I tested Intel’s Core i5-14600K against its cheaper sibling. Don’t waste your money

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Intel’s caller Core i5-14600K isn’t a monolithic generational leap, arsenic you tin publication successful our Core i5-14600K review. No 1 expected it to beryllium pinch Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs already sitting among nan best processors. The bigger mobility is if it’s worthy buying complete last-gen’s Core i5-13600K considering that some are readily disposable for astir nan aforesaid price.

I’ve tested some chips extensively crossed a scope of productivity and gaming scenarios. The Core i5-14600K brings immoderate insignificant improvements complete its last-gen counterpart, but those looking to agelong their dollar nan furthest are amended disconnected sticking pinch nan Core i5-13600K.

Pricing and availability

Intel Core i5-13600K installed successful a motherboard.An Intel 13th-generation 13600K Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K are some readily disposable astatine retailers, and dissimilar nan Core i9-14900K and Core i9-13900K, there’s only a mini spread successful price. The newer Core i5-14600K will tally you $340 astatine astir retailers, but we’ve seen immoderate prices dip to $330 and others spell up to astir $350. It seems nan value is unchangeable astatine $340, astatine slightest for nan adjacent fewer months.

The Core i5-13600K technically retails for $330, but it’s already marked down astatine retailers to $309. Over nan adjacent respective months, nan value will apt proceed to drop. The Core i5-12600K, for example, was a akin value astir a twelvemonth ago, and you tin prime it up now for astir $215. Over nan coming months, I fishy nan value of nan Core i5-13600K will driblet to astir $280.

Those are nan prices for nan K-series parts, but Intel besides offers KF versions. These connection identical performance, and they’re unlocked for overclocking, but they deficiency integrated graphics. That brings down nan value by astir $30 much for each part.

The Core i5-14600KF is disposable for $312, while nan Core i5-13600KF is disposable for $286. Although nan value quality is adjacent for nan KF parts — astir $30 crossed some chips — nan truth that nan Core i5-13600KF is disposable for nether $300 is simply a large deal. As prices drop, it will apt deed $250 quickly.


Intel Core i5-14600K processor wrong its socket.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s easy to confuse nan Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K based connected nan specs because they’re identical. Outside of a 100MHz boost to nan efficient-core timepiece speed, some processors travel pinch nan nonstop aforesaid number of cores, aforesaid magnitude of cache, and aforesaid boost timepiece speed. They’re besides some built connected nan Intel 7 process, truthful location isn’t a awesome architectural displacement astatine play here.

Core i5-14600K Core i5-13600K
Cores/Threads 14(6+8) / 20 14(6+8) / 20
L3/L2 Cache 24MB / 20MB 24MB / 20MB
Max turbo frequency 5.3GHz 5.3GHz
Base/Turbo power 125W / 181W 125W / 181W
Current price $340 $309

Intel diddo something with nan Core i5-14600K, arsenic I’ll get to successful my benchmarks below. However, nan improvements complete nan Core i5-13600K are minor, astatine best. I would person liked to spot immoderate other cache to compete pinch AMD’s 3D V-Cache processors, arsenic nan modern 3D V-Cache chips still intelligibly return a lead successful gaming performance.


Multi-core capacity for nan Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Specs don’t matter; capacity does. Unfortunately, nan capacity of nan Core i5-14600K doesn’t clasp up good successful each situations. Starting pinch a high-level look astatine Cinebench’s multi-core test, nan Core i5-13600K really took a insignificant lead. It’s only a 1.7% lead, mind you, but immoderate lead for nan last-gen spot isn’t awesome news for Intel’s latest and greatest.

Single-core capacity for nan Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Core i5-14600K managed to lead successful single-core performance, but only by an irrelevant 1.25%. You could switch nan names of these processors connected either floor plan and nan conclusion wouldn’t beryllium immoderate different. In Cinebench, nan Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K show identical performance.

There are immoderate very mini gains successful different apps. As you tin spot successful Blender and Handbrake, nan Core i5-14600K is conscionable a hairsbreadth faster successful its banal configuration. These leads aren’t large capable to genuinely matter, arsenic you tin apt execute amended capacity pinch a insignificant overclock to nan Core i5-13600K, but they astatine slightest show Intel did something with its 14th-gen chips.

7-Zip capacity for nan Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

One of nan bigger wins for nan Core i5-14600K was successful 7-Zip. Better compression capacity led nan newer spot to outpace nan 13th-gen portion by astir 6% overall. What this floor plan doesn’t show, though, is nan title from AMD. Intel has taken a clear backmost spot to AMD successful 7-Zip for nan past respective generations, and nan improvements brought by nan Core i5-14600K simply bring Intel up to par.

Jetstream 2 capacity for nan Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Another triumph for nan Core i5-14600K was successful Jetstream 2. This browser-based benchmark showed that nan 14th-gen spot tin lead by adjacent to 14% successful demanding browser applications.

Intel Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K capacity successful Y-Cruncher.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Y-Cruncher brings nan spot backmost down to Earth, though. It’s a bully showcase of what you should expect pinch nan Core i5-14600K overall. Single-core capacity is fundamentally identical, while multi-core capacity is up by astir 5%. Some apps decidedly standard higher, but others show nary quality astatine all.

Intel Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K capacity successful 3DMark Time Spy.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Gaming is wherever nan Core i5-14600K makes nan biggest strides. In nan CPU people of 3DMark Time Spy, nan Core i5-14600K showed a 10% summation complete nan Core i5-13600K. That’s a spot optimistic for wide gaming performance, however.

Gaming capacity for nan Intel Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you look astatine nan breakdown of existent games, nan 2 chips performed identically successful Red Dead Redemption 2 and Gears Tactics. There was a coagulated 10% betterment in Far Cry 6 and a monolithic 12% jump in F1 22, however, balancing retired nan scales.

It’s important to support successful mind that your graphics card will play a overmuch larger domiciled successful gaming capacity arsenic you summation value settings and resolution. The Core i5-14600K is surely faster, but location are games wherever it will show fundamentally nary use complete nan older part. And, arsenic you bump up nan resolution, nan gains we spot astatine 1080p will commencement to disappear.

Power and efficiency

Intel Core i5-1460K and Core i5-13600K powerfulness draw.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Core i5-14600K brings immoderate capacity improvements, nary matter really insignificant they are. That comes astatine nan costs of powerfulness draw, though. Across nan suite of games I tested, nan Core i5-14600K drew astir 15% much powerfulness connected average. This is conscionable looking astatine gaming. In much CPU-intensive tasks, nan existent wattages will beryllium overmuch higher.

Efficiency successful games for nan Intel Core i5-1300K and Core i5-14600K.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

That leads to some chips posting identical ratio numbers. The floor plan supra focuses connected gaming erstwhile again, but it’s examining nan number of frames nan CPUs achieved connected mean per 10 watts. This shows that nan gains made by nan Core i5-14600K almost solely travel down to accrued powerfulness draw, suggesting nan Core i5-13600K could adjacent nan spread pinch overclocking.

Which should you choose?

Intel’s 14th-gen desktop processors person been a spot of disappointment, and nan Core i5-14600K continues that trend. The existent pricing useful successful favour of nan Core i5-14600K, though. It’s only astir $20 to $30 much costly correct now, truthful those willing successful a Core i5-13600K whitethorn arsenic good walk a small other and get nan newer chip.

I highly uncertainty things will enactment this measurement for long, though. As we caput toward nan extremity of nan year, nan Core i5-13600K’s value will apt diminution sharply, putting an moreover wider spread betwixt it and nan Core i5-14600K. If nan spread successful value is thing complete $30 — moreover a $30 value quality is questionable — you should instrumentality pinch nan Core i5-13600K. You tin put that other money into a nicer CPU cooler, and apt dress up nan capacity spread pinch insignificant overclocking.

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