Intel Core i9-13900KS Review: Is The +0.2 GHz For $100 More Worth It?

The new Intel Core i9-13900KS is very much like the 12900KS and 9900KS that came before it – this is a ‘special edition’ CPU that comes mildly overclocked out of the box. It surely is binned silicon, but for the most part, that simply means it’s a whisker faster and a boatload more expensive. 

How much faster and how much more expensive, that’s what you will find out by reading this post till the end. 

Intel Core i9-13900KS Release Date & Price

The Intel Core i9-13900KS is one of the upgraded versions of the original Intel 13th Generation Core i9-13900K. While the latter came out last year around September 2022, the 13900KS launched on January 2023. 

However, do keep in mind that the 13900KS is a “Special Edition” variant of the original 13900K. Therefore, its production will be limited, being sold in only a few countries, unlike the 13900K. This status as a “Limited Edition” makes the i9-13900KS price skyrocket to $699 in US markets. 

Intel Core i9-13900KS Specifications

The main specifications of the Intel Core i9-13900KS are:

Number of Cores24
Number of Threads32
Clock Speed (Base)3.2 GHz
Clock Speed (Boost/Max)6 GHz
Cache (l2 + L3)68 MB (32 MB +36 MB)
ArchitectureRaptor Lake-S
Manufacturing Process10 nm
MemoryDDR5 5600
Motherboard SocketIntel LGA 1700
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD 770
Integrated Graphics Speed1.6 GHz
TDP (Thermal Design Power)253 Watts – 320 Watts

As per its specifications above, you can clearly tell that this processor has better specs than the Ryzen 5 7600X and the i5-11600K as well.

Intel Core i9-13900KS Benchmarks & Performance

Intel Core i9-13900KS Benchmarks & Performance

The best way to test the power of any computer processor or graphics card is by running various benchmarking tests. This is because, unlike simply running apps and games, benchmarking tools provide numbers to indicate their performance. This helps me review products easily and compare them with competitors.

Here are the base specifications of the test computer setup I used for this review:

Processor13th Generation Intel Core i9-13900KS
Graphics CardNVIDIA RTX 3080 10 GB
Storage512 GB SSD
MotherboardMSI MPG Z790 Carbon WiFi

Note: I also used other competing processors for this review, like the i9-13900K, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, and the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. The Intel Core i7-13700K also comes as a close competitor, but I have not directly compared it with this processor. However, it’s not compared with super processors like the Alienware Area51 Threadripper.

Similarly, my Intel Core i9-13900KS review will consist of various benchmarking tests, which are as follows:

Cinebench R23 Test (Both Multi & Single Thread Tests)

Cinebench R23 Test

The Cinbench R23 test provides a clearer depiction of how stable a CPU remains while handling high-end 3D tasks and how well its cooling solutions work while doing so. Using this tool, I can calculate both the single and multi-threaded performance of the i3 13900KS

Here, the single-threaded cores relate to the processor’s performance regarding lighter tasks like web browsing, office tasks, and playing videos. However, multiple threads get used when conducting more intensive tasks like gaming, 3D Modeling, and video editing.

Have a look at how well this processor performs compared to competitors:

ProcessorSingle-Threaded ScoreMulti-Threaded Score
Intel Core i3-13900KS2,36440,799
Intel Core i3-13900K2,25938,821
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X2,02137,014
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D2,06736,433

From the Cinebench R23 scores above, you can see that the i3-13900KS outperforms both its AMD rivals – the Ryzen 9 7950X and the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. However, the performance is not as high as expected, considering this is a 6 GHz processor. Therefore, it’s considerably higher than the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, while the now ancient AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is nowhere close to it. 

PugetBench Tests Tests (Adobe Creative Suite)

PugetBench Tests Tests

One of the main reasons why people want to shift to using a high-speed processor is for graphical design. While you might expect that graphic designing will lean more on the power of the GPU, it’s quite the opposite. Programs like the Adobe Creative suite rely more on the rendering power of the processor.

To do so, the  PugetBench benchmarking app is the best for this task. Here’s the PugetBecnh score of the Intel Core i9-13900KS, compared with its competitors:

ProcessorAdobe PhotoshopAdobe Premiere Pro
Intel Core i3-13900KS1,4851,302
Intel Core i3-13900K1,4891,189
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X1,3251,209
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D1,2661,152

Here, we see that when it comes to using Adobe Photoshop, a relatively less resource-intensive task, 6 Ghz means nothing. This is because the 5.8 GHz i3-13900K performs slightly better here. When I used Photoshop normally, it ran smoothly like silk, rendering everything on the screen perfectly. 

However, when it comes to video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro, the i9-13900KS is a bit better. This is largely due to it having more rendering threads. However, rendering a 4k minute video took me almost identical times on both CPUs, while editing the video on the timeline felt super smooth.

Blender 2.93 Test (Image Rendering Time)

Blender 2.93 Test

When it comes to 3D modeling and animation, Blender is one of the best free tools available on the market. Therefore, I asked my friend to send me her work, which was a pretty complex 3D model she made.

When I tried to render it from my system, here were the results:

ProcessorImage Rendering (Time In Seconds)
Intel Core i3-13900KS66
Intel Core i3-13900K63
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X72
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D70

Again, I saw that the i9 13900K performs better here than the i9-13900KS. My guess is that the use of multiple CPUs makes the processor heat up significantly, lowering performance.

Unreal Engine 5 Game Development Test

Unreal Engine 5 Game Development Test

Unreal Engine 5 is one of the best video game development tools right now. However, using it to create amazing video games like the upcoming Black Myth: Wukong proves what a powerhouse of a development tool it is. 

However, all UE 5 development processes follow a similar process of building, cooking, and packaging. This involves asset optimization, compilation, and compression. The entire process takes a lot of power to run. 

Since I am no expert, I called in my friend to do this test for me. To render a small scene, this is the times:

ProcessorRendering Time (In Seconds)
Intel Core i3-13900KS66.5
Intel Core i3-13900K72.7
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X67.9
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D67.9

Here, the i3-13900KS is the clear winner. However, you can see that the Ryzen processors actually swing out powerfully here compared to the original i9-13900K. 

Visual Studio C++ Software Development Test

Similar to game development on UE 5, Windows software development on Visual Studio 2022 C++ is no slouch either. Again, my friend helped me out here.

ProcessorDeploy Time (In Seconds)
Intel Core i3-13900KS43.6
Intel Core i3-13900K44.1
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X44.8
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D46.8

Again, the i3-13900KS is the clear winner here.

Gaming Tests

Now, here comes my favorite test to test – gaming performance.

As usual, I tested all four of these processors. Here are the frames that I got, playing all of these titles at 1080p max settings with RTX turned on and DLSS turned off:

Gamesi3-13900KSi3-13900KRyzen 9 7950XRyzen 9 7950X3D
Cyberpunk 2077232228237235
Red Dead Redemption 2232228237235
A Plague Tale: Requiem232228237235
Hitman 3232228237235
Horizon: Zero Dawn208232228237

As you can see here, the i3-9300KS does provide amazing frames, especially when paired with high-end GPUs like the NVIDIA RTX 3080. However, it’s not meant to be a gaming processor and is meant to be used for professional rendering work. However, Ryzen processors seem to have an edge in gaming overall. 

Final Verdict: Is The Intel Core  i9-13900KS Worth Buying In 2023?

While the Intel Core i9-13900KS is one of the fastest processors around with a 6GHz clock speed, it’s not worth buying for most people. Most users will be content using the i9-13900K for gaming and other productive work. 

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Debamalya Mukherjee

Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than three years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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      Debamalya Mukherjee

      Debamalya Mukherjee

      Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than three years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.