The 5 Best Mid-Range Intel 13th & 14th Gen CPUs.

The 5 Best Mid-Range Intel 13th & 14th Gen CPUs.

Intel recently released the new 14th generation processors, which essentially serve as a refresh of the 13th generation processors. This is evident in their nomenclature, labeled as the “Raptor Lake Refresh.” Many users and potential buyers have deemed this move unnecessary, as these new Intel processors lack innovation and closely follow the footsteps of their predecessors by utilizing the same architecture.

Nevertheless, we have identified some value in certain 14th generation processors, while others may not be as compelling. In this in-depth article, we will assess the mid-range processors from both Intel’s 13th and 14th generations, determining which ones merit our attention and offer significant value.

Raptor Lake & Raptor Lake Refresh.

Intel’s Raptor Lake processors essentially constitute the 13th generation CPUs, while the Raptor Lake Refresh represents the 14th generation. The decision by Intel to designate the Refresh as a new generation of processors might be considered a misguided strategy, given that they lack features to justify such classification. These processors share the same architecture and compatibility with the same motherboard socket (LGA 1700). Their sole advantages lie in higher core timings and, in some instances, increased core count.

In contrast, Raptor Lake had ample time to establish itself in the market, making the subsequent Refresh lack the acceptance the company may have desired. For users already equipped with an Intel 13th-gen processor, upgrading to a 14th-gen model may not seem worthwhile, as they won’t experience significant differences in performance. In some cases, they may even encounter higher power consumption, serving as a deterrent to the upgrade.

What Constitutes Mid-Range CPUs?

Mid-range processors belong to the category characterized by intermediate price and performance levels. They are widely adopted due to their ability to handle various tasks, including gaming, satisfactorily. In each processor generation, Intel offers users numerous options, many of which fall within the mid-range CPU segment. Additionally, mid-range CPUs are known for their favorable performance-to-price ratio, often comparable to theoretically superior processors in certain cases. Now, let’s explore the best mid-range Intel CPUs from both the 13th and 14th generations.

1. Intel Core i5-13400: A Budget-Friendly and Efficient Mid-Range CPU.

If we were to determine the winner among Intel’s mid-range CPUs based on performance-price ratio, the Intel Core i5-13400 would undoubtedly emerge as a leading contender. This CPU adeptly handles day-to-day tasks while maintaining high performance standards and exhibiting low power consumption. Gamers, in particular, favor it for its affordability and commendable gaming performance.

Priced between $221.00 and $231.00, the Intel Core i5-13400 appeals to a broad user base. It incorporates Intel’s Alder Lake-inspired hybrid layout technology and belongs to the 13th generation of processors, known as Raptor Lake. With 10 cores (6 Performance-cores and 4 Efficient-cores) and 16 threads, this CPU boasts a maximum Performance-Cores frequency of 4.6 GHz. It is compatible with motherboards featuring the LGA 1700 socket, supporting both DDR4 RAM with PCIe_4.0 and the newer DDR5 RAM with PCIe_5.0, providing users with flexibility.

A notable feature is its low base TDP of just 65W, complemented by built-in Intel UHD Graphics 730 operating at 1.55 GHz for basic tasks.

2. Intel Core i5-13600K: The king of mid-range CPUs.

If any processor reigns supreme in the mid-range category, it’s none other than the Intel Core i5-13600K. This CPU surpasses expectations, possibly even when compared to theoretically superior processors. Arguably, if your budget permits, it stands as Intel’s top mid-range CPU. You might want to check out a recent article that compares it to the newer generation CPU, the Intel Core i5-14600K: “Intel Core i5-13600K vs. i5-14600K: Is the Upgrade Worth It?

The processor is priced between $319.00 and $329.00, making it a mid-range option for a mid-range CPU. This pricing appeals to a significant portion of the audience, and Intel has truly excelled with the Intel Core i5-13600K, offering the best performance in this market segment. It is a versatile processor capable of handling any task or gaming, providing a future-proof option.

Belonging to the 13th generation of processors, it features 14 cores, including 6 P-Cores and 8 E-Cores. The maximum core frequency of the P-Cores reaches 5.1 GHz, and the processor is unlocked for further overclocking. It is compatible with DDR5 RAM and PCIe 4.0, as well as DDR5 RAM and the PCIe 5.0 protocol. Always pair it with the corresponding LGA 1700 Socket compatible motherboard. The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770 are slightly superior to those of the previously mentioned Intel Core i5-13400.

However, it’s important to note that this processor comes with a relatively high power consumption, with a base TDP of 125W.

3. Intel Core i7-14700K: The Best Overall CPU of the 14th Gen.

Although this CPU might be considered more of a flagship and mid-range processor, it shouldn’t be excluded from this article featuring the best mid-range Intel 13th and 14th generation CPUs. The reason is that it belongs to the 14th generation of processors, specifically the Raptor Lake Refresh, and it genuinely offers an upgrade over its predecessor. We recently conducted a review, and you can refer to it, “Intel Core i7-14700K Review.

The Intel Core i7-14700K caters to both regular users and high-end users. It undoubtedly positions itself as a superior choice compared to a mid-range processor, making it more attractive to a significant portion of users in many cases.

Priced between $409.00 and $419.00, it falls slightly above the average for a mid-range CPU. It boasts 20 cores and a total of 28 threads. Among these cores, 8 are P-Cores and 12 are E-Cores, with a maximum P-Core core frequency of 5.6 GHz. Compatible with the LGA 1700 motherboard socket, it supports DDR4 RAM and PCIe 4.0, as well as DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0. The integrated graphics are Intel UHD Graphics 770 with a maximum frequency of 1.6 GHz.

The base TDP is 125 W, and in turbo mode, it reaches 253 W.

4. Core i5-14600K: Intel’s newest mid-range CPU.

Although in a recent comparison with its predecessor, we didn’t find significant upgrade advantages, the Intel Core i5-14600K stands as Intel’s latest mid-range CPU, offering increased clock speeds over the previous Core i5-13600K. While upgrading requires serious consideration, when it comes to a new desktop rig, the Intel Core i5-14600K undoubtedly ranks high in users’ preferences. In fact, it currently holds the top position among mid-range CPUs available at the time of writing this article.

The Intel Core i5-14600K appeals to a wide range of users, both for everyday use and gaming purposes. It features 14 cores and 20 threads, with 6 cores belonging to the P-Cores and 8 to the E-Cores, while the maximum frequency of the P-Core reaches 5.3 GHz. Additionally, it is an unlocked CPU, allowing for further performance enhancements through overclocking.

Compatible with the LGA 1700 Socket and belonging to the 14th generation of processors, it pairs with DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0, or with DDR4 RAM and PCIe 4.0 (always with the corresponding motherboard). The TDP stands at 125W, while it can reach 181W in turbo mode.

A positive aspect of the Intel Core i5-14600K is that it maintains the same MSRP as its predecessor, placing it in the price range of $319.00 to $329.00.

5. Intel Core i3-13100: The best low Budget CPU.

The Intel Core i3-13100 may fall into a category smaller than the typical mid-range CPUs, but it offers unparalleled performance at a very attractive price point. This will undoubtedly lead some users to prefer it over pricier options, given its price range of $134.00 to $144.00. Another positive aspect of the Intel Core i3-13100 is its low power consumption, which sits at just 60W, with a maximum of 110W.

Unlike some CPUs, the Intel Core i3-13100 does not feature P-Cores and E-Cores. Instead, it adopts a classic 4-core and 8-thread layout, with a maximum core frequency of 4.4GHz. It belongs to Intel’s 13th generation of processors and is compatible with the LGA 1700 Socket motherboard. It can be paired with both DDR4 RAM and DDR5 RAM, providing flexibility in managing your budget. The built-in graphics are the same as those found in the Intel Core i5-13400, namely the Intel UHD Graphics 730 with a maximum frequency of 1.5GHz.

Designed for users seeking a CPU for casual use, the Intel Core i3-13100 is also capable of handling most game titles well when paired with a powerful graphics card.

The Best Mid-Range Intel CPUs: Benchmarks.

It’s intriguing to observe the performance of the mid-range Intel CPUs we’ve selected from this vast array in various benchmarks. We’ve gathered metrics on demanding and modern game titles, as well as tested the processors’ power using Cinebench R23, a reliable and widely-used benchmarking platform for processors.

Intel's Mid-Range CPUs Cinebench R.23 Benchmark Single-Core.

In the single-thread benchmarks, we can observe that the Intel Core i5-13600K offers comparable performance to the newer Intel Core i5-14600K. Additionally, the “smaller” Intel Core i3-13100 performs quite well, almost matching the performance of the Intel Core i5-13400.

Intel's Mid-Range CPUs Cinebench R.23 Benchmark Multi-Core.

The difference between the processors becomes evident in the multi-threaded performance, with the Intel Core i7-14700K clearly leading by a wide margin. However, it’s worth noting from the graph above that even in the multi-threaded scenario, the Intel Core i5-13600K doesn’t significantly differ from the newer Core i5-14600K. This makes sense since the latter doesn’t offer a higher number of cores, but only a slight increase in core frequency.

Gaming Benchmarks:

Let’s now turn our attention to the gaming arena and observe how the aforementioned CPUs perform. Gaming can reveal certain characteristics of a processor or highlight any potential bottlenecks that may arise when paired with a powerful graphics card. Nonetheless, certain games remain demanding applications and serve as a reliable measure of a processor’s performance.

Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Spiderman: Miles Morales Benchmark 4k & 1440p.
Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Metro Exodus Benchmark 4k & 1440p.
Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Red Dead Redemption 2 Benchmark 4k & 1440p.
Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Red Dead Elden Ring Benchmark 4k & 1440p.
Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Red Dead Hitman 3 Benchmark 4k & 1440p.

In the realm of gaming, the undeniable champion is the powerful Intel Core i7-14700K, albeit at the highest cost. If we were to select a CPU specifically for gaming from the options above, perhaps we should consider purchasing the newer Intel Core i5-14600K or the Intel Core i5-13600K, both of which offer comparable gaming performance.

Power Consumption.

Another crucial aspect in CPUs today is power consumption. If we intend to use our computer for extended periods and push our CPU to its limits, it’s essential to understand its consumption behavior. Let’s examine the mid-range Intel CPUs mentioned above in this regard and see if any notable patterns emerge from our measurements.

Intel Core i3-13100, i5-14700K, i5-13400, i5-14600K, i5-13600K Peak Power Consumption.

The high performance of the Intel Core i7-14700K comes with an added cost in power consumption. One notable discovery is that the Intel Core i5-14600K, despite its increased clock frequency, shows no significant change in power consumption compared to its predecessor, remaining at the same levels. However, for casual users, both the Intel Core i3-13100 and the Intel Core i5-13400 are excellent choices. As we saw above, not only do they perform well, but they are also among the most energy-efficient CPUs on the market.

Final Thoughts.

Intel has traditionally released multiple CPUs in each generation of its processors, providing users with numerous options. In the mid-range segment, you’ll encounter several choices that might be overwhelming. Arguably, the best CPUs in this category are the Intel Core i5-13600K and the Intel Core i5-14600K, which don’t differ much from each other, at least not noticeably. However, if you’re looking for a more future-proof option and consider yourself a high-end user, I recommend taking a step further and opting for the Intel Core i7-14700K, which can handle any workload effortlessly. Of course, for more casual users, there are budget-friendly and reliable options, as demonstrated by the Intel Core i5-13400 and the Intel Core i3-13100.

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