Intel’s supercharged Raptor Lake flagship CPU could leave AMD’s Ryzen 7950X in the dust

Intel’s supercharged version of its Raptor Lake flagship – a refreshed CPU due to land early in 2023 – is the subject of a new leaked benchmark, and it shows a seriously fast processor.

As Tom’s Hardware spotted, the Core i9-13900KS – note the additional ‘S’ which differentiates this from the 13900K, as a limited edition variant – will boost to 6GHz out of the box, and now we’ve glimpsed its purported performance in an actual benchmark flagged by HXL on Twitter.

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Before we go any further, the CPU-Z benchmark in question originates from Chinese forum Bilibili and there is certainly the possibility that the provided screenshot is faked. So we’d advise proceeding with more caution than usual with this particular rumor.

The results shown for the pre-release sample of the Core i9-13900KS are a single-threaded score of 982 and 18,453 for multi-threaded. Presumably these results were attained using the ‘turbo mode’ for the Raptor Lake flagship refresh (which draws 350W of power, a rather frightening amount).

As Tom’s highlights, that compares to 893 and 16,877 respectively (in an earlier leak) for the vanilla 13900K, and if we look at AMD’s new flagship, the Ryzen 9 7950X, that hits 787 and 15,663.

Analysis: A promising result indeed, but hold your horses a sec

With a quick bit of napkin maths, that puts the 13900KS at something like 10% faster for single-thread and 18% quicker for multi-thread than the 13900K. That feels too much of a jump to us, and indeed there are some caveats here.

Firstly, this is a sparse leak, and all we can see is the bare results, knowing nothing about the PC that the processor is in, or what’s cooling it. Also, remember this is just a single benchmark, and we should never read too much into one metric – CPU-Z is also far from our first choice when it comes to comparing performance levels. Plus we’ve seen faster leaked results for the 13900K elsewhere, so the gap likely won’t be as big as indicated here.

All that said, this fresh leak – if real – certainly points to a storming performance when put up against the Ryzen 9 7950X (showing the 13900KS as 25% and 18% faster for single and multi-thread). And the two processors probably won’t be that far apart in price, with the 13900KS maybe being 5% to 10% more expensive in all likelihood. (Although it is possible Intel could push harder with pricing if the firm feels it can get away with it in the case of a limited-edition CPU).

So at the high-end, Intel could have a winner here potentially – albeit with a different price to pay in terms of that very high power usage when running at full tilt – but as we said, we’ll need a lot more than a leaked CPU-Z result to get the full picture. And of course when it comes to gaming, what many folks are waiting for is AMD’s 3D V-cache toting Ryzen 7000 processors, with that innovative tech having the potential to make a big difference.

Indeed, this is the reason Intel has the 13900KS shaping up to launch pretty early in 2023, by all accounts, as that’s when 3D V-cache is rumored to turn up (a CES reveal in January is thought to be the plan for Team Red). And crucially, speculation points to there being a 7950X3D (in other words, a new flagship with 3D V-cache), which really would make a splash at the top-end.

We’d also do well to remember that the mid-range is where the real battle of the next-gen CPUs will take place, and that the likes of the 7950X and 13900K and KS are relatively niche propositions. In the middle of the pack, AMD’s 7700X is already out there on shelves and looking seriously tempting. As we noted in our review, this is an outstanding CPU – with caveats on the upgrade cost front, mind.

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