Intel Core i5-14600K review: wait for Meteor Lake

The Intel Core i5-14600K is barely an upgrade from the i5-13600K

An Intel Core i5-14600K against its promotional packaging
(Image: © Future / John Loeffler)

TechRadar Verdict

The Intel Core i5-14600K is technically better than its predecessor, but it's effectively just a minor overclocking of the 13600K with support for discrete Wi-Fi 7, which aren't even available yet. And with the release of this chip, the 13600K is going to come down in price, making it the far better value of the two, and the chip I would recommend you buy instead if you must get a cheap Intel chip to hold you over until Meteor Lake drops in 2024.


  • +

    Slightly cheaper than predecessor

  • +

    Slightly better performance than predecessor

  • +

    Future discrete Wi-Fi 7 support


  • -

    Performance gain is negligible over 13600K

  • -

    Somehow manages to run so hot it throttles

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Intel Core i5-14600K: Two-minute review

The Intel Core i5-14600K is not the kind of processor you're really going to want to upgrade to, despite technically offering the best value of any processor I've tested.

First, the good. This is one of the best processor values you're going to find on the market, no matter what happens with the price of its predecessor. Currently, it has the best performance for its $319 price tag (about £255/AU$465), and AMD's competing Ryzen 5 7600X isn't all that close. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck today, then the Intel Core i5-14600K is it.

In terms of performance, this isn't a bad chip at all; I'd even say it's a great one if you take its predecessor out of the running, which will inevitably happen as its last remaining stock gets bought up. It doesn't have the performance of the Intel Core i7-14700K, but that's a workhorse chip, not the kind that's meant to power the best computers for the home or the best budget gaming PCs as these chips start making their way into prebuilt systems in the next couple of months.

For a family computer or one that's just meant for general, every day use, then this chip is more than capable of handling whatever y'll need it for. It can even handle gaming fairly well thanks to its strong single core performance. So, on paper at least, the Core i5-14600K is the best Intel processor for the mainstream user as far as performance goes.

The real problem with the i5-14600K is that its performance is tragically close to the Core i5-13600K's. And even though the MSRP of the Intel Core i5-13600K is technically higher than that of the Core i5-14600K, it's not going to remain that way for very long at all.

The real problem with the i5-14600K, and one that effectively sinks any reason to buy it, is that its performance is tragically close to the Core i5-13600K's.

As long as the i5-13600K is on sale, it will be the better value, and you really won't even notice a difference between the two chips in terms of day-to day-performance.

That's because there's no difference between the specs of the 14600K vs 13600K, other than a slightly faster turbo clock speed for the 14600K's six performance cores.

While this does translate into some increased performance, it comes at the cost of higher power draw and temperature. During testing, this chip hit a maximum temperature of 101ºC, which is frankly astounding for an i5. And I was using one of the best CPU coolers around, the MSI MAG Coreliquid E360 AIO, which should be more than enough to keep the temperature in check to prevent throttling.

Looking at the chip's actual performance, the Core i5-14600K beats the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X and the Intel Core i5-13600K in single core performance, multi core performance, and with productivity workloads, on average. Other than its roughly 44% better average multi core performance against the Ryzen 5 7600X, the Core i5-14600K is within 3% to 4% of its competing chips.

In creative workloads, the Core i5-14600K again manages to outperform the Ryzen 5 7600X by about 31% on average, but it's just 2.4% better than its predecessor, and none of these chips are especially great at creative content work. If you're messing around with family albums or cutting up TikTok videos, any one of these chips could do that fairly easily. For heavier-duty workloads like video encoding and 3D rendering, the Intel chips hold up better than the mainstream Ryzen 5, but these chips really aren't practical for that purpose.

On the gaming front, it's more of the same, though now at least the Ryzen 5 7600X is back in the mix. Overall, the Core i5-14600K beats its 13th-gen predecessor and AMD's rival chip by about 2.1% and 3.2% respectively.

All of this comes at the cost of higher power draw and hotter CPU temperatures, though, which isn't good especially for getting so little in return. What you really have here is an overclocked i5-13600K, and you can do that yourself and save some money by buying the 13600K when it goes on sale, which is will.

An Intel Core i5-14600K against its promotional packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Intel Core i5-14600K: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? US MSRP $319 (about £255/AU$465)
  • When is it out? October 17, 2023
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in the US, UK, and Australia

The Intel Core i5-14600K is available in the US, UK, and Australia as of October 17, 2023, for an MSRP of $319 (about £255/AU$465). 

This is a slight $10 price drop from its predecessor, which is always good thing, and comes in about $20 (about £15/AU$30) more than the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X, so fairly middle of the pack price-wise.

In terms of actual value, as it goes to market, this chip has the highest performance for its price of any chip in any product tier, but only by a thin margin, and one that is sure to fall very quickly once the price on the 13600K drops by even a modest amount.

Intel Core i5-14600K: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Intel Core i5-14600K vs i5-13600K specs
Header Cell - Column 0 Intel Core i5-14600KIntel Core i5-13600K
Performance Cores66
Efficiency Cores88
P-Core Base Clock3.50GHz3.50GHz
P-Core Boost Clock5.30GHz5.10GHz
E-Core Base Clock2.60GHz2.60GHz
E-Core Boost Clock4.00GHz3.90GHz
Motherboard SocketLGA 1700LGA 1700

Intel Core i5-14600K: Verdict

  • Best performance for the price of any chip tested...
  • ...but any price drop in the Core i5-13600K will put the 14600K in second place
  • Not really worth upgrading to with the Core i7-14700K costing just $90 more

Ultimately, the market served by this chip specifically is incredibly narrow, and like the rest of the Raptor Lake Refresh line-up, this is the last hurrah for the Intel LGA 1700 socket.

That means if you go out and buy a motherboard and CPU cooler just for the 14th-gen, it's a one time thing, since another generation on this platform isn't coming. It doesn't make sense to do that, so, if you're upgrading from anything earlier than the 12th-gen, it just makes so much more sense to wait for Meteor Lake to land in several months time and possibly get something really innovative.

If you're on a 12th-gen chip and you can't wait for Meteor Lake next year, the smartest move is to buy the i7-14700K instead, which at least gives you i9-13900K-levels of performance for just $90 more than the i5-14600K.

Ultimately, this chip is best reserved for prebuilt systems like the best all-in-one computers at retailers like Best Buy, where you will use the computer for a reasonable amount of time, and then when it becomes obsolete, you'll go out and buy another computer rather than attempt to upgrade the one you've got.

In that case, buying a prebuilt PC with an Intel Core i5-14600K makes sense, and for that purpose, this will be a great processor. But if you're looking to swap out another Intel LGA 1700 chip for this one, there are much better options out there.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Intel Core i5-14600K report card
Header Cell - Column 0 NotesRating
ValueThe fact that the Core i5-14600K will be available for cheaper than the 14600K seriously cuts into an otherwise best-in-value title.3.5 / 5
Specs & featuresOnly the slightest of clock speed increases and potential Wi-Fi 7 capability. That's about it.2.5 / 5
PerformanceWhile the performance is the best among the mainstream chips, it's only barely faster than the i5-13600K it replaces.3.5 / 5
TotalIf you can get this chip for cheaper than its predecessor or you're buying a prebuilt PC with this chip in it, it might be a good value. Maybe.3.17 / 5

Should you buy the Intel Core i5-14600K?

Buy the Intel Core i5-14600K if...

You're looking for a cheap upgrade from the i5-12600K
If you're content with an i5 performance wise, this is the best performing mainstream chip in Intel's arsenal.

You're buying a prebuilt PC
If you're looking to buy a PC for general purpose computing and some light to moderate gaming, the Intel i5-14600K is a great chip for that purpose.

You can find it below MSRP
The i5-14600K is the best value on the market at retail prices, so getting it on sale amplifies its value against the i5-13600K.

Don't buy it if...

You're able to wait until Meteor Lake
With a whole new architecture and a bunch of new innovative technology, Intel's next series of desktop chips launching in 2024 look like they'll be worth waiting for.

You have a bit more money to spend
With the Intel Core i7-14700K just $90 more and offering i9-13900K levels of performance, That really is the chip you should be looking at if you're upgrading to Raptor Lake Refresh.

Also Consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Intel Core i5-14600K specs vs its competitors
Header Cell - Column 0 Intel Core i5-14600KIntel Core i5-14700KAMD Ryzen 5 7600X
Price$319 (about £255/AU$465)$409 (about £325/AU$595)$249 (
Performance Cores686
Efficiency Cores8120
P-Core Base Clock3.50GHz3.40GHz4.70GHz
P-Core Boost Clock5.30GHz5.50GHz5.30GHz
E-Core Base Clock2.60GHz2.50GHzN/A
E-Core Boost Clock4.00GHz4.30GHzN/A
Motherboard SocketLGA 1700LGA 1700AM5

If my Intel Core i5-14600K review has you considering other options, here are two processors to consider... 


Intel Core i4-14700K
With performance on par with the i9-13900K, the Intel Core i7-14700K offers an incredible balance of performance and value, even coming within reach of the i9-14900K and surpassing it at times.

Read the full Intel Core i7-14700K review


AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
With a cheaper MSRP than the 14600K, the Ryzen 5 7600X offers competitive performance at a more compelling price, making it a great value alternative to the 14600K.

Read the full AMD Ryzen 5 7600X review

How I tested the Intel Core i5-14600K

  • I spent nearly two weeks testing the Intel Core i5-14600K
  • I ran comparable benchmarks between this chip and rival midrange processors
  • I gamed with this chip extensively
Test System Specs

These are the specs for the test system used for this review:

Intel Motherboard: MSI MPG Z790E Tomahawk Wifi
AMD Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus X670E Extreme
CPU Cooler:
MSI MAG Coreliquid E360 AIO
32GB SK Hynix DDR5-4800
SSD: Samsung 990 Pro
PSU: Thermaltake PF3 1050W ATX 3.0
Case: Praxis Wetbench

I spent about two weeks testing the Intel Core i5-14600K and its competition, primarily for productivity work, gaming, and content creation.

I used a standard battery of synthetic benchmarks that tested out the chip's single core, multi core, creative, and productivity performance, as well as built-in gaming benchmarks to measure its gaming chops. 

I then ran the same tests on rival chips from AMD as well as the other 14th-gen chips in the Raptor Lake Refresh launch lineup and 13th-generation Raptor Lake processors. For Intel chips, I used the same motherboard, RAM, SSD, and graphics card to ensure I was isolating just the CPU's performance across every chip. For AMD chips, I used a comparable AM5 motherboard so differences in the motherboard configuration and circuitry are mitigated to the largest extent possible.

I've been testing and reviewing computer hardware for years now, and with an extensive background in computer science, I know processors in and out, and I use that knowledge to ensure every chip is thoroughly tested.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed October 2023

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).