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Intel’s new 13th-gen laptop CPUs are (very) mild year-over-year improvements

Some CPUs get more cores, but we’re mostly talking about clock-speed bumps.

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Enlarge / Intel’s new laptop CPU lineup is a lot like the old CPU lineup. (credit: Intel)

Intel’s 13th-generation desktop CPU refresh is interesting because processors up and down the lineup are picking up extra clusters of four or eight E-cores, significantly improving how they handle heavily threaded tasks. The new laptop CPUs that Intel has also announced are much less interesting—the ones that will end up in most laptops increase clock speeds and support faster memory but are otherwise mostly identical to the 12th-generation CPUs they’re replacing.

This isn’t uncommon; Intel’s 7th generation refresh was similarly low-key, and the 10th generation mostly was, too. The days when every year would bring either a new architecture or a new manufacturing process are long gone. Just know when you’re shopping for a laptop that the jump from the 11th- to the 12th-generation represents a much larger performance leap (and, sometimes, a battery life reduction) than the jump from the 12th- to the 13th-gen.

Intel spent most of its presentation talking about the high-end HX-series processors, mainly because they’re the only ones that are significantly different from their 12th-gen predecessors. HX laptop processors are essentially Intel’s Raptor Lake desktop CPUs, repackaged to be soldered down to a laptop motherboard. Like those desktop CPUs, they all include additional E-cores relative to 12th-gen CPUs. The Core i9 CPUs and the i7-13850HX also support faster DDR5-5600 RAM, though the others stick with DDR5-4800.

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