A Chinese tech site has managed to get its hands on an Intel Engineering Sample, which it alleges matches the key specifications of the upcoming Intel Raptor Lake Core i9-13900. However, this particular engineering sample (ES) is a bit of a turtle concerning clock speeds. Thus, to get some meaningful data out of this hardware, EXP Review compared the ES against an Intel Alder Lake Core i9-12900K at iso-frequencies – including setting a very low base clock of just 1.4 GHz. In its artificially stunted tests, it is interesting to learn that the Raptor Lake (RPL) chip is about 20% faster than Alder Lake (ADL) across many multi-threaded tests. This isn't the first time Raptor Lake has been rumored to be roughly 20% faster than the previous gen.
Before going on to look over some benchmark scores, please check out the CPU-Z comparisons between the EXP Review acquired engineering sample (left) and the known quantity, the Core i9-12900K (right). The critical advances for Raptor Lake seen in this comparison are a 25% increase in thread count and worthwhile additions to L2 and L3 cache quantities. EXP Review thinks the engineering sample is the Core i9-13900, as the processor is rumored to have 8 performance cores and 16 efficiency cores like this one. That is double the number of efficiency cores compared to its Alder Lake predecessor. Another advance is expected with a move from Golden Cove to Raptor Cove performance cores.
EXP Review's results are pretty eye-opening, even given the artificial situation and setup necessary for a 'fair' comparison. The tester notes that even at iso-frequencies, there are several drawbacks for the Raptor Lake-powered system. First, this ES is a very early sample with stepping of 0 and revision of A0. Moreover, the ES is planted in a current-gen Z690 motherboard with no explicit support. It would therefore be understandable for the upcoming Intel chip to be a relatively poor performer.
EXP Review completed a wide range of tests with the suspected Intel Core i9-13900 against the Core i9-12900K. The CPUs were swapped in and out of a Z690 motherboard with G.Skill DDR5-5200 16GBx2 memory and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition graphics card. As mentioned in the intro, the Raptor Lake-ES romped home with convincing wins of about 20% on average in multi-threaded non-gaming tests. In these tests, it pulled ahead pretty convincingly in single-threaded tests too. Commonly used benchmarks and apps used to assess CPU performance were rolled out here, including Sandra 2021, 7-Zip, X265, POV-Ray, Blender and Cinebench. Look at some of the sample charts we screen-grabbed and you can see the convincing lead of the suspected Intel Core i9-13900.
Gaming was a different story, with nothing better than a 9% lead enjoyed by the Raptor Lake-based system. Most of the time, the Raptor Lake advantage was just 2 or 3% - within the margin of error. The extra threads offered by the Raptor Lake-ES chip and the boosted caches aren't as warmly welcomed by games as in productivity apps and scientific benchmarks.
Raptor Lake is rumored to feature even faster clocks than what's possible with the Alder Lake generation. In addition, new advanced overclocking modes and other refinements could allow Intel to crow about the first 6 GHz consumer CPU. Thus there is a lot to look forward to with the advent of Raptor Lake CPUs and 700 Series chipsets, expected to arrive in Q4 this year. Those chips will face off with AMD's Ryzen 7000 when it arrives in the Fall.