Various benchmarks have shown that the Core i5 13600K is currently the best gaming processor for $300 and defeats the Ryzen 7000 CPUs and even the Core i7s of previous generations.
The improvements made on this chip over the past generation are significant and impressive. This is why most reviewers are recommending getting the i5 13600K instead of a Ryzen 7600X or the Core i5 12600K.
The potential of this CPU is amazing and one of its best feats is the ability to handle any GPU like nothing. The most common problem with mid-range CPUs in the past was bottlenecking and only a few of them could handle super high-end GPUs like RTX 4090 or RX 7900 XTX.
The Core i5 13600K breaks that limitation and is now ready to be combined with any GPU for the ultimate gaming performance. However, using an RTX 4090 which costs $1500 with a $300 CPU for many might seem unreasonable as most gamers out there either aren’t able to afford an RTX 4090 or simply don’t need that much power.
Therefore, I recommend balancing the specs and making a perfect CPU-GPU combo that will max out the performance without breaking the bank.
Intel Core i5 13600K Overview
The Core i5 13600K belongs to the Raptor Lake family and is manufactured on the Intel 7 or 10nm process node. It features a hybrid architecture featuring a total of 14 cores and 20 threads.
There are two types of cores in the 13600K namely Performance and Efficient cores. There are 6 Performance and 8 Efficient cores where the Performance cores feature hyperthreading but the Efficient cores don’t. Therefore, the total hyper threads sum up to 20 in total.
Each type of core is designed to work in a particular frequency range. The Efficient cores have a base/boost frequency of 2.6/3.9GHz whereas the Performance cores feature a base/boost frequency of 3.5/5.1GHz. The L2 and L3 cache are 20MB and 24MB respectively and the TDP range is 125-181W.
The 13600K supports both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM natively and also brings an Intel UHD graphics 770.
Things You Should Consider Before Buying A GPU
Before proceeding to the list, it is important to keep a few points in mind that will help you in getting the best GPU for your CPU whether it is the 13600K or any other high-end CPU.
Make sure you keep these three things in mind to get the most out of your CPU.
Avoid The Bottleneck
A processor and GPU work together to execute all the instructions. A CPU assigns several instructions per second to the GPU and the GPU executes those instructions to render the images and graphics parameters according to its potential.
If any of these two is too inferior in performance, the overall performance will suffer from bottlenecking. In other words, if your CPU is too fast for your GPU, your GPU won’t be able to execute all the assigned instructions and if your GPU is too fast, then your CPU won’t be able to assign as many instructions as the GPU is capable to execute.
While both will result in significant performance dip in gaming like frequent stuttering and fps drops, it is always advisable that you own a CPU that doesn’t max out at 100% usage while your GPU is still not maxed out in its usage.
Have Sufficient VRAM
Graphics cards have their own video memory which is known as VRAM and is very essential for good performance. The higher the resolution will be, the more VRAM will be utilized.
Therefore, if you are gaming at 1080p, you should at least have 4-6GB of VRAM if you want to play on ultra settings. Some games may require even more but 6GB should be sufficient for most games at 1080p. For 1440p and 4K, I recommend going with at least 8-12GB for adequate performance.
Buy A Reliable Power Supply
Before you purchase a GPU or build your computer, you should always pay attention to the total power consumption your system is rated to consume. Every component uses some power that is measured in watts and you should calculate and add up the TDP of all the components before buying a power supply.
Always have at least 200W more than the total sum of your components’ TDP. This will allow some room for extra power consumption and further upgrades.
Make sure you also buy at least an 80 Plus Bronze power supply for a computer where you are using an i5 13600K and a high-end GPU. An 80 Plus Bronze-rated PSU will generate less heat and will provide you with over 85% of power efficiency on typical loads.
Also, make sure your power supply has all the cables and connectors your GPU needs or you will end up having inadequate power for your GPU and your GPU may not work in some cases.
Best Graphics Cards List for Core i5 13600K
AMD Radeon RX 6750 XT
- Memory Speed:18 Gbps
- Chipset: AMD RX 6750
- Memory: 12GB GDDR6
- Cooling: XFX MERC 319 Triple Fan
To start off, we have the amazing RDNA 2 based GPU from AMD. The RX 6750 XT was not one of the cards that were launched in the first batch of RX 6000 series GPUs but were launched in the second batch this year to give even more options to choose from.
AMD RX 6750 XT is an excellent choice for maxing out games at 1080p resolution and playing on ultra settings at 1440p resolution. It features 2560 Stream Processors and a memory size of 12GB. Unlike Nvidia counterparts, almost every AMD RDNA 2 based GPU has sufficient memory even if they are in the mid-range category and the 6750 XT is no exception.
This card is fast enough to provide much more than 60 fps on the best graphical settings and will be perfect for those who are not willing to pay over $500 for a GPU.
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070 Ti
- NVIDIA Ampere architecture, 2nd Gen Ray Tracing...
- 8GB 256-bit GDDR6X, 19 Gbps, PCIE 4.0; Boost Clock...
- HoloBlack, SPECTRA 2.0 RGB Lighting, IceStorm 2.0...
- 8K Ready, 4 Display Ready, HDCP 2.3, VR Ready
If you are looking for an equivalent GPU to the 6750 XT or somewhat better, consider going with the RTX 3070 Ti which is the ideal choice for the i5 13600K. It is based on the Ampere architecture and can max out any game at 1440p resolution.
It’s simply the best GPU to combine with the 13600K and is also capable of providing good performance with Ray Tracing enabled. Unlike AMD’s RX 6750 XT or any other RX 6000 GPU, Nvidia Ampere GPUs do much better in Ray Tracing and if you love to play AAA titles that feature Ray Tracing, the 3070 Ti is a perfect $700 card with no compromise.
It features 6144 Cuda Cores and 8GB GDDR6X memory on a 256-bit memory bus. Surely, there is a lack of enough VRAM compared to the AMD competitors and therefore, it is best with resolutions up to 1440p.
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080
- Memory Speed:19 Gbps
- NVIDIA Ampere architecture, 2nd Gen Ray Tracing...
- Boost Clock 1725 MHz, 10GB 320-bit GDDR6X, 19...
- SPECTRA 2.0 RGB Lighting, IceStorm 2.0 Advanced...
The RTX 3080 is a monster GPU that is available in two editions: 10GB and 12GB. The performance difference between the two is almost unnoticeable and therefore, you should go with the 10GB one if the price difference is $50 or more.
RTX 3080 is also based on the Ampere architecture is brings roughly 10% more performance than the 3070 Ti. Not only it can max out games at 1440p resolution but is powerful enough to play most games on ultra settings at 4K resolution.
If you have a high refresh rate 1440p monitor, then the 3080 will be an awesome choice and will provide over 100 fps at that resolution without breaking a sweat.
It comes with 8704 Cuda Cores and a good 12GB of GDDR6X VRAM on a bigger 320-bit memory bus for higher memory bandwidth. Right now, it is available for a price between $700-$800 which is significantly lower than the original MSRP. However, you should still check other competitive GPUs before making a decision.
AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT
- Chipset Radeon RX 6950 XT
- Video Memory: 16GB GDDR6
- Memory Interface: 256-bit
- Output: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1
The fastest GPU under $1000 right now if we consider the RDNA 2 and Ampere GPUs is the RX 6950 XT. It is significantly faster than all the GPUs listed above and was launched in the second batch of RDNA 2 GPUs.
It is somewhat equivalent to the RTX 3090 which is a $1500 GPU and therefore brings much higher value than the latter. Some of its editions cost even less than $900 right now and this is why it is the top recommended choice for not only the i5 13600K but for any other high-end CPU.
It features 5120 Stream processors and a VRAM of 16GB on a 256-bit memory bus. It is also super strong in Ray Tracing at 1080p and 1440p resolutions but it is recommended to use FSR to improve the performance in some games.
Overall, a premium choice for enthusiasts but will require a good investment in both the GPU and power supply.
Intel Core i5 13600K is currently the best $300 CPU to buy and you shouldn’t be caring about any bottlenecks from the CPU side. Literally, any GPU will go perfectly with it. As we are close to the launch of more RTX 4000 and RX 7000 series GPUs, the list will be updated accordingly.