Intel Raptor Lake could be serious trouble for AMD going by this 13600K leak

Intel Core i9 Processor Shown Back and Front
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Raptor Lake is really hitting its stride with leaks, as another one has just emerged – but the latest spilled test results come not from the flagship 13th-gen chip, as many have in recent times, but a mid-range model from the chip giant’s incoming range of next-gen CPUs.

To be precise, what we’re seeing here is some purported benchmarking of the Intel Core i5-13600K, a CPU that’ll be the choice of many buyers as a more affordable option than Core i7 or i9 processors.

The leak was spotted by VideoCardz and is another affair which has been shared via Bilibili in China, this time courtesy of Enthusiastic Citizen. The claim is that the 13600K processor in question is an ES3 or Engineering Sample 3, meaning it’s a later stage pre-release chip.

However, Enthusiastic Citizen asserts that the ES3 CPU is being run at the same clocks as a QS or Qualification Sample – in other words, the pre-release models which are essentially the finished version, sent out to Intel’s partners for testing – so it should give us a good idea of final performance (arm yourself with a very distinct sense of skepticism when considering all this, of course).

What this means is that the engineering sample did run at 4.9GHz to 5.1GHz boost on its performance cores, but Enthusiastic Citizen jacked that up to hit 5.1GHz across all-cores to simulate the final chip (efficiency cores were also boosted from 3.9GHz to 4GHz, too).

In case you’d forgotten, the Core i5-13600K is thought to have six performance cores and eight efficiency ones, meaning it’s a 14-core chip in total (with 20-threads, as only the performance cores have hyper-threading).

The benchmarking was carried out in CPU-Z and Cinebench, and in the former, the 13600K hit 830 points for single-core and 10,031 points in multi-core, which is respectively 8% and 79% faster than its predecessor, the current 12600K.

As for Cinebench R23, we see the 13600K attain 1,387 points in single-core, and 24,420 for multi-core. That’s a blistering 40% quicker for multi-core compared to the 12600K, but the single-core result has gone badly awry here, as it’s actually 26% slower for the Raptor Lake chip.

Analysis: A lot of caveats, but nonetheless looking promising for Intel

Clearly something weird is going on with that first Cinebench result, as a next-gen CPU being 26% slower than the chip it’s replacing is obviously not right. This is a reminder that benchmarking pre-release silicon – especially in a scenario where an engineering chip has been boosted to match the purported frequency of a qualification sample – is a veritable minefield of caveats.

Still, the other results provided here do fall about where we’d expect. Seeing a 40% boost in multi-core is very impressive, and it exactly matches another leak where the Core i9-13900K flagship also achieved this same 40% generational leap – so that adds a bit more weight to the evidence presented here.

It’s a good sign to see such predicted performance gains for a mid-range Raptor Lake CPU, and we can certainly expect better multi-core performance from 13th-gen chips given that Intel is purportedly really ramping up the overall core count by doubling up on efficiency cores in the 13600K (and 13900K).

However, these early leaks are also pointing to power usage being bumped up with Raptor Lake, and Enthusiastic Citizen theorizes that the 13600K could run with a 160W TDP (not a world of difference to the 150W of the 12600K, but a bit of a step up nonetheless).

One of the most exciting things to see right now is the sudden increase in leakage around Raptor Lake sample CPUs, which is what’s commonly witnessed in the run up to the launch of a new generation of silicon. Intel’s 13th-gen chips are rumored to be arriving early in October – theoretically following a late September launch event – and the steady flow of Raptor Lake spillage coming right now suggests that this will indeed be the case.

The main question is then whether AMD will manage to beat Intel to the punch with the release of Ryzen 7000 before then – right now, the rumor mill seems to believe that both next-gen CPU ranges are set to debut at around the same time, in September. AMD could have quite a fight on its hands in the mid-range territory if this leak proves to be on the money, so Team Red can’t really afford to be late with Zen 4.

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).