Back at Intel’s Innovation 2022 event in September, the company let it be known that it had plans to release a ‘6 GHz’ processor based on its Raptor Lake-S series of processors. Though it didn’t come with the same degree of fanfare that Intel’s more imminently launching 13900K/13700K/13600K received, it put enthusiasts and industry watchers on notice that Intel still had one more, even faster Raptor Lake desktop chip waiting in the wings.
Now a few months later, Raptor Lake’s shining moment has arrived. Intel has launched the Intel Core i9-13900KS, a 24-core (8x Perf + 16x Efficiency) part with turbo clock speeds of up to 6 GHz. A mark, which until very recently, was unprecedented without the use of exotic cooling methods such as liquid nitrogen (LN2).
In what is likely to be one of the last in a wide range of Raptor Lake-S SKUs to be announced, Intel has seemingly saved its best for last. The Intel Core i9-13900KS is the faster and unequivocal bigger brother to the Core i9-13900K, with turbo clock speeds of up to 6 GHz while maintaining its halo presence with a 200 MHz increase on both P-core and E-core base frequencies.
Intel’s focus and strategy on delivering halo-level processors in limited supply is something that’s become a regular part of their product stack over the last few years. We’ve previously seen the Core i9-9900KS (Coffee Lake) and i9-12900KS (Alder Lake), which were relative successes in showcasing each Core architecture at their finest point. The Core i9-13900KS looks to follow this trend, although it comes as we’ve reached a time where power efficiency and costs are just a few widely shared concerns globally.
Having the best of the best is somewhat advantageous when there’s a need for cutting-edge desktop performance, but at what cost? Faster cores require more energy, and more energy generates more heat; 6 GHz for the average consumer is finally here, but is it worth taking the plunge? We aim to find out in our review of the 6 GHz Core i9-13900KS.