – 32
  • Boost Clock – Up to 5.7GHz
  • Base Clock –  3.0GHz
  • L3 Cache – 32MB
  • Integrated Graphics – Intel UHD Graphics 770
  • Memory Capacity – 128GB
  • Max Memory Speed – DDR5 5600MT/s, DDR4 3200MT/s

Let’s keep this short and simple. With 24 cores, 32 threads, and a boost clock of up to 5.2GHz, no one should be surprised that this CPU performs well. If you look at the benchmarks, for both gaming and productivity, the numbers are utterly ludicrous.

However, keep in mind that we’re trying to help you find the Best Intel 13th Gen CPU for gaming. This is not that CPU. It’s expensive, power-hungry, and quite difficult to cool. The cost/performance is not great and neither is the efficiency.


We’d only recommend the Core i9 13900K if you need some serious power-lifting for intensive workloads. For gaming alone, this processor is impractical.

It is cheaper than the Ryzen 9 7950X though, so it has that going for it. AMD should be concerned as of right now since Intel is matching them in performance, and beating them in terms of value.

Intel Core i7 13700K – Perfectly Balanced

Intel Core i7-13700K
Perfectly Balanced 13th generation CPU

Intel Core i7-13700K

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Cores

16

Threads

24

Base speed

P-cores 3.4 GHz / E-cores 2.5 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.4 GHz / E-cores 4.2 GHz

Cache

24MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost.

4
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Great price to performance ratio
  • Strong multi-core performance
  • Lots of threads for an i7
Cons
  • 13600K is better value for pure gaming

Think of the Core i7 13700K as the bigger, stronger, and faster brother to the Core i5 13600K. It has a higher core count, faster clocks, and more L3 cache. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the performance of the i5, then this is the one to go for. 

Specs

  • Core Count – 16 (8 P-cores and 8 E-cores)
  • Threads – 24
  • Boost Clock – Up to 5.4GHz
  • Base Clock –  3.4GHz
  • L3 Cache – 30MB
  • Integrated Graphics – Intel UHD Graphics 770
  • Memory Capacity – 128GB
  • Max Memory Speed – DDR5 5600MT/s, DDR4 3200MT/s

When it comes to value and cost/performance, the 13700K is not as impressive as the Core i5 13600K. However, it does take the lead in terms of raw performance. If we compare it to the Core i9 13900K, it’s not as absurd in terms of performance, but it’s also less power-hungry.

The Core i7 part is more impressive than the i9, mostly because of its practicality. When it comes to production workloads, this CPU trades blows comfortably with the Ryzen 9 7900X. It’s also far more capable in most scenarios if you compare it to the Ryzen 7 7700X. 

There’s one thing of note here. Both the Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 7 7700X consume less power than this CPU. So, you’ll need to consider whether you care more about performance or efficiency.

As for gaming, this processor is a beast. It can handle any game that you can throw at it with ease. If you do decide to buy this processor, pair it with DDR5 memory instead of DDR4. In newer titles, that will give you much better performance.

The only downside is the fact that this thing is a bit hard to cool. It’s also a bit power-hungry.

Intel Core i5 13600K – The Value Champion

Intel Core i5-13600K
The value champion 13th generation CPU

Intel Core i5-13600K

19 118 416 V01

Cores

14

Threads

20

Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125 W / 181 W boost.

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • High core count for an entry level CPU
  • High base and boost speeds
  • Efficient
  • backwards compatible with 12th gen motherboards
Cons
  • Runs very warm

We strongly believe that while the i5 13600K is the cheaper processor out of the Raptor Lake launch, it’s also the best for gaming. By all means, this does not mean it beats the i7 13700K or i9 13900K in terms of gaming performance. It’s just that this is the more practical choice for nearly every gamer.

Specs

  • Core Count – 14 (6 P-cores and 8 E-cores)
  • Threads – 20
  • Boost Clock – Up to 5.1GHz
  • Base Clock –  3.5GHz
  • L3 Cache – 20MB
  • Integrated Graphics – Intel UHD Graphics 770
  • Memory Capacity – 128GB
  • Max Memory Speed – DDR5 5600MT/s, DDR4 3200MT/s

We didn’t see it as much of a surprise that the Core i5 13600K was a better value than its bigger brother, the i7 13700K. While the i7 does perform better, the i5 is better in terms of the price-to-performance ratio. 

This is particularly true when we are talking about gaming alone. You can make the argument that the i7 13700K is better if you want even better framerates or if you don’t mind the price.

best 13th Gen CPU for gaming

For the majority of gamers, however, the 13600K is the Best Intel 13th Gen CPU for gaming. A good number of people buy Core i7s because of the higher core count. However, considering the i5 13600K now has 14 cores and 20 threads, that argument is losing its validity.

It’s also important to note that Intel is comfortably beating AMD in terms of value and cost/performance. When it comes to games, the Core i5 13600K and AMD Ryzen 5 7600X are evenly matched. 

However, in terms of productivity, the i5 13600K dominates the Ryzen 5 7600X.

It is astounding how great of a processor this is. If you haven’t upgraded in a while, and are budget conscious, this is the one you should go for. 


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Final word

That about wraps it up for our guide. We still strongly believe that if gaming is your primary concern, you should stick with the Core i5 13600K. The Core i7 13700K is still a good choice if you don’t mind the price. As for the 13900K, well, gamers should stay away from it because of the price and power-hungry nature of this thing.

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