Intel Core i5-13600K evaluation: a repeat efficiency, for higher or worse

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The Intel Core i5-13600K fills a well-recognized position within the newest thirteenth Gen/Raptor Lake collection of CPUs. There are chips on this household with many extra cores and even increased clock speeds, just like the £700 Core i9-13900K, however that is the one most upgrade-seekers will most likely look to first: a mid-range champion to take over from the Core i5-12600K.

That twelfth Gen chip, which presently heads up our greatest CPU for gaming rankings, proved a wonderful debut for Intel’s hybrid design: quick Performance cores, or P-cores, share the house with smaller and fewer wattage-hungry Efficiency cores (E-cores). Raptor Lake doesn’t change this a lot, however the Core i5-13600K does discover itself the recipient of some further E-cores, bringing its complete mixed core rely to 14 – essentially the most of any Core i5 CPU but. Base clock speeds are down a little bit from the Core i5-12600K, however most increase clocks are up, peaking at a formidable 5.1GHz on the faster P-cores.

Between this and the added cores, the Core i5-13600K can draw extra energy than its twelfth Gen equal when Turbo Boosting, however base PSU utilization fortunately hasn’t risen above the identical 125W. Impressively, this new chip doesn’t actually run any hotter both: on an Asus ROF Ryujin II 360 all-in-one cooler, core temperatures throughout game classes typically landed between 44°c and 56°c. That’s low sufficient for extra fundamental air coolers to suffice, and absolutely the toastiest I noticed from a P-core was solely 58°c.

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During games, anyway – each core sorts received hotter within the intensive Cinebench R20 CPU benchmark, although the height of 73°c continues to be fairly good. This suite of assessments additionally offered the Core i5-13600K an opportunity to point out off its considerably improved multicore energy, which by way of twelfth Gen comparisons is nearer to the enthusiast-grade Core i9-12900K than any of the Core i5 fashions:


A bar graph showing the Intel Core i5-13600K's Cinebench R20 multicore benchmark result against those of its rivals.

I’d hoped to have included one or two Ryzen 7000 CPUs in these assessments, however AMD haven’t been as forthcoming with their chips. Regardless, the Core i5-13600K is displaying the sort of multitasking enchancment you at all times wish to see from a brand new CPU era, and it bodes properly for Raptor Lake basically in the event you’re commonly working a bunch of apps alongside your games.

Its outcome within the single-core Cinebench check is much less of an improve, however nonetheless robust. This time it surpasses the Core i9-12900K, although that was solely barely above the Core i5-12600K to start with:


A bar graph showing the Intel Core i5-13600K's Cinebench R20 single core benchmark result against those of its rivals.

It stays amusing (to me, not less than) that Intel’s twelfth Gen made Core CPUs extra compelling than Ryzens, for the primary time in years, by basically making them extra Ryzen-like by way of increased core counts. And the thirteenth era appears to proceed that, making comparatively minor clock velocity adjustments whereas squeezing increasingly cores onto every processor.

It’s an method that clearly works for multitasking PCs, for which Ryzen chips was once the one critical game on the town. But what about precise games? The Core i5-13600K can actually leverage its further muscle right here and there, however in most benchmarks, it the truth is finally ends up jostling with the previous Core i5-12600K greater than these artificial check outcomes would recommend.

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Let’s concentrate on 1080p outcomes, as that decision is extra prone to make a bottleneck of the CPU than the check PC’s RTX 2080 Ti graphics card:


A bar graph showing how the Intel Core i5-13600K's gaming performance compares to its rivals.

A bar graph showing how the Intel Core i5-13600K's gaming performance compares to its rivals.

Right. Good information: that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla result’s good, outpacing even the Intel Core i9-12900KS, which Intel marketed as their quickest gaming CPU so far. Shadow of the Tomb Raider additionally received a ten% FPS increase over the Core i5-12600K, placing this new i5 all the best way up between the Core i9-12900K and 12900KS.

Otherwise, although? This is basically the Core i5-12600K another time, with both lifeless even efficiency between the previous and new chips, or such a tiny 1-2fps distinction that they could as properly have completed neck and neck.

Technically, that makes the Core i5-13600K an excellent gaming CPU, and one you possibly can pair with premium graphics playing cards protected within the data that its mid-range rating will not maintain again a beefier GPU. At the identical time, nevertheless, this CPU’s gaming efficiency is not a lot a step ahead from the twelfth Gen model as it’s a nervous shuffle. And that’s to not point out the Core i5-12400F, one other mid-range star of the earlier Intel era, which belies its cheaper price to maintain up with the Core i5-13600K and even common a few FPS increased in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.


The Intel Core i5-13600K installed in a motherboard.

The Core i5-13600K’s benefit, then, mainly boils right down to how properly a selected game can leverage its further cores. Valhalla has at all times been a multithreading whiz so it’s not stunning to see Intel’s further E-cores assist it out, although the chip’s increased increase clock speeds yield disappointing outcomes general.

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On common, it is very barely higher for games than the Core i5-12600K, and people Cinebench scores don’t rely for nothing – particularly if you’d like your PC to deal with different difficult workloads like streaming or media modifying. Still, even in the event you can in some way ignore the looming problem of a brand new, radically overhauled Ryzen 7000 household, the hole between the twelfth and thirteenth Gen Intel CPUs leaves the previous as one more rival. You can presently get a Core i5-12600K for practically £100 much less, and a Core i5-12400F for practically £200 much less – and little concerning the Core i5-13600K makes it appear price paying further.


An Intel Core i5-13600K CPU being held up.

It’s not like Raptor Lake’s characteristic upgrades are unique must-haves. You can use barely sooner DDR5 RAM in the event you additionally stump for a brand new Intel 700 collection motherboard, however extra doubtlessly impactful options like Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 5.0 connectivity are additionally obtainable from the twelfth era.

Intel does deserve credit score for making this and different thirteenth Gen CPUs backwards suitable with 600 collection motherboards (albeit after a BIOS replace), and as soon as once more you possibly can select to maneuver onto DDR5 or stick together with your present DDR4 RAM . That’s a welcome distinction to Ryzen 7000, which abandons DDR4 help solely. But in the event you’re saving money by going with a earlier era mobo and re-used reminiscence, it’s much more becoming to seize a less expensive twelfth Gen processor as properly. And once they’re virtually identically efficient in games to this brand-leading Core i5-13600K… why wouldn’t you?

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