Intel Core i9-13900K & Core i5-13600K Review: Raptor Lake Roars

Intel Core i9-13900K & Core i5-13600K: 700 Series Chipset And Motherboards

New 700-series motherboard chipsets are incoming for 13th Gen Core processors that will offer more PCIe Gen 4 lanes and additional high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 20Gbps ports.

13th gen core platform updates

All of the leading-edge IO available with the existing 600-series chipsets for Alder Lake is also present on the 700 series, and we should also mention that 13th Gen Core processors will work in 600-series chipsets as well, with either DDR4 or DDR5 memory depending on the motherboard’s configuration. 700-series chipsets, like the flagship Z790 which is targeted at enthusiasts, have simply been updated with that additional PCIe and USB connectivity.

MSI's MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi: Our Raptor Lake Test Platform

MSI, and many of Intel’s other partners, have a wide array of motherboards coming down the pipeline for Raptor Lake-based 13th Gen Core processors. To pull together our review, we were set up with one of MSI’s MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi boards, which is one of the company’s higher-end, but moderately priced offerings. Whereas MSI has some $900+ Z690 (and presumably Z790) motherboards at the top of their stack, the MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi should land around the $349 mark.
msi 13th gen raptor lake motherboard

The MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi is fairly loaded with features and enabled all of the features inherent to the Intel Z790 chipset, and then some. MSI adds quite a few more functionality through third-party controllers and MSI’s own design chops.

The MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi has an accent lighting, metal reinforcement on its top-most x16 expansion slot to add rigidity, elaborate cooling for its multiple M.2 slots, chipset and VRM and a 19+1+1 phase >75A digital power solution backed by dual, 8-pin power feeds. The MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi features an array of durable Titanium chokes as well, in addition to high-conductivity polymer and / or solid capacitors throughout, to improve reliability, longevity and overall power and thermal efficiency.

msi 13th gen raptor lake motherboard vrm

Like virtually all of MSI’s recent motherboard products, the MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi also features a mouse-friendly BIOS / UEFI with a GUI that’s easy to navigate and offers a ton of overclocking and performance-related options. MSI calls it their Click BIOS 5, and it sports everything from illustrated menus to the latest version of MSI’s hardware monitor functionality.

msi 13th gen raptor lake motherboard headers

The MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi also offers simplified overclocking by way of its Core and Game Boost feature that's available within the MSI Center application, but the UEFI is outfitted with all of the overclocking-related options we’ve come to expect from MSI for manual tweaking as well. The fan controls on the board are quite robust and MSI has put in additional effort to isolate the memory circuitry to ensure maximum compatibility, clean signaling and the highest possible frequencies.

msi 13th gen raptor lake motherboard slots

Other features of the MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi include a whopping five M.2 slots (with coolers) – one PCIe Gen 5 slot and four Gen 4 slots, a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type-C port, multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 1 type-A ports (and one more Type-C port), built in Intel 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and Intel i225V 2.5G Ethernet, an on-board POST-code error reporter, and a bunch of other stuff. After fumbling around with poorly fit heatsinks on some other motherboards, we’re especially fond of the tool-less quick-release for the top-most M.2 heatsink and slot. Pop off the heatsink, insert a drive, lock it in place, snap the heatsink back on, and you’re ready to rock – no tool required.

msi 13th gen raptor lake motherboard ports
We should also point out that the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi offers 7.1-channel audio, with EMI shielding, and high-quality audio filtering caps designed to maximize the quality of the ALC4080 audio codec’s output. And MSI includes a handful of goodies, like cable stickers, RGB extension cords, SATA cables, M.2 quick-release clips, and a USB thumb drive with drivers and utility software.

Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5 Memory Kit

To populate the DDR5 memory slots on the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi, we were also outfitted with a 32GB dual-channel Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6600 memory kit (16GB x 2).

corsair memory for raptor lake

This Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB memory has the necessary built-in Power Management IC (PMIC) to fully support XMP 3.0 for quick and easy setup. As you can see, these bad boys also include stylized heat-spreaders with integrated RGB lighting (accessible through Corsair’s iCUE software).

corsair memory for raptor lake2

This kit (model CMT32GX5M2X6600C32) has an operating voltage of 1.4V, with a CAS Latency rating of 32 (39-39-76-2T). All of the benchmarks we’ll be presenting to you next were generated with this memory kit installed in the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi.

Now that you’ve seen what we’re working with, let's get into some benchmarks and see whether or not Raptor Lake roars or whimpers...

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