Intel Launches $699 Core i9-13900KS, the World's First 6 GHz 320W CPU: Available Now

Core i9-13900K
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

It may not be quite the 30 GHz that Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger predicted back in 2002, but Intel's Core i9-13900KS Special Edition processor, which is available on shelves today for $699, is the world's first consumer CPU to run at 6 GHz without overclocking. With a whopping 250W base power specification, it's also now officially the most power-hungry desktop CPU in history — it peaks at 320W in a new Extreme Power Delivery Profile.

Notably, the 13900KS' peak of 6 GHz is 300 MHz faster than the 5.7 GHz for AMD's Ryzen 7000 processors, but AMD has a special series of Ryzen 7000X3D chips that will square off with the 13900KS for the title of the world's fastest gaming CPU.

AMD's competing chips arrive next month, and we fully expect that AMD will sample its chips to the press for review on the as-yet unrevealed launch date. In contrast, Intel sent out its announcement without samples provided to the press in advance, which will naturally lead to speculation that the company doesn't expect the chips to hold the gaming performance lead against AMD's upcoming X3D processors. Additionally, Intel officially positions the 13900KS as the 'world's fastest desktop processor' instead of using the 'world's fastest gaming processor' tag that it has employed for other chips in the past — read into that what you will.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 MSRPCores / Threads (P+E)P-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)E-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)Cache (L2/L3)TDP / PBP / MTPMemory
Core i9-13900KS$69924 / 32 (8+16)3.0 / 6.02.2 / 4.368MB (32+36)150W / 253W / 320WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Core i9-13900K / KF$589 (K) - $564 (KF)24 / 32 (8+16)3.0 / 5.82.2 / 4.368MB (32+36)125W / 253WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600
Ryzen 9 7950X3D?16 / 324.2 / 5.7-144MB (16+128)120W / 162WDDR5-5200
Ryzen 9 7900X3D?12 / 244.4 / 5.6-140MB (12+132)120W / 162WDDR5-5200
Ryzen 7 7800X3D?8 /16 4.x / 5.0-104MB (8+96)120W / 162WDDR5-5200

The Core i9-13900KS is functionally identical to the current fastest gaming chip in the world, the 13900K, but the extra 'S' in the name denotes that this is premium-binned silicon that hits 6 GHz on two cores — 200 MHz faster than the 12900K.

The chip also has a 150W Processor Base Power (PBP) rating, which is 25W higher than the 13900K, also making it the world's most power-hungry desktop PC processor at its base TDP. Intel has specified the Maximum Turbo Power (MTP) spec at 253W but has a new Extreme Power Delivery Profile that enables that up to 320W with an ICCMax of 400A. The processor is fully warrantied to run at this peak power consumption.

Intel recently demoed the chip hitting 6 GHz on two cores with standard off-the-shelf Corsair AIO water cooling, but didn't specify the size of the cooler (the company has clarified that it sees "good performance with a 360mm AIO cooler"). The chip's peak frequency relies on Intel's Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) tech, meaning the chip will have to be below a pre-defined temperature (70C) to hit the 6 GHz peak. Naturally, systems with custom watercooling will extract the biggest benefit.

The Intel Core i9-13900K recently took the all-time frequency world record of 8.812 GHz, dethroning the previous record holder, AMD's legendary FX-8370, by 90 MHz. Intel selects its premium-binned 13900K silicon for the 13900KS, so it is guaranteed to be among the very best silicon the company has to offer. That will make the chips very attractive to overclockers, as paying the extra $110 for the KS model improves your odds in the silicon lottery and essentially assures that you're getting a cherry chip (below, we embedded a video of Intel Fellow Guy Therien explaining how binning works). These chips will be available in limited quantities, but Intel hasn't released a firm estimate of how many units will be available.

Intel has been vocal that the company will raise pricing on its CPUs to reflect the inflationary environment, and it has already raised the pricing of its previous-gen 12th-gen CPUs while oddly leaving the new 13th-Gen Raptor Lake at their original pricing — at least for now. As such, the 13900KS is $124 less than the current pricing of the previous-gen Core i9-12900KS, which peaked at 5.5 GHz. For the record, the 12900KS originally debuted at $739, so the $699 price tag for the 13900KS is $40 lower than the debut price of the previous-gen model.

Intel's previous KS models have come in special packaging, but Intel hasn't shared details about the 13900KS yet.  

Intel

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As an interesting aside, while the Core i9-13900KS's achievement of 6 GHz sets a record for a shipping desktop PC processor, it doesn't quite reach the lofty peaks that were once predicted. As you can see above, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, then the CTO, predicted back in 2002 that processors would hit 30 GHz by 2010. Of course, that was before we began to see the breakdown of some of the fundamental laws, like Dennard Scaling, that has slowed progress tremendously.

However, after years of frequency stagnation and limited core counts, fierce competition between Intel and AMD finds them once again pushing the limits. That's good for all of us, even though it does increasingly come at the cost of prodigious power consumption from both players.

The Core i9-13900KS is available today at retail with a $699 1K unit price (Intel's recommended pricing for volume buyers, but pricing is typically higher in stores at first). You'll also find Intel's new fastest chip in systems from its channel and OEM partners, too. You can expect to see a review here in the coming days. 

Paul Alcorn
Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • gg83
    His prediction was similar to all the crypto bros saying etherium will would hit 60k. A little off.
    Reply
  • drivinfast247
    I hope it can play CS:GO 1000fps @ 720p low! That's how I'll win!
    Reply
  • Roland Of Gilead
    300w of HOT!

    Will take strong cooling to let it shine.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    It should come with software for users in Europe and Japan. An overlay that shows you how much money you are paying for electricity to run this stupid thing.
    Reply
  • Elusive Ruse
    Roland Of Gilead said:
    300w of HOT!

    Will take strong cooling to let it shine.
    Hardware Unboxed had to use the AC LF II 420 and it still throttled under full workload. The be quiet! 360 was actually unable to keep up at all.

    UNDxKQP1_FQView: https://youtu.be/UNDxKQP1_FQ
    Reply
  • Coffee Fueled Curmudgeon
    Much like the high end AMD chips - this isn't where the market is and very few people need it. Nonetheless, the fanboys on both sides will gear up with narratives about how efficiency is now more important that capability, or power is more important than efficiency.

    Meanwhile, millions of sensible gamers will buy a processor like the 13400/7600 that's £200, meets their needs, plays everything at a realistic refresh rate for the next few years and never look at this again, before doing the same thing in three years time.

    Instead of yapping about what £600+ processor with a gazillion scores can hit what clock speed, I'd much rather see articles on how millions of productivity users and gamers can get the best bang for buck over the next three years and with what hardware combos.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    This CPU will be fast for games with a somewhat manageable power draw, but heavily threaded workloads... Holy cow... You'll need all the tricks in the cooling book (check der8auer how he got a 13900K to 6.1Ghz) to make it work reasonably temps-wise.

    I guess the only caveat from the Intel fanguard is undervolting, but... Isn't this a "golden sample" ad undervolting should be moot, no? Also, lowering the TDP of this also seems moot and counterproductive, no? If you buy this CPU for games alone, then I'll have to question your sanity given the performance differences with lower priced SKUs.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    This sure reeks of pentium 4 emergency edition energy
    Reply
  • Elusive Ruse
    -Fran- said:
    This CPU will be fast for games with a somewhat manageable power draw, but heavily threaded workloads... Holy cow... You'll need all the tricks in the cooling book (check der8auer how he got a 13900K to 6.1Ghz) to make it work reasonably temps-wise.

    I guess the only caveat from the Intel fanguard is undervolting, but... Isn't this a "golden sample" ad undervolting should be moot, no? Also, lowering the TDP of this also seems moot and counterproductive, no? If you buy this CPU for games alone, then I'll have to question your sanity given the performance differences with lower priced SKUs.

    Regards.
    Yea, this is just Intel flexing BS, they gonna make a bunch of money selling it to XOC peeps and have ppl write about how their CPU can get close to 6.0 GHz for a few seconds.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    Meanwhile, millions of sensible gamers will buy a processor like the 13400/7600 that's £200, meets their needs, plays everything at a realistic refresh rate for the next few years

    Even an i3 12100 can run almost anything at 60 fps in 1080p. It's a beast of a CPU.

    The number of games actually needing faster hardware is dwindling fast. Most developers have no desire to spend hundreds of thousands of $ on motion capture, 4k textures and raytracing stupid puddles of water.
    Reply