Thanks to the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark, several performance tests of a Intel Core i9-13900 (not K), processor in the form of an engineering sample where the 8 high performance cores were performed at a low frequency of 3.75GHz while the 16 low-power cores energy reached 2.76GHz. The high performance cores were accompanied by 16 MB of L2 cache, the low power ones with 16 MB and for all of them we have 36 MB of L3 cache, which implies a 20% increase compared to the best processor we can find at Alder Lake.
In addition to these architectural improvements, a refined manufacturing process will be employed in the form of Intel 7+and of course, native support for faster DDR5 RAM, from Alder Lake’s current 4800MHz to 5600MHz.
In terms of performance, in ALU/FPU tests, the Raptor Lake processor (Intel Core i9-13900) presented 33-49% performance improvement over Alder Lake despite its remarkably low operating frequencies. In heavy workloads such as vectoring/SIMD, the performance improvement is only 5-8%. Here there is noticeable room for improvement for the frequencies, but it is clear that in this aspect the very low power cores do not make their performance stand out.
For workloads that don’t use SIMD code but require a lot of threads and therefore “real” cores, Raptor Lake will perform much better than Alder Lake; for example, virtualization of low-computing workloads; there are now 32 total threads (like AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X) and 24 real cores (compared to 16 on AMD).
If your vectored/SIMD workloads have been insufficient on Alder Lake, Raptor Lake won’t perform much better and that shouldn’t come as a surprise; Raptor Lake is not a workstation processor with two SIMD AVX512 units (eg “Sapphire Rapids”) – but it can still outperform the old Rocket Lake with AVX512 in many SIMD workloads. AMD’s Zen4 architecture with AVX512 will likely outperform it by far.
Interestingly, with room for 2 more clusters, Intel opted for 8 more Atom cores and not 2 more Big Cores (10C+ 8c/28H). Or maybe just 12 big cores supporting AVX512 (12C/24T like the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X) to battle Zen4.
If you’ve already upgraded to Socket 1700 for new technologies (DDR5, PCle 5.0, Thunderbolt/USB 4.0, etc.) and want more, then Raptor Lake is a decent but not essential upgrade. As the next Meteor Lake CPUs will use a different socket, Raptor Lake doesn’t have much upgrade potential.