Intel's 13th Generation Raptor Lake processors are some of the best CPUs for gaming. There's no doubt about it. However, have you ever wondered which chips overclock the best? German publication Igor's Lab (opens in new tab) has tested up to 480 Raptor Lake processors and published the binning data on the silicon quality you can expect from each processor tier.
Intel does its bit of binning before sending the Raptor Lake processors off to the retail market. During production, the chipmaker evaluates each chip and implants a unique V/F curve into each one of them.
The V/F curve houses the data for each core regarding the minimum voltage corresponding to each frequency. The V/F curve, different for each SKU, tells the motherboard how much voltage is needed for a particular frequency. Some motherboard manufacturers, such as Asus, utilize these V/F curves to determine the quality of the processor and the chip's overclocking potential.
Asus built a feature into the brand's ROG Maximus-and Strix-branded motherboards called Silicon Prediction (SP), which uses a mathematical formula to assess silicon quality based on the processor's V/F curve. It results in a simple number that tells you how good the processor is.
Logically, the higher the number the better since it correlates to a better processor. Igor's Lab's methodology is simple. The news outlet sticks the Raptor Lake processor inside the Maximus Z790 Hero, boots up the system, goes inside the BIOS, and records the SP value for each sample.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Average SP||Median SP||Best SP||Worst SP||CPUs Tested|
The data shows that the Core i9 models contain the best quality silicon out of all the Raptor Lake K-series chips. The Core i9-13900KF was the best overclocker, with an average SP of 101.1 out of 164 tested samples. Even the worst Core i9-13900KF had a score of 91 points. The Core i9-13900K, which comes with the iGPU, was just a hairline behind the KF counterpart. The processor had an average SP of 99.6 points, less than 2% behind the Core i9-13900KF. What’s interesting, though, is that the Core i9-13900K had the best SP score out of the lot, with 114 points.
The Core i7-13700K and Core i7-13700KF were pretty close regarding silicon quality. The delta between the two average SPs was less than 1%. Similar to the case of the Core i9-13900K and Core i9-13900KF, the KF variant of the Core i7-13700K has a slight edge regarding overclocking.
When it comes to the Core i5-13600K and Core i5-13600KF, it was the complete opposite. The regular K-series model had a higher average SP (81.8) when compared to the KF model (78.5). So we’re looking at a 4% difference. Surprisingly, the Core i5-13600KF also had the worst sample out of all the tested Raptor Lake parts, with a particular sample scoring just 58 points.
For the average consumer, silicon quality isn’t a big selling point since you typically pick up a processor according to your needs. For example, if you need integrated graphics, you’d buy a $599 Core i9-13900K, or if you don’t want the iGPU, the Core i9-13900KF sells for $574, saving you $25 that you can put into another component for your build. However, for serious enthusiasts, the Core i9-13900KF has greater chances of hitting a higher overclock, such as 6 GHz, like Intel’s soon-to-be-released Core i9-13900KS, which will retail for $699.