Huge CPU Binning Test Compares Intel's Core i9-14900K Raptor Lake Refresh To 13900KS

Intel 14th Gen Core i9 news
The Core i9-14900K and Core i9-13900KS are essentially the same CPU, featuring practically identical stock frequencies, but for overclocking it wasn't clear which one would be better. For such highly clocked CPUs, binning is the deciding factor, and although the 14900K is newer, it doesn't have that special -KS suffix that denotes a Special Edition CPU. However, a massive test involving over a hundred 14900K CPUs strongly indicates that the 14th Gen Raptor Lake Refresh chip is the one to get for overclocking.

The data comes from Igor's Lab, which got its hands on 154 Core i9-14900K chips and compared them to 24 Core i9-13900KS samples. While the numbers at play here can't be perfectly relied upon (even 154 is quite a small amount), the data is still interesting. The methodology for this test was pretty simple: put a CPU into a test bench, read the voltage-frequency curve, and note the voltage every chip requires for 6GHz, the max boost frequency for the 14900K and 13900K.

Intel Core i9 14900K article

Despite having just 154 samples, there's a faint bell curve for the 14900K at the 1.468 volt mark. The worst 14900K processors required 1.508 volts to hit 6GHz, while the best needed a mere 1.398 volts. Meanwhile, the best 13900KS could only hit 6GHz at 1.438 volts, significantly worse than the best 14900K. However, this survey only had 24 samples of the 13900KS, so the data definitely isn't perfect. However, 11 of the 24 13900KS samples hit the 1.488 volt mark, which may roughly indicate the 13900KS's median voltage needed for 6GHz.

What's particularly interesting is that the best 14900K samples by far came from a single batch: X337R173. All the 14900K samples in the survey came from the same manufacturing plant in Vietnam, but even the worst CPU from the "R" batch was better than the best CPUs from every other batch. Of the five other batches, four of them had nearly identical quality, and the last had notably worse quality than the other six.

The results of the testing and the fact that the Core i9-14900K is already setting new world overclocking records strongly indicate that the 14900K is better binned. In fact, it might even be better binned to the detriment of the 13900KS. Igor's Lab noted that a previous batch of 13900KS chips using Raptor Lake silicon manufactured last year was slightly better on average than those made this year. Still, with just 24 samples, it's hard to say for sure one way or another.