As if the Intel Core i5-13600K wasn’t already attractive enough when we first reviewed this chip, it’s also received a price cut since our first review, meaning it now sits at just $320.
Both the Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 7 7700 cost about the same amount, while the Ryzen 5 7600X costs significantly less and the Core i7-13700K costs £100 more, so these three CPUs are very much up against each other at the moment, courtesy of AMD’s recent price cuts.
At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest CPUs since 2003, and we’ve tested and overclocked hundreds of CPUs, going right back to the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP era. We’ve developed an expert testing methodology that covers all the key areas of performance, including single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, as well as gaming.
Our benchmarks include our very own RealBench suite, which had a GIMP image editing test that stresses single-threaded performance, and a Handbrake H.264 video encoding test to gauge multi-threaded performance, as well as multi-tasking tests.
We also use the single and multi-threaded tests in Cinebench, Far Cry 6 and Watch Dogs: Legion. For our game tests, we record the 99th percentile and average frame rates, and finally, we also measure the idle and load total system power consumption at the wall, while running Prime95’s smallest FFT test with AVX disabled.
As well as having a peak stock-speed P-Core frequency of 5.1GHz, which is a 200MHz advantage over its predecessor, we found the Core i5-13600K could also achieve this frequency over all its P-Cores in multi-threaded workloads, while the peak 3.9GHz E-Core boost clock was being applied over all those cores too.
The Core i5-13600K is also a full-fat Raptor Lake CPU, with 20MB of L2 cache, plus has four more E-Cores than the Core i5-12600K, as well as 4MB of extra L3 cache.
Not only that, but this chip is becoming a favorite among enthusiasts as it’s also a decent overclocker, hitting 5.7GHz across all its P-Cores with 1.35V, although temperatures and power consumption do rise as a result.
You can learn how to overclock t this yourself in our Core i5-13600K overclocking guide. Still, it wasn’t particularly hard to cool at stock speed, with our water-cooling system returning temperatures in the mid-70s (°C) under load, showing there’s plenty of headroom for using less powerful coolers.
Core i5-13600K application performance
Starting with the RealBench tests, the Core i5-13600K was outdone by all the Ryzen 7000-series CPUs in the image editing test, which stresses lightly-threaded performance.
However, it came out swinging elsewhere, beating both the Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 7 7700 in our heavily multi-threaded video encoding test and nearly matching the more expensive Ryzen 9 7900 too. The system score of 372,186 again beat the two Ryzen 7 chips and sat just below the Ryzen 9 7900’s result.
It nearly matched the latter in Cinebench too, and massively outstripped the Ryzen 7 7700X here, offering massively more performance than the Core i5-12600K in the process.
Once overclocked it was a convincing win for the Core i5-13600K over the Ryzen 7 7700X, and it even beat the Ryzen 9 7900’s stock speed Cinebench score in addition to bettering it in image editing.
Core i5-13600K gaming performance
The Core i5-13600K is a great gaming CPU. Its frame rate was faster than any of AMD’s chips short of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D in Far Cry 6, and only the Ryzen 7 7700X was quicker in Watch Dogs: Legion. Once overclocked, the Core i5-13600K also beat all the current AMD CPUs in our game tests, including the similarly-priced Ryzen 7 5800X3D. If you can overclock this CPU it’s a formidable gaming force.
Core i5-13600K power draw
On the downside, the power draw of the Core i5-13600K was high at stock speed, with our test system drawing 331 W from the mains with this CPU running at full load.
Comparatively, our test system drew 325 W from the mains with the faster Ryzen 9 7900X installed. Once it was overclocked, our Core i5-13600K system drew 381 W from the mains, which was even more than with the Ryzen 9 7950X running at stock speed.
Core i5-13600K pros and cons
- Excellent overclocking potential
- Great all-round performance for the cash
- Reasonable temperatures
- Can be power-hungry
- New AMD chips are faster in some lightly-threaded loads
- Ryzen 7 5800X3D quicker in some games at stock speed
Core i5-13600K specs
The Intel Core i5-13600K specs list is:
|Base frequency:||P-Core 3.5GHz, E-Core 2.6GHz|
|Max boost frequency:||P-Core 5.1GHz, E-Core 3.9GHz|
|Manufacturing process:||10 nm (Intel 7)|
|Number of P-Cores:||6|
|Number of E-Cores:||8|
|Number of threads:||20|
|L2 cache:||20MB L2|
|L3 cache:||24 MB|
|Memory controller:||Dual-channel DDR4 and DDR5|
|Thermal design power (TDP):||181W|
|Features:||Turbo Boost 2, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE, MMX|
Core i5-13600K price
The Core i5-13600K offers great value for the performance on offer, being adept at all computing tasks without costing the earth.
Price: Expect to pay $299 (£290).
Core i5-13600K review conclusion
While it might not be the most power-frugal option available, the Core i5-13600K is one of the fastest chips available in many tasks, despite its reasonable price tag. It’s quick out of the box, matching or bettering AMD’s Ryzen 7-series CPUs, and once it’s overclocked it’s a monster that punches well above its weight.
The most attractive quality is its versatility. It’s good at every task, and rarely far behind more expensive options, fulfilling the remit of a Core i5 chip brilliantly. If you need an affordable gaming CPU, that’s also a multi-threaded performance beast when you need it, this is the best all-round option. In fact, the Core i3-13600K is good that it’s currently the top choice in our list of the best CPU for gaming.
Intel Core i5-13600K rating
Great at stock speed, and even better when overclocked. This is a superb all-round CPU for both gaming and multi-threaded workloads.