Intel Core i7-13700K Review: Core i9 Gaming at i7 Pricing

The 13th-Gen Intel $409 Core i7-13700K slots into the middle of Intel’s Raptor Lake product stack (or at least its product stack as of late October 2022), delivering the lion’s share of the gaming performance of its market-leading counterpart, the $589 Core i9-13900K, in tandem with more than enough horsepower in productivity workloads for most users — but for $180 less. It also easily outperforms the competing AMD Ryzen 7000 chip, making it one of the best CPUs for gaming and a chart-topper in our CPU benchmark hierarchy.

The Core i7-13700K’s performance stems from its 5.4 GHz boost clock, a record for the i7 family, and Intel’s addition of four more e-cores, bringing the chip to 16 total cores and 24 threads. Even though Intel still uses the ‘Intel 7’ process node, it leveraged a newer revision of the silicon to push clock speeds higher while improving power efficiency. Intel also etched the cores on a new, larger die and added additional L3 and L2 cache.

Price Cores / Threads (P+E) P-Core Base/Boost (GHz) E-Core Base/Boost (GHz) Cache (L2/L3) TDP / PBP / MTP Memory
Core i9-13900K / KF $589 (K) – $564 (KF) 24 / 32 (8+16) 3.0 / 5.8 2.2 / 4.3 68MB (32+36) 125W / 253W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Core i7-13700K / KF $409 (K) – $384 (KF) 16 / 24 (8+8) 3.4 / 5.4 2.5 / 4.2 54MB (24+30) 125W / 253W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Core i5-13600K / KF $319 (K) – $294 (KF) 14 / 20 (6+8) 3.5 / 5.1 2.6 / 3.9 44MB (20+24) 125W / 181W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600

Intel’s continued aggressive chip pricing and options for lower-priced platforms and memory make the Core i7-13700K a powerful, yet more affordable option: The Core i7-13700K is the best CPU for gaming at its price point and also offers leading performance in our application benchmarks at a significantly lower price than AMD’s competing Ryzen 7 7700X, and it even challenges the $549 Ryzen 9 7900X in most work.  

Intel Core i7-13700K Specifications and Pricing

Just like the previous-gen chips, the 13th-Gen Raptor Lake processors come with a mix of both big performance cores (p-cores) for latency-sensitive work and small efficiency cores (e-cores) for threaded and background applications. The e-cores stick with the same Gracemont architecture as before, but the p-cores move from the Golden Cove design to Raptor Cove. For much more on the architecture, check out our Intel Core i9-13900K and Core i5-13600K review.

AMD Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 vs Intel Raptor Lake
Price Cores / Threads (P+E) P-Core Base/Boost (GHz) E-Core Base/Boost (GHz) Cache (L2/L3) TDP / PBP / MTP Memory
Core i9-13900K / KF $589 (K) – $564 (KF) 24 / 32 (8+16) 3.0 / 5.8 2.2 / 4.3 68MB (32+36) 125W / 253W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Ryzen 9 7950X $699 16 / 32 4.5 / 5.7 80MB (16+64) 170W / 230W DDR5-5200
Core i9-12900K / KF $589 (K) – $564 (KF) 16 / 24 (8+8) 3.2 / 5.2 2.4 / 3.9 44MB (14+30) 125W / 241W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800
Ryzen 9 7900X $549 12 / 24 4.7 / 5.6 76MB (12+64) 170W / 230W DDR5-5200
Core i7-13700K / KF $409 (K) – $384 (KF) 16 / 24 (8+8) 3.4 / 5.4 2.5 / 4.2 54MB (24+30) 125W / 253W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Core i7-12700K / KF $409 (K) – $384 (KF) 12 / 20 (8+4) 3.6 / 5.0 2.7 / 3.8 37MB (12+25) 125W / 190W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800
Ryzen 7 7700X $399 8 / 16 4.5 / 5.4 40MB (8+32) 105W / 142W DDR5-5200
Ryzen 5 7600X $299 6 / 12 4.7 / 5.3 38MB (6+32) 105W / 142W DDR5-5200
Core i5-13600K / KF $319 (K) – $294 (KF) 14 / 20 (6+8) 3.5 / 5.1 2.6 / 3.9 44MB (20+24) 125W / 181W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Core i5-12600K / KF $289 (K) – $264 (KF) 10 / 16 (6+4) 3.7 / 4.9 2.8 / 3.6 29.5MB (9.5+20) 125W / 150W DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800

The 16-core, 24-thread $409 Core i7-13700K contends with the eight-core 16-thread $399 Ryzen 7 7700X. Intel bumped the 13700K’s p-core boost frequency up by 400 MHz over its predecessor, bringing it up to 5.4 GHz. Intel also threw in an additional four e-cores for a total of eight, and a 400 MHz increase to the e-core boost brings it to 4.2 GHz. The combination of higher clocks and more cores delivers a sizeable leap forward in multi-threaded workloads.

The Core i7-13700K has the same 125W Processor Base Power (PBP – the amount of power the chip pulls when it isn’t in a fully boosted state) as the previous-gen Core i7-12700K. However, Intel increased the Maximum Turbo Power (MTP), the maximum amount of power the chip can draw when in a boosted state. The new 253W limit is a whopping 63W increase over the prior-gen Core i7-12700K (33% increase).

Intel’s new chips are its most power-efficient yet. But like AMD, Intel has taken a power-be-damned approach to regain leadership, dialing up the power limits for all the desktop PC chips. The heat can be hard to control, so you’ll need to plan for a beefy chip cooler. Intel doesn’t include a cooler with the Core i7-12700K but recommends a 280mm AIO watercooler or air equivalent (or greater). Existing LGA 1700 coolers are compatible with the new motherboards. Bear in mind that your cooler’s performance can significantly limit the chips’ performance, so it’s best to overprovision, especially if you plan on overclocking.

On the flip side, you can now easily overclock to the highest clock rates we’ve ever seen, and that’s even without using exotic cooling. For instance, we dialed in a 5.5 GHz all-core overclock with an AIO watercooler with the Core i7-13700K.

Intel also increased the 13700K’s  L2 cache from 1.25MB to 2MB for each p-core and doubled the amount of L2 cache for each cluster of e-cores to 4MB. Intel also added 5MB of additional L3 cache.

Intel has increased its DDR5 memory support up to 5600 MT/s if you use one DIMM per channel (1DPC), a big increase over the prior 4800 MT/s speed with Alder Lake. Just as importantly, Intel increased 2DPC speeds up to 4400 MT/s, an improvement over the previous-gen 3600 MT/s. Unlike AMD’s all-in approach with DDR5, Raptor Lake also supports DDR4-3200 memory, ensuring a value option for Intel platforms.

Raptor Lake drops into motherboards with the LGA 1700 socket, so it will work with existing 600-series or new 700-series chipsets. Intel says that, on a like-for-like basis, you shouldn’t see any performance differences if you use a previous-gen 600-series motherboard for Raptor Lake. As usual, Intel has Z-series (Z790, in this case) motherboards available at first, with the value-centric B- and H-series coming when it launches the rest of the Raptor Lake lineup.

The 700-series motherboards bring minor improvements over the 600-series, but Intel has increased the number of PCIe 4.0 lanes hanging off the chipset to 20, an increase of eight additional lanes, and support for one more USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 200Gps port, bringing the total to five. As before, the Raptor Lake chip itself supports 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and four PCIe 4.0 lanes for a storage device.