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Is the Core i9-13900 CPU Good for Gaming?

Find out if Intel's Core i9-13900 processor is good for gaming based on our evaluation and comparison in terms of core type, core count, frequencies, and cache capacity, along with its overclocking, PCIe, and DDR support.

Is the Core i9-13900 CPU Good for Gaming? Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: May 22, 2023

Written by Kevin Jones

When selecting a CPU for gaming, we have experienced that the most important characteristics are the single-core clock speed (or frequency), number of cores and threads, cache size, and type of memory it supports. Additional considerations like integrated graphics and overclocking needs may also influence your selection.

This article evaluates Intel's Core i9-13900 desktop CPU. We evaluated Intel's Core i9-13900 and compared it to others to determine which provides the best value as a gaming CPU. We shaped our testing methodology to focus on each CPU's attributes rather than solely on benchmarks.

This article helps you make an informed decision by comparing the CPU's attributes, such as the core types, core counts, frequencies, cache capacities, overclocking capabilities, PCIe support, and DDR support. We've examined these attributes for multiple CPUs to help you compare their abilities. By understanding these key factors, you can determine which CPU will best suit your needs and provide the performance you desire.

When selecting a CPU, it's essential to consider your specific needs and use case. For example, most gamers will want to prioritize high clock speeds and single-threaded performance. However, suppose we have additional video editing or rendering needs. In that case, we like to get a CPU with a high core count and multi-core turbo boost frequency.

We investigated the capabilities of multiple AMD and Intel CPUs to compare them objectively. Your CPU selection will ultimately depend on your specific requirements, budget, and priorities. However, by examining the attributes of each CPU, we aim to provide you with the information needed to make an informed decision when choosing a gaming CPU.

Check another CPU:

Is the 13900 Good for Gaming?

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Based on our evaluation of using Intel's Core i9-13900 CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler.

We created this performance assessment based on the following characteristics of the CPU and their relevance to the latest graphics-intense games:

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance
  • 8 Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores allow for excellent performance
  • 2.00 GHz P-core base frequency
  • 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)
  • 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)
  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance
  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance
  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)
  • The 13900 has integrated graphics support, but this performance assessment assumes you will use a graphics card. Integrated graphics support is mediocre or worse with the latest graphics-intense games.
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Performance of the Core i9-13900

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Intel Core i9-13900 TechReviewer

Cores

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 8 Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores allow for excellent performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Learn more about Core Counts below.

Our chart of the  multi-core performance of the Core i9-13900 CPU and other Intel and AMD CPU models. We calculated the performance score as Core Frequency × Number of Cores, with performance improvements per generation and Efficiency cores supporting a fraction of the P-core performance. Our chart of the multi-core performance of the Core i9-13900 CPU and other Intel and AMD CPU models. We calculated the performance score as Core Frequency × Number of Cores, with performance improvements per generation and Efficiency cores supporting a fraction of the P-core performance. TechReviewer

Base Frequency

13900: The 13900 has a 2.00 GHz P-core base frequency, which is the speed before boosting.

Learn more about CPU Clock Speeds below.

Our chart of the max base frequency of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. We based the max base frequency on the max P-core base frequency for Intel 12th Gen and newer CPUs and based it on max base frequency for other CPU models. Our chart of the max base frequency of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. We based the max base frequency on the max P-core base frequency for Intel 12th Gen and newer CPUs and based it on max base frequency for other CPU models. TechReviewer

Single-Core Turbo Frequency

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. You can maintain these frequencies with a high-end cooler.

Learn more about CPU Clock Speeds below.

Our chart of the single-core boost frequency of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. We based the single-core boost frequency on the max single-core boost frequency. Our chart of the single-core boost frequency of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. We based the single-core boost frequency on the max single-core boost frequency. TechReviewer

P-Core Turbo Frequency

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. P-core turbo boost frequencies can be maintained with a high-end cooler.

Learn more about CPU Clock Speeds below.

Our comparison chart of CPU models based on their P-core frequency, which is determined by their maximum P-core boost frequency. Our comparison chart of CPU models based on their P-core frequency, which is determined by their maximum P-core boost frequency. TechReviewer

Overclocking Support

13900: The 13900 CPU's lack of support for overclocking cannot benefit performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Learn more about Overclocking below.

DDR Support

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900 CPU's support for DDR5 with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Learn more about DDR Support below.

PCIe

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900 CPU's support for PCIe 5.0 can be excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games, when using the fastest SSDs and graphics cards.

L3 Cache

13900: Based on our evaluation, the 13900's impressive 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Learn more about Cache Sizes below.

Our chart of the L3 cache capacity of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. Our chart of the L3 cache capacity of the Core i9-13900 CPU compared to other Intel and AMD CPU models. TechReviewer

Is the Cache Size of the 13900 Good for Gaming?

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A CPU's cache is a small amount of memory, close to the CPU cores, containing recently used data.

Games performance can improve as cache size increases, as it will reduce delays when retrieving commonly used game assets from memory.

An L3 cache capacity of at least 20 MB is ideal for game performance.

The Intel Core i9-13900 has an L3 cache capacity of 36 MB.

Based on our evaluation, the 13900's impressive 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Is the Core Count of the 13900 Good for Gaming?

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Increased core counts can improve the performance of games that use them, but most modern games don't benefit from having more than 6–8 cores. We've experienced the best performance by prioritizing a higher single-core boost frequency, then on a higher multi-core boost frequency, rather than focusing on core count alone. Remember that cache sizes often increase along with core counts, so if you want to increase your L3 cache, you may need to get a CPU with more cores.

Intel's Core i9-13900 CPUs have 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 16 Efficiency cores (E-cores) for a total of 24 cores.

The P-cores are comparable to previous generation cores. Running a game will primarily use P-cores.

E-cores are focused on adding additional threads in an energy-efficient manner. They take up much less room on the CPU and generate less heat. However, their smaller cache and minimal interconnect capabilities make them more appropriate for offloading background tasks. E-cores do not support hyper-threading.

Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 8 Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores allow for excellent performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Is the Clock Speed of the 13900 Good for Gaming?

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We've experienced that single-core performance is essential for some games, as many don't take full advantage of multiple cores.

Turbo boost frequencies are only achieved under ideal circumstances. The safest strategy for consistent gaming performance with a basic cooler is to get a higher base clock speed processor. However, with adequate cooling, you may be able to maintain speeds near the max boost frequency.

The 13900 CPU's lack of support for overclocking cannot benefit performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

The 8 Performance cores have a 2.00 GHz base frequency and support a 5.20 GHz max turbo frequency.

The 13900 has a 2.00 GHz P-core base frequency, which is the speed before boosting.

Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. You can maintain these frequencies with a high-end cooler.

Based on our evaluation, the 13900's 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. P-core turbo boost frequencies can be maintained with a high-end cooler.

Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i9-13900, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies.

Is the DDR Support of the 13900 Good for Gaming?

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Based on our evaluation, the 13900 CPU's support for DDR5 with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Faster PC memory can improve game performance and frame rates, but using the fastest RAM may not have as much of an impact as upgrading your CPU and graphics card or adding more RAM.

Learn more about DDR in DDR4 vs. DDR5? Which You Should Buy.

Learn about our recommended RAM for the 13900 in Best RAM for the Intel Core i9-13900 CPU.

Considerations for Choosing a CPU

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Core Count

Intel's Core i9-13900 CPUs have 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 16 Efficiency cores (E-cores) for a total of 24 cores.

We found that, in general, more cores do provide better performance in professional tools and when running multiple applications simultaneously.

Increased core counts can improve the performance of games and professional tools that use them. Most modern games don't benefit from having more than 6–8 cores. Even general apps can benefit from many cores when numerous applications are open simultaneously. Web browsers don't significantly take advantage of multiple cores when loading a single page. However, more CPU cores can improve performance when running demanding web apps in multiple windows.

Intel's 12th generation and newer CPUs have performance cores (P-cores) and efficiency cores (E-cores). The P-cores are comparable to previous generation cores. E-cores are focused on adding additional threads in an energy-efficient manner. They take up much less room on the CPU and generate less heat. However, their smaller cache and minimal interconnect capabilities make them more appropriate for offloading background tasks. E-cores do not support hyper-threading.

CPU Clock Speeds

The Intel Core i9-13900's 8 Performance cores have a 2.00 GHz base frequency and support a 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency. Its 16 Efficiency cores have a 1.50 GHz base frequency and support a 4.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency. The Core i9-13900 has a 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency.

We've experienced that single-core performance is essential for some games, as many don't take full advantage of multiple cores. Similarly, we have experienced that professional tools depend on high single and multi-core turbo frequencies to maximize their processing speed.

Turbo boost frequencies are only achieved under ideal circumstances. However, with adequate cooling, you may be able to maintain speeds near the max boost frequency.

Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i9-13900, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies on the 13900.

Higher vs. Lower Base Frequencies

We've found that lower base clock speeds result in lower power consumption.

A CPU's base frequency refers to the clock speed at which its cores run under normal operating conditions. However, the actual clock speed of the CPU can vary depending on the workload and the system power state.

A lower base frequency can lead to better power savings overall since the clock speed decreases when the load is low, resulting in lower power consumption. However, a CPU may run slower than the base frequency to conserve power or reduce heat generation. For example, modern CPUs use technologies like Intel SpeedStep or AMD Cool'n'Quiet to dynamically adjust the CPU's clock speed based on the system's workload and power state.

A CPU with a lower base frequency may generate less heat under normal operating conditions, enabling it to boost some cores to higher frequencies while remaining within its thermal limits. This lower base frequency results in better performance than a CPU with a higher base frequency, which may not be able to sustain its boost frequency for long periods due to thermal throttling. However, this is mostly only relevant if your system's cooling solution can only partially dissipate the heat produced by all cores being fully boosted.

DDR Support

The 13900 CPU's fastest supported DDR memory type is DDR5, with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz.

You can exceed these stock speeds officially supported by CPUs when overclocking memory, such as with an XMP profile. Motherboard specifications will indicate their supported overclocked-memory speeds. To be able to overclock DDR memory, your motherboard chipset needs to support memory overclocking.

Faster PC memory can improve game and professional tool performance by reducing the time it takes to perform calculations and data operations.

We've experienced that using the quickest RAM may not have as much of an impact as upgrading your CPU and graphics card or adding more RAM.

Learn more about DDR in DDR4 vs. DDR5? Which You Should Buy.

Learn about our recommended RAM for the 13900 in Best RAM for the Intel Core i9-13900 CPU.

Cache Size

The Intel Core i9-13900 has an L3 cache capacity of 36 MB.

A CPU's cache is a small amount of memory, close to the CPU cores, containing recently used data. An L3 cache capacity of at least 20 MB is ideal for games and professional tool performance.

Games and professional tool performance can improve as cache size increases, as it can reduce delays when retrieving commonly used assets from memory. While nearly any task will use a CPU's cache, our research indicates that a large cache becomes less impactful for general PC usage, such as browsing webpages.

Remember that cache sizes often increase with core counts, so if you want to increase your L3 cache, you may need to get a CPU with more cores.

Overclocking

The 13900 does not support overclocking.

Overclocking is mainly relevant for PC gamers who want to maximize their game framerates. CPU overclocking increases frequencies past their default limits. Excellent heat dissipation via fans or another solution is required to maintain system stability while overclocking. While we felt a sense of excitement and anticipation when we pushed the limits of our CPU's performance, it's essential to remember that overclocking comes with the risk of damaging your system components or voiding warranties.

Professional tools can benefit from overclocked frequencies. However, overclocking may introduce some possibility of system instability, which may be less acceptable in business scenarios. We've found out the hard way that losing work due to system instability is a pain.

What Does the Lack of a Suffix in the 13900 Name Mean?

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| N | "N" means it's a bespoke CPU for a company such as Apple. |

The 13900 model name doesn't have an F suffix. Non-F CPUs contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card isn't required if your motherboard includes video-output connectors (e.g., HDMI).

The 13900 model name doesn't have a K suffix. Non-K CPUs can not be overclocked.

Where to Buy the Core i9-13900

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Find the Core i9-13900 on Amazon (affiliate link).

Find the Core i9-13900 at Best Buy.

Find the Core i9-13900 at Newegg.

Learn More About the Intel Core i9-13900

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Other Considerations When Building a PC

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Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles:

A Note From the Authors

Our team is composed of individuals who have a keen interest in technology and a passion for helping others. We strive to provide accurate and helpful information on various technology products and services to empower our readers to make informed decisions.

We understand that the technology industry is constantly evolving, and we strive to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. However, we recognize that there may be occasions when errors or inaccuracies slip through, despite our best efforts.

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