Intel recently released the “world’s first” 6GHz desktop processor – the Core i9-13900KS. Just like the previous “KS” variant of processors, the Core i9-13900KS is simply a heavily binned or carefully selected silicone that can reach 6GHz easily. They have better overclocking capability than a typical Core i9-13900K(F) variant; thus, Intel was able to set its clock speed to 6GHz out of the box. Intel didn’t seed the KS variant to independent reviewers. But Hardware Unboxed was able to test and review one. In this article, let’s compare the Core i9-13900KS to the Core i9-13900K and find out if the KS is worth it over the K variant.
13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KS vs Core i9-13900K(F) CPU: 6GHz vs 5.80GHz
The Intel Core i9-13900KS is a special edition CPU marketed towards gamers and overclockers. Unlike the typical Core i9-13900K(F), the KS variant features a heavily or carefully selected silicone that makes it possible to achieve 6GHz of clock speed out of the box.
Both the Core i9-13900KS and Core i9-13900K are basically identical CPUs. Both processors feature 8 performance cores, 16 efficiency cores, and a total of 32 threads. The KS variant has a higher base power rating of 150W, 25W higher than the K variant. The real difference between the two CPUs is the clock speeds and price.
The Core i9-13900KS has a maximum turbo frequency of 6GHz and an Intel Thermal Velocity Boost frequency of 6GHz. Meanwhile, the Core i9-13900K can only reach 5.80GHz. That’s only a 200MHz difference. The performance-core and efficient-core base frequencies of the KS are also 200MHz faster than the K variant.
However, the more significant difference is their prices. The Core i9-13900K came with a launch price of $589 USD. Meanwhile, the Core i9-13900KS has a launch price of $699. That’s almost a 19% price difference.
Aside from that, the Core i9-13900KS can easily reach a toasty 100°C on full load. You will need at least a 360mm custom or AIO liquid cooler to tame this beast. I’m optimistic that the Core i9-13900KS draws more power than the Core i9-13900K as well. Perhaps somewhere in between the 253W to 300W on full load.
You can check out the rest of the specifications in the table below.
Intel Core i9-13900KS vs Core i9-13900K Specs Comparison
|Specifications||Core i9-13900KS||Core i9-13900K|
|Lithography||Intel 7||Intel 7|
|No. of Performance-cores||8||8|
|No. of Efficient-cores||16||16|
|Max Turbo Frequency||6.00 GHz||5.80 GHz|
|Intel Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency||6.00 GHz||5.80 GHz|
|Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency||5.80 GHz||5.70 GHz|
|Performance-core Max Turbo Frequency||5.40 GHz||5.40 GHz|
|Efficient-core Max Turbo Frequency||4.30 GHz||4.30 GHz|
|Performance-core Base Frequency||3.20 GHz||3.00 GHz|
|Efficient-core Base Frequency||2.40 GHz||2.20 GHz|
|Cache||36 MB Intel® Smart Cache||36 MB Intel® Smart Cache|
|Total L2 Cache||32 MB||32 MB|
|Processor Base Power||150 W||125 W|
|Maximum Turbo Power||253 W||253 W|
|Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)||128 GB||128 GB|
|Memory Types||Up to DDR5 5600 MT/s Up to DDR4 3200 MT/s||Up to DDR5 5600 MT/s Up to DDR4 3200 MT/s|
|Max no. of Memory Channels||2||2|
|Max Memory Bandwidth||89.6 GB/s||89.6 GB/s|
|ECC Memory Supported||Yes||Yes|
|Processor Graphics||Intel® UHD Graphics 770||Intel® UHD Graphics 770|
|Graphics Base Frequency||300.00 GHz||300 MHz|
|Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency||1.65 GHz||1.65 GHz|
|Graphics Output||eDP 1.4b | DP 1.4a | HDMI 2.1||eDP 1.4b | DP 1.4a | HDMI 2.1|
|PCI Express Revision||5.0 and 4.0||5.0 and 4.0|
|PCI Express Configurations||Up to 1x16+4 | 2x8+4||Up to 1x16+4 | 2x8+4|
|Max no. of PCI Express Lanes||20||20|
|Launch Date||January 2023||October 2022|
Core i9-13900KS vs i9-13900K Benchmarks
It looks like Intel did not seed any Core i9-13900KS to third-party reviewers. To date, only Hardware Unboxed was able to publish a review of the Core i9-13900KS. And they got their CPU from another source.
Based on their review, the Core i9-13900KS is around 6% faster than the i9-13900K on the Cinebench R23 benchmark. And they used a faster DDR5-7200 memory with the KS just to outperform the i9-13900K by up to 6%.
When it comes to gaming, the i9-13900KS is around 5% faster in 1080p, and around 4% faster in 1440p than the i9-13900K. However, when compared to AMD’s flagship CPU, the i9-13900KS is about 6% to 8% faster than the Ryzen 9 7950X.
But we know the 7700X is a “better” gaming CPU than the 7950X. So when compared to the 7700X, the Core i9-13900KS is only around 3% to 5% faster than the Ryzen 7 7700X. But the 7700X is 52% cheaper than the Core i9-13900KS in today’s retail market. Although, I’m positive that the Core i9-13900KS performs much better in productivity than the Ryzen 7 7700X. Still, the former is a significantly expensive CPU.
I recommend you check out Hardware Unboxed’s full review here.
Pricing and Availability
The 13th gen Intel Core i9-13900KS special edition processor is now available and comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $699. For the latest pricing and availability, kindly follow the links below. (#ad)
Should You Buy The Core i9-13900KS? Is It Worth It?
Currently, there is no doubt that the special edition Core i9-13900KS is the fastest processor in the market. It’s faster than its predecessor, the i9-13900K, and AMD’s current CPUs. However, at what cost?
While the Core i9-13900KS is indeed faster, it is also significantly more expensive than the regular Core i9-13900K(F) CPU. Well, this wasn’t a value CPU in the first place. And it is geared towards overclockers and enthusiasts who demand the best of the best regardless of the price.
Aside from the high price, you’ll also need a high-end CPU cooler since it can get really toasty. It also consumes more power, which may be fine for the target market.
As for me, I’m not the target market, and I don’t find it worth it for my use case. I’m also waiting for AMD’s Ryzen 7000X3D processors and see how they perform. The Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs are expected to be released next month, February 2023.