Today, we are taking a look at a range of Z790 motherboards that are optimized for Intel's brand new 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs that come with an enhanced 10nm ESF  (officially the Intel 7 process, which is comparable to TSMC 7nm) process node, offering higher performance & clock speeds.

Just like the 12th Gen Alder Lake, the 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs also feature a plethora of updates including a brand new hybrid architecture with big.SMALL design that features Raptor Cove as p- cores and Gracemont.

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The company has largely been stagnant in the consumer desktop space. The main reason for this stagnation has been Intel's reliance on its 14nm process node and Skylake architecture which has served the desktop space since 2015 up till 2020 (10th Generation Comet Lake) while Intel's 10nm process dilemmas and yields couldn't keep up with Skylake in mainstream desktop space. To build up its 10nm inventory for a mass consumer launch, Intel did release an intermediate platform, the Z590, and the respective 11th Gen Rocket Lake lineup with a new architecture but limited to just 8 cores due to power scaling and inefficiency on the 14nm process node.

However, since the launch of 12th Gen Alder Lake, Intel has managed to turn the tide somewhat & is now offering the best value proposition in the CPU segment. Currently, Intel's Core i3, Core i5 & Core i7 lineup is in a very dominant position when it comes to price to performance versus the AMD Ryzen 5000 and even the Ryzen 7000 CPUs but with the 13th Gen Raptor Lake lineup, Intel is once again changing the game, offering even higher performance and far better value than before.

There are still some places where AMD shows its strengths and that's largely the efficiency department but the more mainstream Intel hybrid options manage to close the efficiency gap effectively, especially when it comes to gaming and standard workloads. It's not a battle of CPU performance anymore as much as it is a battle of pricing and the one major advantage that Intel buyers have is the option to select between DDR5 and DDR4 memory whereas AMD Ryzen 7000 users are stuck with only DDR5 options.

While DDR5 is the future, the new standard currently doesn't make much sense for the budget and mainstream gaming segment hence why many AMD Ryzen 5000 users are reluctant to upgrade and are probably gonna go two routes, either stick with their current platform or go Intel as they are the budget king at the moment.

So this year, Intel has decided to launch a second hybrid architecture in the form of its 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPU lineup. It is more or less an update to the existing 12th Gen CPUs but offers a whole lot more in the form of cores, threads, cache, clocks, and better I/O capabilities. Following are the main features of the lineup:

Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake Desktop CPUs Features:

  • Up To 24 Cores & 32 Threads
  • Brand New Raptor Cove CPU Cores (Higher P-Core IPC)
  • Based on 10nm ESF 'Intel 7' process node
  • Up To 6.0 GHz clock speeds (expected)
  • Double The E-Cores on certain variants
  • Increased Cache for both P-Cores & E-Cores
  • Supported on existing LGA 1700 motherboards
  • New Z790, H770, and B760 motherboards
  • Up To 28 PCIe Lanes (PCH Gen 4 + Gen 3)
  • Up To 28 PCIe Lanes (CPU Gen 5 x16 + Gen 4 x12)
  • Dual-Channel DDR5-5600 Memory Support
  • 20 PCIe Gen 5 Lanes
  • Enhanced Overclocking Features
  • 125W PL1 TDP (Flagship SKUs)
  • AI PCIe M.2 Technology
  • Q4 2022 Launch

For this review, I'll be putting the Core i9-13900K to test on four Z790 motherboards, the MSI MEG Z790 ACE, the ASRock Z790 Taichi Carrara, the ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WIFI & the Gigabyte Z790 AERO G.

Products mentioned in this post

DOOM Eternal
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Metro Exodus
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