Question Intel K vs. non-K CPUs

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
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As I understand it, if I want the most capable CPU possible from Intel at stock, I'd have to get a K series (with unlocked multiplier), even if I'm not planning on overclocking. Is this correct?

(I suppose what I'm asking is if the base frequency of, for example, a 13900 being much lower than a 13900K really matters when their turbo clock is almost the same.)

As per this article:

AnandTechCores
P+E/T
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
L3 Cache
(MB)
IGPBase
W
Turbo
W
i9-13900K8+16/32330058002200430036770125253
i9-139008+16/3220005600150042003677065219
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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Define capable.

I got a Core i5-12400 for a friend. It ran XMP RAM kit on an ASUS H610M mobo at the rated DDR4-3200 speed. It was quite a capable CPU.

Just tested a Core i5-12500 Dell office PC yesterday. It wasn't bad at all.
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
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48
91
I said most capable, as in most powerful offering. I don't know if this makes sense though.

Like, I know that for certain games for example, more cores doesn't = better, but less cores with higher clocks does. But I just meant, for purposes of this question, "Intel's beefiest all-around CPU offering".
 
Jul 27, 2020
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The extra power of a K CPU doesn't come for free. It needs more electricity and it will generate more heat.

Generally, the 13600K should be good enough for most gamers.
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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"Intel's beefiest all-around CPU offering".
13900K may have higher quality binned silicon. It may certainly boost a lot higher. But again, it will cost you in terms of thermals and power usage. You need a really good heatsink and good ventilated case to tame that heat. Otherwise, the CPU will only boost until the temperature exceeds the safe limit and then it will throttle, leading to stuttering.
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
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The extra power of a K CPU doesn't come for free. It needs more electricity and it will generate more heat.

Generally, the 13600K should be good enough for most gamers.
I'm aware, but I made the original post on a purely academic/understanding the material basis, as well as understanding the product naming jargon Intel is using nowadays.

That's why I compared two of the same CPU (K versus non-K).

I guess to go off what you're saying: assuming I'm building a gaming-only rig, and am set on Intel (neither of which are true), would a 13600 be considerably less powerful than a 13600K at stock?

AnandTechCores
P+E/T
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
L3 Cache
(MB)
IGPBase
W
Turbo
W
i5-13600K6+8/20350051002600390024770125181
i5-136006+8/2027005000200037002477065154

I guess what I'm asking is: does the lower frequency of the P-cores really matter when the turbo clock is only 100 MHz less?

I'm really not up to speed with modern day CPUs, so these questions might be a bit silly.

EDIT: and I'd probably be interested in an F CPU, since I don't want or need an IGP.
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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13600 can't get enough power to get a higher all core boost. It will be significantly less capable of a multicore workload crunching CPU than the 13600K.

However, single threaded workloads you may not feel that much difference between the two.

Bottomline: 13600 is easier to cool and gives you decent performance in games. 13600K when you don't care about your power bill and just want the fastest 20 thread Intel CPU period.
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
2,109
48
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Does lower base wattage (W) translate to lower heat output at idle? Or is it only reliable as a measure of power consumption?

Probably too general of a question, but I figured I'd ask anyway.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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I don't have the answer to that. I think it depends on the silicon quality. Some CPUs may be more leakier than others. Leaky CPUs generate more heat.

Leaky means having transistors that need more voltage to be stable at a certain frequency. More voltage increases heat.

The CPUs that are going to have best low power characteristics are the mobile and T series.
 

Heartbreaker

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2006
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As I understand it, if I want the most capable CPU possible from Intel at stock, I'd have to get a K series (with unlocked multiplier), even if I'm not planning on overclocking. Is this correct?

(I suppose what I'm asking is if the base frequency of, for example, a 13900 being much lower than a 13900K really matters when their turbo clock is almost the same.)

As per this article:

AnandTechCores
P+E/T
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
L3 Cache
(MB)
IGPBase
W
Turbo
W
i9-13900K8+16/32330058002200430036770125253
i9-139008+16/3220005600150042003677065219


Base frequency is kind of meaningless.

The biggest difference in the real world, will be in "All Core Turbo". Info that Intel doesn't supply. :(
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Part of me just wants to go for a 13900K(F) anyway, but it's probably wasteful. :p
It may give you a year or two of extra longevity, if you don't upgrade that often. The extra processing power does translate to a longer enjoyable computing experience. I still enjoy the i7-4770 at work. The i5-2500? It can feel pretty slow, especially in Excel.
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
2,109
48
91
It may give you a year or two of extra longevity, if you don't upgrade that often. The extra processing power does translate to a longer enjoyable computing experience. I still enjoy the i7-4770 at my work. The i5-2500? It can feel pretty slow, especially in Excel.
That's a huge reason I'm considering going big when I do build a new rig, as I use my systems for a very long time (I'm still using my i5-3570 rig, which is what I'll be upgrading from).
 
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That's a huge reason I'm considering going big when I do build a new rig, as I use my systems for a very long time (I'm still using my i5-3570 rig, which is what I'll be upgrading from).
OK but you would then need to think really hard about the case ventilation and whether to go with a HUGE heatsink or a capable AIO liquid cooler, preferably 360mm or more. I mean, it would bug me if I have this expensive CPU and there's still some performance left on the table coz the cooling solution isn't the best.
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
2,109
48
91
OK but you would then need to think really hard about the case ventilation and whether to go with a HUGE heatsink or a capable AIO liquid cooler, preferably 360mm or more.
Indeed.

I also need to look at case clearances and such (I want to use my old PC case if at all possible). Just this fact alone might limit me to 13600K(F) or something (I'm almost certain I'm getting a regular but beefy HSF).
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Indeed.

I also need to look at case clearances and such (I want to use my old PC case if at all possible). Just this fact alone might limit me to 13600K(F) or something (I'm almost certain I'm getting a regular HSF).
Try to get a Z790 or B760 mobo. Intel may re-use the same socket for a refreshed line of CPUs in late 2023. They may let x700 series chipset owners enjoy an upgrade but probably not x600 series. It would be too much to expect Intel to be that generous. Even the x700 series upgrade path is still speculation.
 

moinmoin

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2017
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One aspect to keep in mind when comparing K versus non-K that Intel only recently segmented is memory overclocking. Intel chips scale well with higher memory frequencies and optimized timings. But non-K chips appear to be limited in that since Alder Lake.
 

Harry_Wild

Senior member
Dec 14, 2012
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It boil down to the use you are going to use it for! If you are like me, using you PC for internet surfing, watching streaming videos, email and similar general purpose uses, you looking a single thread performance figures! The 13400-13600 are top tier non K CPUs. K gives you like 15% more single thread performance but waste almost 80% more wattage in the process.
 
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lopri

Elite Member
Jul 27, 2002
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Their performance in actual use is very similar. Sometimes you gotta wonder why they are separate products to begin with. If you are not overclocking just get one that is cheaper in your budget.

If overclocking is involved, note that Intel does enforce overclocking limitation unlike AMD. Not just by locking multipliers, but they also lock certain voltages out of factory. It also affects memory as well because memory controller is part of the CPU and if memory controller is not getting enough juice it won't clock memory high.

I'd get a K-suffixed one if the price difference is $30 or so. 13600K is a great CPU as others have said. Below that, frankly only thing worth getting from Intel is 12400. If 13700 non-K is close to 13600K in price, then that'd be a good deal, too. But that may not happen any time soon.

Edit: Technically there is no difference between the two (K and non-K), except for the aforementioned overclocking features. My guess is it's simply a business model. Raise the hype up with K models then release non-K models so that OEMs can build systems with the same numbers while at the same time not having to worry about excessive power/heat. That's why their base clocks are so low. If you are building for yourself, there is no reason to get a non-K version unless there is a substantial saving.
 
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