Intel has released the specifications of its twelfth generation Core processors, previously codenamed Alder Lake. Top model Core i9 12900K will have a total of sixteen cores and a maximum power consumption of 241W. The CPUs will be in stores on November 4.
In August, Intel already released the necessary technical background information about the Alder Lake processors, on the basis of which Tweakers wrote an extensive preview. New include the Intel 7 process and the hybrid architecture with a combination of frugal Gracemont cores and fast Golden Cove cores. The processors also support DDR5 memory and PCI Express 5.0 for the first time. In addition, to facilitate all these changes, the new socket 1700 is introduced.
Now Intel is giving a concrete example of what’s possible with this hybrid architecture, which the chip maker calls “the biggest architecture change in a decade.” At similar power usage, the Core i9 12900K would deliver 50 percent higher multithreaded performance than the 11900K. For the same performance as the 11900K (250W), the 12900K would suffice at 65W.
Specifications and farewell to TDP
The specifications per model were not yet officially known. Initially, Intel will come with six models: the Core i9 12900K, Core i7 12700K and Core i5 12600K, with an F version of each variant without an integrated GPU for sale. The CPUs have between six and eight fast cores and four or eight frugal cores, each with its own base and turbo clock speeds.
It is striking that Intel no longer gives a tdp, but speaks of a ‘processor base power’ of 125W and a ‘maximum turbo power’ that is considerably higher. With this, Intel at least for the overclockable K processors puts an end to the confusion that the PL1 and PL2 power limits caused in recent generations. The new standard for these processors is that they can boost indefinitely, unless the PC manufacturer (and in case of self-build it yourself) decides otherwise to stay within the possibilities of the cooling and power supply.
|Cores||Caches||Clock Speeds||Gpu||Power usage|
|P||E||L2||L3||Base P||Turbo P||Base E||Turbo E||Base||Turbo|
|Intel Core i9 12900K||8||8||14MB||30MB||3,2GHz||5,2GHz||2,4GHz||3,9GHz||UHD 770||125W||241W|
|Intel Core i9 12900KF||8||8||14MB||30MB||3,2GHz||5,2GHz||2,4GHz||3,9GHz||No||125W||241W|
|Intel Core i7 12700K||8||4||12MB||25MB||3,6GHz||5,0GHz||2,7GHz||3,8GHz||UHD 770||125W||190W|
|Intel Core i7 12700KF||8||4||12MB||25MB||3,6GHz||5,0GHz||2,7GHz||3,8GHz||No||125W||190W|
|Intel Core i5 12600K||6||4||9,5MB||20MB||3,7GHz||4,9GHz||2,8GHz||3,6GHz||UHD 770||125W||150W|
|Intel Core i5 12600KF||6||4||9,5MB||20MB||3,7GHz||4,9GHz||2,8GHz||3,6GHz||No||125W||150W|
The first benchmarks
Intel also released the first benchmarks of the Core i9 12900K. These have been implemented and selected by Intel itself, so it is wise to take them with a grain of salt. On average, the i9 12900K would be around 15 percent faster than an 11900K in games, which should be more than enough to turn the gap on the Ryzen 5000 chips into an edge. In a less comprehensive comparison with the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, the 12900K clearly emerges as the winner – with the Windows 11 patch for AMD processors not yet applied.
For content creation, the 12900K would make even more gains over its predecessor, between 22 and 100 percent faster in five software packages. Intel leaves out a comparison with AMD on that point. A final comparison of different cores at the same clock speed shows that the small Gracemont cores are just as fast as the ‘large’ Skylake cores that were used up to the tenth generation of Core processors.
The new processors are clearly more expensive than their predecessors. The Core i9 12900K has increased in price the most; converted and including VAT, it will cost 615 euros. The 11900K still had a suggested retail price of 548 euros, which means that the new chip will be 67 euros more expensive. The i7 12700K and i5 12600K are also a bit more pricey than their predecessors in the 11 series, but the difference in those models is limited to a few tens.
The new processors have now arrived in the Tweakers test lab, accompanied by the necessary Z690 motherboards and DDR5 memory. You can purchase the new hardware from Thursday 4 November – but of course you can read on our site whether that is also a good idea.