We’ve already discussed the steep entry cost of AM5 and how it should become more affordable over time, so let’s see where Raptor Lake fits into the picture. Raptor Lake is basically an enhanced version of the Intel 7 manufacturing process, offering higher clock speeds, higher core counts, and more cache. Still running on the LGA 1700 socket, the hybrid architecture now utilises Raptor Cove performance cores and improved Gracemont efficiency cores.
Vying for performance supremacy, we’re seeing Intel and AMD pursue higher clock speeds at the expense of power consumption and thermals. The i9 13900K supports a boost speed of 5.8GHz and the 13900KS is the world’s first 6GHz CPU. AMD isn’t far behind and the Ryzen 9 7950X can reach 5.7GHz.
Fast as they are, Intel and AMD’s latest processors are power-hungry, which is especially true for Team Blue who have increased E-core counts across the board. This bodes well for multi-threaded performance, but not so much for power consumption and thermals.
The 13900KS supports the Extreme Power Delivery Profile which raises the power limit to a whopping 320W. Meanwhile the 13900K has a Power Level 2 of 253W, and with no power limit enforced it will exceed 300W in Cinebench R23. You’re going to need a beefy liquid cooler to minimise thermal throttling. With that said, thermals are more manageable at PL2. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 chips are actually designed to run at 95 degrees for multi-threaded workloads, so even with a liquid cooling solution, these CPUs will scale to 95 to maximise performance.
While the 13900K offers stronger single core performance than the 7950X, multi-threaded performance is fairly even, with the chips trading blows in benchmarks. You could make a case that the 7950X is stronger in rendering and decompression, but then the 13900K has an edge in simulation. In most workloads the difference is less than 10% and there is no clear winner. You’re getting unprecedented productivity performance either way.
The 7950X has an advantage in terms of power draw and efficiency, which is to be expected on the more dense 5nm node. In TechPowerUp’s Application Power Consumption, the 13900K consumed 166W while the 7950X came in at a more modest 125W. Likewise, the 7950X displayed better multi-threaded efficiency in Cinebench and also better efficiency in gaming. Take nothing away from the 13900K, as there is a significant generational improvement and it achieves 12900K performance with a power cap of 80W–impressive to say the least. But Zen 4 has better multi-threaded efficiency across the stack.
The 13900K and 7950X offer strong gaming performance, with the 13900K taking the lead in most benchmarks. But you shouldn’t be buying these chips for gaming alone, as there are more cost-effective options like the 13600K and 7600X, not to mention AMD’s upcoming 7000X3D chips.
Intel Raptor Lake vs AMD Zen 4 Ryzen 7000
–Intel i9 13900K: $600
–Ryzen 9 7950X: $600
–Ryzen 9 7900X: $449
–Intel i7 13700K: $422
–Ryzen 7 7700X: $349
–Intel i5 13600K: $320
–Ryzen 5 7600X: $250
*Prices valid on 2023/01/13
Raptor Lake had a significant pricing advantage initially, with the i5 and i7 chips undercutting their Ryzen 7000 competitors by over $100, but AMD has responded with markdowns across the board and it’s not such an overwhelming Intel victory anymore.
Looking at the 13900K vs 7950X matchup, I’m leaning towards Intel’s flagship for its superior single-threaded performance. The 13700K vs 7900X is Intel-favoured with the i7 $30 cheaper while offering comparable performance. The 13600K vs 7700X paints a similar picture, with Intel again undercutting AMD with comparable performance. As a matter of fact, the 13600K outperforms the 7700X at a lower price tag. The Ryzen 5 7600X isn’t a half bad deal at $250 where it doesn’t have to compete with the 13600K.
AMD’s non-X chips look much more appealing from a value perspective, and they even come with bundled coolers to sweeten the deal. AMD will be hoping that the new 7600, 7700 and 7900 improves AM5 adoption. The 7600 vs 13400 matchup is especially intriguing: Intel’s i5 13400 now comes with an additional four E-Cores (6P+4E), however the 7600 supports a higher boost speed of 5.1GHz. Still, it feels like an Intel win is inevitable here, and with the 13400 at $221 and 13400F at $196, AMD’s price of $230 for the 7600 might not hold up very well. Intel’s i3 13100 and 13100F are also very attractively priced at $134 and $109.
|Intel i9 13900||8P+16E/32T||5.6GHz/4.2GHz||65W||$549|
|Ryzen 9 7900||12C/24T||5.4GHz/3.7GHz||65W||$430|
|Intel i7 13700||8P+8E/24T||5.2GHz/4.1GHz||65W||$384|
|Ryzen 7 7700||8C/16T||5.3GHz/3.8GHz||65W||$330|
|Intel i5 13600||6P+8E/20T||5.0GHz/3.7GHz||65W||$255|
|Ryzen 5 7600||6C/12T||5.1GHz/3.8GHz||65W||$230|
|Intel i5 13400||6P+4E/16T||4.6GHz/3.3GHz||65W||$221|
|Intel i3 13100||4P/8T||4.5GHz/3.4GHz||60W||$134|
The overall platform cost of AM5 will be a deterrent for some, especially with early-adopter tax still prevalent. Raptor Lake is backward compatible with last-gen Intel 600 series motherboards and DDR4 whereas Ryzen 7000 can only be paired with AM5 motherboards and DDR5 memory.
AMD does make a strong case as far as longevity. AM5 will be supported until at least 2025, whereas Intel’s LGA 1700 socket will most likely be replaced in 2023. This means no drop-in upgrades for Raptor Lake users. Conversely, AM5 should support two to three new Ryzen releases, which will significantly include the 7000X3D series. AMD has unveiled three of these chips to be released in February 2023. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D boasts a combined L2 and L3 cache of 144MB, which looks very promising for gaming performance.
|Ryzen 9 7950X3D||16C/32T||5.7GHz/4.2GHz||144MB Cache||120W|
|Ryzen 9 7900X3D||12C/24T||5.6GHz/4.4GHz||140MB Cache||120W|
|Ryzen 7 7800X3D||8C/16T||5.0GHz/4.XGHz||104MB Cache||120W|
Many considered the 5800X3D a one-trick pony, as it was primarily used for gaming and the 5950X or 12900K were better options for serious productivity. Things have changed with Zen 4, and there are now three V-Cache chips to choose from. The higher end 7000X3D models will not only offer next-level gaming, but also leading productivity performance, so they will be much more versatile and could pose a serious threat to Intel. The 7950X3D could be a compelling option if priced right.
Let’s look at some mid-end combos:
Mid-End AM5 combo: $789
Ryzen 7 7700X ($349) + Gigabyte B650 Aorus Elite AX ($230) + G.SKILL Trident Z5 Neo Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($210)
Mid-End Raptor Lake DDR5 combo: $725
Intel i5 13600K ($320) + ASRock Z790 Pro RS ($220) + G.SKILL RipJaws S5 Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($185)
Mid-End Raptor Lake DDR4 combo: $545
Intel i5 13600K ($320) + ASUS Prime B660-Plus ($140) + Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB DDR4 3200MHz C16 ($80)
*Prices valid on 2023/01/13
If you were to build an entirely new Intel and AMD system, it’s fairly even in terms of overall platform cost, but the backward compatibility of Raptor Lake gives you a few more options. You can shave off almost $200 by going for a B660 chipset and DDR4 memory. Then there is also the possibility of a drop-in upgrade on existing Alder Lake systems, in which case the only expense is the CPU.
AMD has somewhat leveled the playing field with significant price cuts. The 7950X and 7700X are now actually very competitive, although Intel’s 13600K remains the undisputed value king. Intel is still better value right now, but it’s not a decisive victory by any means and AM5 will become more affordable in 2023.
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