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Intel 13th Gen series: Everything we know about Raptor Lake

Intel Core i5-10600K
(Image credit: Future)

Intel's 12th Gen series of processors was a huge success in bringing something new to the market with its hybrid core design and packed a punch to better compete against AMD Ryzen. Now, Intel is hard at work on the next chapter for its 13th Gen series of processors, codenamed Raptor Lake.

Scheduled to roll out sometime later in 2022, these Intel processors will go up against the next generation of AMD Ryzen for the crown of best CPU. Not much has been officially released by Intel, so we've compiled everything we know thus far about Raptor Lake right here.

What is Raptor Lake?

Raptor Lake is the codename for Intel's next-gen family of 13th Gen processors for desktop and laptop PCs. These chips will be based on the same 10nm manufacturing process (confusingly marketed as Intel 7) as Alder Lake. As was the case with the 12th Gen series, Intel will be working to lower power consumption, improve clock speeds, and add additional cores.

It's expected we'll see the same motherboards used for 12th Gen series processors, though new chipsets may be released to take advantage of better connectivity with the newer processors. 13th Gen Intel chips will work with both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM to better support various configurations and budgets when building your own PC.

13th Gen Intel CPU specifications

Intel 12 Gen HX

(Image credit: Intel)

We've got no word on the specifications on 13th Gen SKUs for laptop and desktop processors yet, but the rumor is Intel will plan to release a CPU with 24 cores and we're set to see a new microarchitecture, named Raptor Cove. Details on this are light, but it should help pave way for Intel to make grounds in improving performance.

While we're unable to confirm anything from Intel just yet, it's believed we're going to see a slight bump in the number of cores across the SKU family of 13th Gen processors to match the new 24-core Core i9 chip. It's expected we're going to see the same core and thread configuration in the 13th Gen Core i7 as we have in the 12th Gen Core i9.

We're big fans of the Intel Core i5-12600K and its 6 performance and 4 efficiency cores. If the early leaks are true and the next flagship Core i5 processor has 6 performance and 8 efficiency cores, we could be in for one incredibly potent processor, especially as software grows further accustomed to Intel's new hybrid design.

Already, we've seen early benchmark leaks also claim some sizeable performance boosts from using DDR5 RAM over older DDR4. While we recommend taking early pre-release benchmarks with a grain of salt, such an improvement would make sense as Intel matures its new hybrid design to work with newer technologies like DDR5.

13th Gen Intel motherboards

NZXT N7 Z690

(Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

As aforementioned, it won't be a requirement to upgrade with a new motherboard to make full use of a 13th Gen processor, so long as you're moving from Alder Lake. This would mean you'd lose out on a few minor connectivity improvements brought forward in Raptor Lake, namely PCIe lanes.

Previously, Alder Lake processors supported 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes for a discrete GPU or other card connected to a slot on the board. Now, Intel looks to be allowing motherboard manufacturers to essentially split the 16 lanes from the CPU into a dual 8-lane configuration, enabling support for a discrete GPU and PCIe 5.0 SSDs.

New 700-series boards will launch alongside the new 13th Gen processors, but existing 600-series boards will work just fine with a BIOS update.

13th Gen Intel CPU release dates

No official word from Intel on the launch window for Raptor Lake processors yet, but we're expecting something to pop up during Q4 2022. Intel has stated that new processors will be available for purchase by the end of 2022, so Q4 is a good bet for the company to position itself against AMD's upcoming Zen 4 launch. 

Interestingly, Intel has already gone into detail about Meteor Lake CPUs, which are planned for release sometime in 2023.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.