The Intel Core i9 13900KS is a monstrous chip that is simply, for the lack of better terms, a cherry-picked 13900K but it trades power efficiency on an already power-hungry chip for even more juice. For an RRP of $699, it falls into the same enthusiast tier that the Core i9 13900K used to head but takes the crown and multiple benchmarks in tow with a maximum turbo frequency of 6Ghz out of the gate.
What is essentially a better binned 13900K does however increase its power draw to as much as 320W as intel seeks to retain its performance crown on the eve of AMD’s 7000 series X3D launches that would finally see the 13900K get serious competition in a market it has had free reign in of late. The 320 watt mode is essentially built on top of what the 13900K already offers with a Processor Base Power (PBP) rating of 125W and a Maximum Turbo Power (MTP) rating of 253W. If AMD’s touted numbers are a clue, it has the 13900K in its crosshairs and does decimate it considerably in the hotly-contested esports segment. That being said, AMD has in the past been known to handpick results that favor its CPU/GPU’s performance results while not being a general overview of average performance across multiple titles.
Despite pushing into overdrive to achieve its lofty goals of a stable overclock that sees the CPU push well past 6Ghz, the performance gains that numerous online benchmarks exhibit for real-world gaming performance see it take the lead marginally vs the 13900K, often with 1-5% gains in general that tends to push this a bit further down the recommendations line even in the enthusiast-tier category even as the processor hogs in excess of 320W to stay within range of its 6Ghz bragging rights. The 13900KS is not a mainstream CPU however and its moniker seems to agree with that; the KS lineup is generally a refresh of an existing processor but with better binned chips that can be pushed past the limits that plague the rest of the lineup. That means in a nutshell that the average 13900KS is pretty much the lucky-draw pick of other 13900K chips that could not make the cut of being able to push their limits to the 6Ghz threshold. As such, one can not hope for it to be an exception but rather a product that builds onto the already solid lead that Intel’s ex-king of the hill, the 13900k exhibited against the 7000 series Ryzen processor lineup, even if it is marginal.
All in, the Intel Core i9 13900KS is the fastest processor that is available for purchase in stores today but that situation could change fast given that AMD is already gearing up to release its own answer to the Raptor Lake lineup. If they are as impressive an upgrade as the 5800X3D was to the 5800X, Intel has plenty to be worried about. That being said, being priced at the $700 mark (and already being sold for considerably more on eBay by scalpers) the 13900KS is the fastest processor money can buy period – even if it is an extremely hard to recommend product given its unappealing price-point. Some enthusiasts do like paying the premium for bleeding edge tech and the 13900KS is right at the top of the no-holds-bared performance list right now. For the average user, or those that already have a 13900K, the 13900KS should not be on your priority list right now.