Intel launched its latest batch of CPUs for desktop PCs this week, meaning you can now buy some of the most powerful Intel chips yet made for your gaming rig.
This is significant because despite the performance improvements Intel has barely raised prices on these chips year-over-year, so you can expect to pay roughly the same for these slices of silicon as you were a few years ago. They're also compatible with existing Intel 600- and 700-series motherboards, so you won't need to upgrade your motherboard.
Before we get into what new chips are available this week and how much they cost, note that these are not Intel's new 14th Gen Meteor Lake chips launching in December. Those will be laptop chips, while the chips launching this week are basically Intel's Raptor Lake refresh for desktops—which Intel is also calling 14th Gen, as they're faster versions of last year's chips for basically the same prices.
It's a little confusing because Intel is rolling out those new Meteor Lake chips December 14 and changing their branding along the way, such that you should expect to see new "Intel Core Ultra" language showing up when Meteor Lake laptop chips debut. And when they do arrive they'll be very different from the chips Intel has made to date because they'll be built using a "chiplet" design that incorporates an all-new NPU (Neural Processing Unit) designed to excel at machine learning and other "AI" workloads.
But the desktop CPUs Intel is launching this week are not built using a chiplet design and do not have an NPU onboard. Intel has six new chips launching at prices ranging from $294-$589, and as you can see from the chart below you basically have three chips to choose from, with the option to save a bit of change by getting one of the CPUs which end in a -KF designation.
The -F at the end means those chips don't have one of Intel's UHD Graphics 770 integrated GPUs built in, which is fine if you're planning on putting the CPU into a gaming PC that already has a discrete GPU like one of those fancy new Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series cards.
New Intel 14th Gen Raptor Lake S Refresh desktop CPUs
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Cores (Perf + Efficiency)||Max Frequency (Ghz)||Price|
|Core i5-14600KF||14 (6+8)||Up to 5.3Ghz||$294|
|Core i5-14600K||14 (6+8)||Up to 5.3Ghz||$319|
|Core i7-14700KF||20 (8+12)||Up to 5.6Ghz (Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0)||$384|
|Core i7-14700K||20 (8+12)||Up to 5.6Ghz (Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0)||$409|
|Core i9-14900KF||24 (8+16)||Up to 6Ghz (Intel Thermal Velocity Boost)||$564|
|Core i9-14900K||24 (8+16)||Up to 6Ghz (Intel Thermal Velocity Boost)||$589|
As you can see, the new high-water mark for Intel desktop CPUs is the Core i9-14900K. This chip costs nearly $600 yet can achieve speeds of over 6Ghz when overclocked using Intel's Thermal Velocity Boost tech.
This is the successor to the Intel Core i9-13900KS, which was the company's fastest CPU and the much-ballyhooed first Raptor Lake CPU to hit 6Ghz when it launched at the start of the year. It also cost $699, which makes the $589 asking price of its successor seem like a real steal.
That's the biggest discount you're gonna get on these new chips, as the rest are all priced around the same as their predecessors. The new Core i5-14600K and Core i7-14700K both look to be about $10 cheaper than what their predecessors initially cost, for example. That's especially exciting when you consider that the new 14th Gen Core i7 CPU has 20 cores, an upgrade from the 14 cores that came with its predecessors.
While these new desktop CPUS do not have the AI-focused NPU that will be built into Intel's upcoming batch of new Meteor Lake CPUs for laptops, some of these new 14th Gen refreshed chips do have a bit of extra "AI" help in terms of performance.
As of October 2023, Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility (or XTU) has been updated to include a preview version of a new "AI Assist" feature which attempts to automatically recommend tweaks to make your PC as performant as possible. This new AI Assist feature is in limited preview and only works with the new top-of-the-line Core i9-14900K and -KF chips, though Intel claims it will add more support for more systems in the future.
As for how it works, well, the "AI" bit appears to be based on this utility tapping into what it's learned from scanning thousands of PCs to offer you more tailored recommendations for how to overclock your own rig. The data is collected from scanning hundreds of configs of different CPUs, motherboards and other components, so hopefully it should be a bit better than the basic overclocking recommendations already made by the XTU.
The most notable thing Intel is doing in chips this year is likely going to be its big switch to chiplets in December when the first Meteor Lake CPUs debut, so this last-minute refresh of the Raptor Lake desktop CPUs might seem a little unexciting.
But if you've been looking to upgrade your gaming PC, these chips are arriving at a great time and a welcome price. While few save the high-end Core i9-14900K are much cheaper than last year's models, they are generally the same price or cheaper, which is great to see.
And if they're still too pricey for your liking, the fact that they just launched means some of the best Black Friday deals this year will likely be on old 13th Gen CPUs that Intel has priced to move.