Intel doesn’t dominate the CPU landscape like it once did, with Apple transitioning to its own silicon and AMD proving a worthy rival.
The company has been forced to adapt, shifting to a new hybrid architecture with 12th-gen Alder Lake in 2021, which brought improvements to both performance and battery life. Intel is now building on that with the launch of 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors, which aim to take things to the next level.
After a few desktop CPUs were announced last year, Intel used its CES 2023 press conference to reveal lots more – including those designed for laptops and tablets. Here’s everything you need to know.
Intel Raptor Lake release date
As was widely rumoured, the first Raptor Lake processors were revealed on 27 September 2022 at Intel’s Innovation event. As expected, these were from the Raptor Lake-K Series for enthusiast-level desktops, with all three available since 20 October.
Then, on 3 January 2023, Intel revealed most of the other CPUs we were expecting. That covers chips for the entry-level, enthusiast and everything in between, across both laptops and desktops.
However, unlike in previous years, this wasn’t via a keynote.
Then, just nine days later (12 January 2023), the top-spec Core i9-13900KS was revealed.
It went on sale immediately, but it’s not clear when other desktop CPUs will be available. The laptop CPUs are designed to only be integrated into devices throughout 2023. When you’re able to buy a Raptor Lake-powered laptop will depend on when manufacturers begin production.
This probably isn’t the end of new Raptor Lake CPUs, either. Look out for even more later in the year.
Intel Raptor Lake pricing
So far, the only confirmed pricing we have is for the Raptor Lake-K desktop CPUs. Remember, this is just suggested pricing – how much you’ll actually pay via retailers may vary:
- Core i9-13900KS – $699
- Core i9-13900K – $589
- Core i9-13900KF – $564
- Core i7-13700K – $409
- Core i7-13700KF – $384
- Core i5-13500K – $319
- Core i5-13500KF -$294
However, Tom’s Hardware reports, a 10% increase in the price of 12th-gen desktop CPUs means they’re temporarily more expensive than the equivalent chips listed above. That might not remain the case for long, though.
Remember, laptop CPUs are only available built into devices and not available to buy as standalone components. Therefore, the price you pay will depend on a variety of other factors, including manufacturer, design and other key specs. However, the range of processors announced suggests there’ll be a Raptor Lake-powered device to suit all budgets.
Intel Raptor Lake specs and features
When the first six desktop CPUs were revealed in September, Intel said they “deliver the world’s best gaming experience” and “unmatched overclocking capabilities”. The big claims are in reference to the top-spec (at the time) Core i9-13900K, but there are lots more options. All have a 125W TDP, except the 150W Core i9-13900KS:
- Core i9-13900KS – 24 cores, (8 performance, 16 efficiency), 32 threads, max clock speed 6.0GHz, 36Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i9-13900K – 24 cores (8 performance, 16 efficiency), 32 threads, max clock speed 5.8GHz, 36Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i9-13900KF – 24 cores (8 performance, 16 efficiency), 32 threads, max clock speed 5.8GHz, 36Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i7-13700K – 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficiency), 24 threads, max clock speed 5.4GHz, 30Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i7-13700KF – 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficiency), 24 threads, max clock speed 5.4GHz, 30Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i5-13500K – 14 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency), 20 threads, max clock speed 5.1GHz, 24Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
- Core i5-13500KF – 14 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency), 20 threads, max clock speed 5.1GHz, 24Mb L3 cache, up to 16 PCIe 5.0 Lanes
Remember, ‘KF’ branded chips are identical to their ‘K’ counterparts, aside from the missing integrated graphics – that’s UHD Graphics 770 in this case. However, that does make them slightly cheaper.
Undoubtedly the big news here is the Core i9-13900KS, which breaks new ground among x86 processors designed for consumers. It’s the first to hit a single core clock speed of 6GHz at stock (without overclocking), so represents a significant step for Intel. AMD’s top-spec Ryzen 7000 Series CPU can’t go higher than 5.85GHz.
Genuine upgrades compared to the regular Core i9-13900K will be minor, but some tasks will see a small boost to performance.
Intel is sticking with the x86 hybrid architecture it introduced with Alder Lake across all Rocket Lake CPUs. That means a combination of performance and power efficiency cores, with the latter enabling sustained high-level performance. The company says you can expect up to 15% better single-threaded performance and up to 41% better multi-core performance compared to Alder Lake in desktops, but that might not necessarily translate to real-world usage.
Then, at CES 2023, Intel revealed new batches of less powerful 65W and 35W desktop CPUs. The company focused mainly on the top-spec Core i9-13900, which combines 24 cores with 32 threads for a max clock speed of 5.6GHz. It doesn’t have an L3 cache, but the L2 version is now larger, with 2Mb per performance core and 4Mb per efficiency core.
Supposedly, you can expect an improvement of up to 11% single-thread and 34% multi-thread performance compared to the equivalent Alder Lake chip.
There are also Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs, but Intel hasn’t given much away about them. The former has a max frequency of up to 5.2GHz, 8 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores (up from 4 on the Core i7-12700) and up to 24Mb of L2 cache. On the Core i5, you can expect up to 14 performance cores (alongside 6 efficiency cores).
The company confirmed in September 2022 that one Raptor Lake chip will be able to hit 6GHz and be overclocked to 8GHz, but we haven’t seen it yet.
Other key features consistent across the range include a range of compatibility. Raptor Lake CPUs support DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, plus either current Intel 600 motherboards or the new 700 Series. This should enable more people to upgrade to 13th-gen processors without needing to change other components.
Intel revealed the first Raptor Lake CPUs designed for laptops at CES 2023, and there’s a lot to talk about. The processors are split into four main categories, with HX for the absolute best performance, H-series for enthusiast thin and light devices, P-series for performance thin and light devices, plus U-Series for modern thin and light devices.
Much of Intel’s promotional material focuses on the new HX series, which the company describes as ‘the fastest mobile processor’ and ‘the best gaming laptop platform’. The top-spec Core i9-13950HX’s 24 cores (8 performance, 16 efficiency) and 5.6GHz claimed max clock speed would be a new record among Intel mobile CPUs, but AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Series might change things.
The company also highlighted some of the HX series’ key features, including Killer Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) audio and Thunderbolt 4 for fast data transfer. It supports both DDR5 and DDR4 RAM of up to 128GB, plus 16 lanes of PCIe Gen 5 and extensive overclocking functionality.
There’s a noticeable step down when it comes to the other categories, but there’s still plenty of power here for most people. The hybrid architecture supports up to 14 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency), plus Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) audio and Thunderbolt 4.
All series can be paired with an updated version of Iris Xe integrated graphics, which Intel says will be better for long gaming sessions and consistently high performance. Don’t expect it to rival a discrete GPU, though – Intel suggests games such as League of Legends and Rocket League.
There’s also a brand-new N-series of entry-level CPUs designed for education. This focus on the key experiences required by students, from web browsing and watching videos to virtual meetings and dedicated educational software.
The N-series is centred around a Core i3 processor, which should deliver better performance (and power efficiency) than the Pentium chips we usually associate with basic devices. Intel says it has over 50 designs with manufacturers ready for 2023, and you can expect devices running both Chrome OS and Windows. Microsoft, Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus are all mentioned by name.
However, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Series processors are based on its new Zen 4 architecture and look to be very competitive. We’ll update this article once more is revealed about Raptor Lake.