Intel Raptor Lake flagship CPU could blow away Core i9-12900K

Intel Alder Lake CPU in a motherboard
(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s Raptor Lake processors have been the subject of another leak, and this time the spillage of benchmarks is a weighty one centered on the Core i9-13900K flagship chip.

Of course, let’s put the usual caveats upfront: these are just purported results, and may not be genuine – we have to take that on trust – and this is a pre-release (engineering) sample of the 13900K (which as you may recall, is a 24-core CPU featuring eight performance cores and 16 efficiency ones).

The benchmark scores come from Bilibili (opens in new tab) (spotted by VideoCardz (opens in new tab)), a video sharing site in China, so bear in mind that it’s not what we’d consider the most reliable of sources, so tread even more cautiously than normal here. That said, the results seem detailed and are quite a work of fakery if they are indeed completely made up.

The benchmarks are drawn from a variety of suites, including the usual suspects such as Blender, CineBench, Geekbench, and CPU-Z, with the 13900K being paired with an RTX 3060 Ti GPU and DDR5 system RAM in an Asus ROG Z690 Extreme motherboard.

So, what do the scores show us? Namely that compared to the current 12900K, the incoming Raptor Lake flagship is about 10% faster on average for single-core performance, and around 35% quicker for multi-core.

As you might expect, some benchmarks show a more pronounced lead for the 13900K, and that goes up to 46% faster for multi-core performance as benchmarked in CPU-Z (with the Raptor Lake CPU being 40% faster in CineBench R23 multi-core, and 41% quicker in some Blender tests).


Analysis: Further evidence that Raptor Lake will be a worthy upgrade

Another key point here is the clock speed shown for the 13900K sample chip, which is a base frequency of 3GHz, with boost to 5.5GHz, but up to 5.7GHz when hitting its fastest speed. That exactly matches another leak we saw a few days ago, again for a purported Raptor Lake flagship CPU engineering sample, so that adds some weight to this rumor here.

And indeed it’s more fuel to the fire of the general theory that the 13900K should reach 5.7GHz when the proverbial accelerator is floored – with Thermal Velocity Boost, meaning a short-term burst of speed – and that maybe we might just see 5.8GHz as previously rumored. Remember, this is still sample silicon, so the finished version of the 13900K is likely to offer a little more oomph – and the same goes for those benchmark results. Again, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen some heavy hinting that the Raptor Lake flagship will be an impressive step up from the existing 12900K.

Single-core gains are more modest, but still perfectly healthy – for a sample chip – though they appear to be more to do with the faster boost levels the 13900K is being pushed to here (the 12900K tops out at its max boost of 5.2GHz). Gaming benchmarks will be where a lot of interest is focused, of course, on how far Raptor Lake moves forward, with bolstered levels of onboard cache expected to help it versus Alder Lake in that respect.

For what’s billed as a simple refresh of Alder Lake, Intel’s 13th-gen processors are looking enticing enough from where we stand right now. If there’s a worry here for fans of Team Blue already mulling a next-gen CPU, it’s that this leak shows the 13900K hitting a ‘PL4’ power usage (the maximum allowed as a temporary spike) as high as 420W, which is seriously power-hungry – but then we must remember that this is still a pre-release CPU.

What’s also worth noting is that Raptor Lake will be facing off against Ryzen 7000 chips built on an entirely new Zen 4 architecture, silicon which itself appears to be very promising in terms of the impact it could make, reaching eye-opening boost speeds for starters. Both these competing next-gen CPU ranges are thought to be launching around the same time, namely September or October 2022.

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).