Report shows Intel’s 14th-gen CPUs are great overclockers – and suggests which 14900K variant you should buy

An Intel Core i9-14900K slotted into a motherboard
(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Intel’s new Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs have been under scrutiny in a new report which evaluated a host of silicon from the 14th-gen range.

This comes from Igor’s Lab – a German site which has previously conducted similar tests – and involved some 600 of Intel’s processors, both 14th-gen and 13th-gen for comparison. All these chips were split up among five intrepid overclockers for testing (one of those being Igor).

Given the vast number of CPUs being covered, the testing employed was necessarily limited, with the processors placed in an Asus Maximus Z790 Hero motherboard, and Silicon Prediction (SP) values recorded (indicating the quality of the chip essentially).

Furthermore, the voltage drawn was measured when at the maximum rated Turbo clock speed (with a lower voltage meaning the chip is better quality – as there’s more headroom to crank up the voltage for a bigger overclock).

There’s a mountain of results to wade through, as you can imagine, so we’ll pick out some brief highlights.

The overall conclusion is that Raptor Lake Refresh processors are better binned (of a higher silicon quality) compared to their predecessors, Raptor Lake chips, but then you’d expect that really (given generational process and manufacturing refinements).

For example, looking at maximum voltages, the 14900K needed as low as 1398mV in four cases to hit full Turbo, and the lowest the 13900KS managed was 1433mV (25 of the 14900K CPUS were below that value, in fact). This shows that with specs otherwise identical, the 14900K is a superior piece of silicon overall (though there will be variances, and it’s important to note the 13900KS sample size is much smaller here, which could have an impact).

As mentioned, with more headroom to allow voltage to be pushed in general, Raptor Lake Refresh is giving overclockers more scope for juicing up clock speeds that little bit more.

Another interesting point is that the report compares the standard 14900K against the 14900KF version (which is the same, but lacks integrated graphics). Was there any marked difference in the two spins on the flagship?

The 14900KF chips had a spread of SP values ranging from 90 to 104, whereas the 14900K was between 92 and 112, indicating a higher quality for the latter.

A masculine hand holding an Intel Core i9-14900K

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Analysis: No alarms and no surprises…

Looking at those last SP scores, the 14900K looks a better proposition, but we have to remember that even a sample of 600 processors hardly tells a definitive story, whether that’s pertaining to individual head-to-head CPU performances, or the overall picture.

That said, as noted it’s not surprising to see Raptor Lake Refresh is better binned than the previous-gen Raptor Lake chips, and indeed that the new CPUs overclock better. If you recall, it was even the case that long before the 14th-gen processors emerged there were leaks indicating that Raptor Lake Refresh was going to be a solid step forward on the overclocking front.

So really, there are no big surprises here, but the result of that 14900K versus 14900KF battle is interesting to see.

Still, any Raptor Lake Refresh buying decision will be based on how much of an upgrade it’ll be from what you’re currently running, and the performance improvements for the 14900K aren’t impressive gen-on-gen as we pointed out in our full review.

If you’re intending to overclock, though, there is definitely a bit more mileage in this new generation of Intel silicon, and the report certainly makes this clear (just make sure you get yourself a top-notch CPU cooler).

Via VideoCardz

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).