Intel Core i7-13700K review: The best CPU for PC gaming

Whilst not the fastest, the Core i7-13700K is all you'll need for a powerful PC.

Intel Core i7-13700K
(Image: © Future)

Windows Central Verdict

Decimating AMD's Ryzen 7 7700X and impressively taking on the Ryzen 9 7900X in some cases, the Intel Core i7-13700K punches way above its head. This 16-core processor is a workhorse for gaming and getting all your work done on time.

Pros

  • +

    DDR4 and DDR5 support

  • +

    Impressive performance

  • +

    Beats AMD Ryzen 7 7700X

Cons

  • -

    AMD is faster in some cases

  • -

    Draws a lot of power

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Intel's Core i7 series of processors are considered to be the best value processors from the company, offering a mix between excellent performance and affordability. The latest 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700K is promised to introduce a matured hybrid core-touting desktop CPU with impressive capabilities.

In this review, we'll be taking a closer look at the Core i7-13700K, comparing it against last year's Core i7-12700K, as well as the new AMD Ryzen 7 7700X.  Intel is still on its older 10nm manufacturing process, which puts it behind AMD's 7000 series off the bat, but the company has worked wonders in the past.

Intel Core i7-13700K: Specs, price, and availability

Intel Core i7-13700K

(Image credit: Future)

Just like the 12th Gen line-up, Intel's 13th Gen processors have a hybrid core configuration, sporting new performance cores (P-cores) and efficient cores (E-cores). The former is the main core as found in traditional processors that handle most of the calculations. What makes Intel processors different from predecessors and AMD is the inclusion of E-cores.

These less powerful cores are responsible for processing everything considered a background task. This setup allows Intel 12th and 13th Gen processors to fare better in multi-task environments like streaming PCs. The latest Core i7-13700K has 16 cores and 24 threads, up from 12 and 20 found inside the Core i7-12700K.

The performance cores are capable of boosting up to 5.4GHz and the efficient cores can hit 4.2GHz. Full support for DDR4 and DDR5 RAM is present, allowing you to keep your existing RAM if desired. A total of 30MB of cache is present and a TjMax of 100 degrees Celsius provides ample room for this K series processor to be overclocked.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Intel Core i7-13700K
Cores/Threads16/24
Base FrequencyP: 3.4GHz
Row 2 - Cell 0 E: 2.4GHz
Boost FrequencyP: 5.3GHz
Row 4 - Cell 0 E: 4.2GHz
Intel Turbo Boost Max5.4GHz
MemoryDD4-3200/DDR5-4800
Total Cache30MB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 770
PCIePCIe 5.0
TDP125W
Max draw253W
TjMax100C
Manufacturing NodeIntel 7
SocketFCLGA1700
Price$439.99

All this performance comes at a price, measured in watts. The CPU has a TDP of 125W, but the Intel Core i7-13700K is capable of boosting all the way up to 253W. That's a considerable amount of power, especially when paired with a power-hungry GPU like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.

Pricing-wise, the Intel Core i7-13700K comes in at $439.99, about $40 more than the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. But the difference in performance is worth the additional 10% cost.  

Intel Core i7-13700K: Raptor Lake

Intel Core i9-13900K

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Raptor Lake is the codename for the architecture that powers Intel's 13th Gen processors. Based on Intel's 10nm manufacturing platform, the same as the 12th Gen series, the new processors like the Core i7-13700K have a hybrid core design. The processor we're looking at in this review has an equal number of performance and efficient cores.

13th Gen processors, like those that came before them, support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory modules, which opens up additional options when building your own PC. The same LGA 1700 socket is used here but Intel managed to achieve considerable gains in core count, clock speed, and cache size, notably with the Core i9-13900K

Windows Central's Executive Editor Daniel Rubino was on a recent press trip to Israel. Here, Intel showed how the i9-13900K could hit 8.0GHz when overclocked using liquid nitrogen. So we're expecting some big performance numbers, especially when compared to the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X.

Intel Core i7-13700K: Performance

Intel Core i7-13700K

(Image credit: Future)

We made full use of the latest Z790 chipset for testing the Core i7-13700K. The ASUS ROG Strix Maximus Z790 Hero is the foundation, joined by 32GB of DDR5-6600 RAM, and the mighty NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090. There's no notable difference in performance between Z690 and Z790 aside from a few upgrades to the USB array.

The results are impressive. Intel's latest family of processors is neck and neck with AMD Ryzen 7000 and the Core i7-13700K is almost as good as the Ryzen 9 range. It's a monster whether you're looking to put together the best gaming PC or a desktop ready for creative use.

What's more interesting is how the Core i7-13700K comfortably beat the Core i9-12900K in various synthetic benchmarks. Both processors have the same number of physical cores, pushing what's possible at lower price points. 

Utilizing the same Asetek-based 360mm AIO cooler used with other CPUs, temperatures were recorded that matched AMD Ryzen 7000. Intel and AMD are making full use of the thermal headroom and you'll frequently see the Intel Core i7-13700K reach TjMax at 100 degrees Celcius when pushed hard.

For gaming, temperatures are in check at between 60-80 degrees Celcius, depending on the PC game and how demanding it is of the CPU. The GPU plays the most important part in frame rates, but it's good to have a solid processor to handle the best graphics card you can afford. The 13700K is easily up to the job.

When boosting hard, the Core i7-13700K can easily pull upwards of 200W. 

Intel Core i7-13700K: Competition

AMD Ryzen 7 7700X

(Image credit: Future)

There are two major competitors to the Intel Core i7-13700K. The first is Intel's own Core i7-12700K. This processor may be an older SKU, but it has similar internals, including the same number of cores and threads. Intel has been able to mature its hybrid core design for 13th Gen CPUs, but the Core i7-12700K is still a solid processor.

With the Core i7-13700K, Intel added an additional four E-cores, bringing the total up from 12 to 16. The base frequencies have been lowered slightly because of the additional physical cores, but Intel has managed to work in faster boost speeds, as well as an impressive 5.4GHz max turbo boost, compared to just 5.0GHz with the 12700K.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Core i7-13700KCore i7-12700KRyzen 7 7700X
Cores/Threads16/2412/208/16
Base FrequencyP: 3.4GHzP: 3.6GHz4.5GHz
Row 2 - Cell 0 E: 2.4GHzE: 2.7GHzRow 2 - Cell 3
Boost FrequencyP: 5.3GHzP: 4.9GHz5.4GHz
Row 4 - Cell 0 E: 4.2GHzE: 3.8GHzRow 4 - Cell 3
Intel Turbo Boost Max5.4GHz5.0GHz-
MemoryDDR5-4800DDR5-4800DDR5-5200
Row 7 - Cell 0 DD4-3200DD4-3200Row 7 - Cell 3
Total Cache30MB25MB40MB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770AMD Radeon
PCIePCIe 5.0PCIe 5.0PCIe 5.0
TDP125W125W105W
Max draw253W190W224W
TjMax100C100C95C
Manufacturing NodeIntel 7Intel 7TSMC 5nm
SocketFCLGA1700FCLGA1700AM5
Price$440$450$399

Then there's the AMD Ryzen 7700X, which the Intel Core i7-13700K comfortably beats in multiple applications. It's AMD that's behind the game with core and thread counters. The Ryzen 7 7700X only has 8 cores and 16 threads. It too is capable of boosting to 5.4GHz, but Intel comes out on top for both multi and single-core performance.

Intel was able to take what made the 12700K so good and crank it up to 11, extracting even more out of the older architecture. When Intel manages to once again compete on the process node front, we're likely to see yet more efficiency gains.

Intel has a slight advantage with the 13th Gen compared to Ryzen 7000 as this generation required AMD to switch sockets from AM4 to AM5. Intel is on its second year of support with the Z690 chipset, allowing those with 12th Gen systems to upgrade without requiring additional components.

Intel Core i7-13700K: Should you buy?