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Intel’s 6GHz flagship CPU mystery is revealed as it misses CES and then unexpectedly goes on sale

Although Intel’s Core i9-13900KS wasn’t present at CES 2023, the supercharged Raptor Lake flagship has unexpectedly shown up in a European outlet (albeit temporarily) and in China (before being swiftly pulled down in this case, too).

An adventurous person saw the Core i9-13900KS on the website of Chinese retailer JD (noted on Twitter by user @wxnod), and took screenshots of the product page and packaging artefacts before the page was taken down (which look genuine enough – but still, we need to be careful around the authenticity of any leak).

The silver wafer shell and the words “Special Edition” on the package give away that this is essentially the same CPU as Intel’s current top model, the 13900K. (Since the 13900KS is essentially a limited edition of the 13900K consisting of higher grade silicon that can be clocked faster — in this case, with a boost speed of 6GHz out of the box.)

According to the data, the 13900KS uses 150W of electricity at idle, which is in line with earlier rumours (of course, it would need much more power than this when boosting at full throttle).

It was also reported that the Core i9-13900KS will sell for €950 at French store LDLC, however that item has since been removed as well. LDLC sells the 13900K for €770, therefore the KS model is €180, or 23% more expensive than the flagship’s basic model.

It’s possible that LDLC is just using this as a placeholder price, but if it’s accurate, it would suggest that the 13900KS may sell for a little over $700 in the United States. This is roughly in line with what happened with Alder Lake and the 12900KS, so this leak might have some merit.

Regardless, it’s safe to assume that a Special Edition processor will not come cheap, and it’s also worth remembering that Intel will almost certainly increase prices for Raptor Lake (just like it has for Alder Lake).

A missing person’s case 13900KS

The Core i9-13900KS is rumoured to be making its debut on January 12 (insert your own scepticism); however, we had expected to see the turbocharged Raptor Lake flagship appear at CES 2023, a week earlier than that, given that Intel was expected to unveil a number of new 13th-gen processors at the show. Team Blue did introduce new Raptor Lake processors, but the 13900KS wasn’t one of them.

Therefore, this exclusion raised some eyebrows, and the situation has become further more perplexing with these disparate retail launches of the Core i9-13900KS. Both instances of the product listings being posted online were quickly withdrawn, but this still seems to indicate that the updated Raptor Lake flagship will be released for sale if not next week, then very soon.

However, given this, it’s curious that Intel opted not to showcase the 13900KS at CES. Unless, of course, Team Blue is planning a stealth launch with no fanfare and just a basic announcement of the CPU. Maybe the release date of the 13900KS has slipped, and these vendors are well off the mark with their listings, but we assume Intel would want to make a fuss over the first chip to achieve 6GHz out of the box.

The truth will emerge eventually, but for now, just keep in mind that Intel has previously said that this chip would come “early in 2023,” with the widespread assumption being that “early” means January.