Intel’s new Core i5-14600K is no big generational leap, as you can read in our Core i5-14600K review. No one expected this to happen with Intel’s 13th generation CPU which is already one of the best processors. The bigger question is whether it’s worth buying the previous generation Core i5-13600K, given that both are readily available at the same price.
I’ve tested both chips extensively in productivity and gaming scenarios. The Core i5-14600K brings some modest improvements over its previous-generation counterpart, but those looking to stretch their dollars far are better off sticking with the Core i5-13600K.
Pricing and Availability
The Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K are both readily available at retailers, and unlike the Core i9-14900K and Core i9-13900K, there is only a small difference in price. The new Core i5-14600K will run you $340 at most retailers, but we’ve seen some prices drop as low as $330 and others as high as around $350. It looks like the price is stable at $340 for at least the next few months.
The Core i5-13600K technically retails for $330, but retailers already have it priced at $309. The price is likely to continue falling over the next several months. For example, the Core i5-12600K cost about the same a year ago, and now you can buy it for around $215. I suspect the price of the Core i5-13600K will drop to around $280 in the coming months.
These are the prices for K-series parts, but Intel also offers a KF version. These offer similar performance, and are unlocked for overclocking, but lack integrated graphics. This brings the price down to about $30 more for each part.
The Core i5-14600KF is available for $312, while the Core i5-13600KF is available for $286. Although the price difference for the KF parts is close – about $30 across both chips – the fact that the Core i5-13600KF is available for less than $300 is a big deal. As prices fall, it is likely to reach $250 soon.
Based on the specifications it is easy to confuse the Core i5-14600K and Core i5-13600K as they are so similar. Apart from the 100 MHz boost in efficient-core clock speed, both processors come with exactly the same number of cores, the same amount of cache, and the same boost clock speed. They are both built on the Intel 7 process, so there are no major architectural changes here.
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Intel did Some? With a Core i5-14600K, as I’ll see in my benchmarks below. However, the improvements compared to the Core i5-13600K are minor. I would have liked to see some additional cache to compete with AMD’s 3D V-Cache processors, as modern 3D V-Cache chips are still clearly the leader in gaming performance.
The specifics don’t matter; Performs. Unfortunately, the Core i5-14600K doesn’t perform well in all situations. Starting with a high-level look at Cinebench’s multi-core test, the Core i5-13600K actually held a slight lead. Keep in mind, that’s only a 1.7% gain, but any lead for the last-generation chip isn’t good news for Intel’s latest and greatest.
The Core i5-14600K managed to stay ahead in single-core performance, but only by an irrelevant 1.25%. You can change the names of these processors on any chart and the conclusion will be no different. In Cinebench, the Core i5-13600K and Core i5-14600K show similar performance.
Other apps have some very small benefits. As you can see in Blender and Handbrake, the Core i5-14600K is just a hair faster in its stock configuration. These leads aren’t big enough to really matter, as you can get better performance in the Core i5-13600K with a modest overclock, but they at least show Intel Some? With its 14th generation chips.
The biggest win for the Core i5-14600K was in 7-Zip. The new chip outperformed the 13th generation overall by about 6% due to better compression performance. What this chart doesn’t show, however, is the competition from AMD. Intel has clearly outpaced AMD in 7-zip for the past several generations, and the improvements brought by the Core i5-14600K bring Intel on par.
Another win for the Core i5-14600K was in Jetstream 2. This browser-based benchmark revealed that the 14th generation chip can take about a 14% lead in demanding browser applications.
However, Y-Cruncher brings Chip back to Earth. Overall this is a good demonstration of what you should expect from the Core i5-14600K. Single-core performance is basically the same, while multi-core performance is ahead by about 5%. Some apps definitely scale higher, but others don’t seem to make any difference.
Gaming is where the Core i5-14600K makes the biggest strides. In 3DMark Time Spy’s CPU scores, the Core i5-14600K showed a 10% increase over the Core i5-13600K. However, this is a bit optimistic for overall gaming performance.
If you look at the analysis of real games, both chips performed equally red dead redemption 2 And Gears Strategy. There was a solid improvement of 10% far cry 6 And there was a huge jump of 12% f1 22, However, balancing the scales.
It’s important to note that as you increase quality settings and resolution, your graphics card will play a much bigger role in gaming performance. The Core i5-14600K is definitely faster, but there are games where it won’t show basically any advantage over the older part. And, as you increase the resolution, the advantage we see at 1080p will start to disappear.
power and efficiency
The Core i5-14600K brings some performance improvements, no matter how minor they are. However, this comes at the cost of power draw. Across the suite of games I tested, the Core i5-14600K gained about 15% more power on average. This is just looking at gaming. In more CPU-intensive tasks, the actual wattage will be much higher.
This makes both chips post similar efficiency numbers. The chart above is once again focused on gaming, but it’s examining the number of frames achieved on average per 10 watts by the CPU. This shows that the advantage achieved by the Core i5-14600K is almost entirely due to the increased power draw, suggesting that the Core i5-13600K can close the gap with overclocking.
Which one should you choose?
Intel’s 14th generation desktop processors have been a bit of a disappointment, and the Core i5-14600K continues that trend. However, the current price works in favor of the Core i5-14600K. It’s only $20 to $30 more expensive right now, so people interested in the Core i5-13600K can spend a little extra and get the new chip.
However, I highly doubt things will remain this way for long. As we move towards the end of the year, the price of the Core i5-13600K is likely to drop sharply, creating an even greater gap between it and the Core i5-14600K. If the price difference is more than $30 – even a $30 price difference is questionable – then you should stick with the Core i5-13600K. You can put that extra money into a good CPU cooler, and possibly make up the performance difference with minor overclocking.