This announcement has been anticipated for some time on January 12, the Intel Core i9 13900KS goes on sale for £600. The processor has been talked about and teased a lot over the past few months, but the first 6GHz desktop processor at stock speeds in the world actually launches today.
Yes, a chip that was officially announced and launched simultaneously is rare these days. With a factory-installed Max Turbo clock of 6 GHz, this high-performance processor aims to be the benchmark for gaming performance. Intel demonstrated the chip in action earlier this week with a glimpse of the CPU running at up to 6 GHz (opens in new tab). It’s true that it won’t stay at that high a clock speed for very long, but that’s typical of modern CPUs.
A processor running at 6 GHz is fantastic. However, the extremely niche nature of this kind of chip must be well known to even Intel. I do wonder why anyone would feel the need to pay an additional $100 for the 200MHz faster Core i9 13900KS when the Core i9 13900K can run up to 5.8GHz and is largely insufficient for anything other than the most demanding professional creation tasks. Okay, I have the response: Big numbers are fun.
Over the years, binned chips that can reach these kinds of turbo speeds have become less and less appealing. The so-called golden chips, which could run at whole gigahertz speeds faster than their ordinary siblings, are long gone. Today, at least without liquid nitrogen, you can expect a few hundred megahertz from a nearly perfect die. The Core i9 13900K can achieve speeds of up to 9 GHz (opens in new tab) if you overcrowd a CPU, but this is beyond the capabilities of the typical user.
From the beginning, Intel, AMD, and others are all testing the limits of new chips. The silicon lottery isn’t as exciting for hobbyist overclockers because the rare “golden samples” are cut off and sold as more expensive options like this Core i9 13900KS. The binned CPU store Silicon Lottery actually closed last year for this reason. On the day of its closing, the store stated, “Overclocking headroom has been dwindling.”
Additionally, the development of process nodes has slowed over time, necessitating that Intel has been pushing for more performance from pre-existing nodes for several generations.
Because of all of this, it’s hard to recommend a chip like the Intel Core i9 13900KS. Having a CPU that runs at 6 GHz out of the box is, as I said, an incredible milestone, but no gamer will really benefit from its slightly faster cores. You could argue that this is a “cheap” binned chip for avid overclockers, but even then, you’re paying more for the glory of saying you have one than anything else.
Nevertheless, Intel anticipates that AMD’s brand-new and significantly improved 3D V-Cache Ryzen 7000-series processors will not pose a threat to the Core i9 13900KS. Although there isn’t much specificity in the graphs that have been presented thus far, the rough performance figures that AMD has provided suggest that it might have the advantage.
We were under the impression that AMD’s 3D V-Cache release date (opens in new tab) was set for February 14, but that date turned out to be incorrect. To get the full picture, we will need to wait for a chip-versus-chip competition. AMD hasn’t specified a new release date for its next-generation gaming processors, but it’s likely to be in the first quarter. I certainly hope so.