Performance

I’m not a big one on posting first-party benchmark results, but the high-level overview from Intel was this:

  • At 3.3 GHz, 12900K is +19% better in Single Thread Performance over the 11900K
  • Over the 11900K, the 12900K is +19% better at 1080p High with RTX 3090
  • Over the 11900K, the 12900K gets +84% better fps when concurrently streaming
  • Over the 11900K, the 12900K is +22-100% better in content creation (Adobe)
  • Over the 11900K, the 12900K is +50% faster in BlenderMT at 241W (vs 250W)
  • Over the 11900K, the 12900K performs the same in BlenderMT at only 65W (vs 250W)

All of Intel’s tests were using Windows 11, with DDR5-4400 vs DDR4-3200. Intel did have a small one slide of comparisons against AMD in gaming with an RTX 3090, however they stated they were done without the latest L3 patch fix, and admitted that they would have preferred to show us full results. By the time this article goes live, we may have seen those results at Intel’s event.

This is a reasonable set of data, very focused on the Core i9, but when the reviews come out we’ll be able to see where it sits compared to the other parts, as well as the competition. The only thing that concerns me right now leading up to the launch is the behavior of demoting workloads to E-cores when not in focus when on the Balanced Power Plan (mentioned on the Thread Director page). It won’t be until I get hands-on with the hardware as to whether I see it as an issue or not.

Another factor to mention is DRM. Intel has made statements to this, but there is an issue with Denuvo as it uses part of the CPU configuration to identify systems to stop piracy. Due to the hybrid nature, Denuvo might register starting on a different core (P vs E) as a new system, and eventually lock you out of the game either temporarily or permanently. Out of the top 200 games, around 20 are affected and Intel says it still has a couple more to fix. It’s working with Denuvo for a high-level fix from their side, and with developers to fix from their end as well. Intel says it’s a bit harder with older titles, especially when there’s no development going on, or the IP is far away from its original source. A solution to this would be to only launch those games on specific cores, but look out for more updates as time marches on.

Conclusions

Well, it’s almost here. It looks like Intel will take the ST crown, although MT is a bit of a different story, and might rely explicitly on the software being used or if the difference in performance is worth the price. The use of the hybrid architecture might be an early pain point, and it will be interesting to see if Thread Director remains resilient to the issues. The bump up to Windows 11 is also another potential rock in the stream, and we’re seeing some teething issues from users, although right now users who are looking to early adopt a new CPU are likely more than ready to adopt a new version of Windows at the same time.

The discourse on DDR4 vs DDR5 is one I’ve had for almost a year now. Memory vendors seem ready to start seeding kits to retailers, however the expense over DDR4 is somewhat eyewatering. The general expectation is that DDR5 won’t offer much performance uplift over a good kit of DDR4, or might even be worse. The benefit of DDR5 then at this point is more to start on that DDR5 ladder, where the only way to go is up. This will be Intel’s last DDR4 platform on desktop it seems.

On the processors themselves, the Core i5 and Core i7 parts look very competitive and in line with respective popular AMD processors. Both the Core i5 and Core i7 have extra E-cores, so we’ll see if that comes in handy for extra performance, or they’ll just end up burning power and performance per watt needs re-examining. The Core i9 challenge is probably sided on Intel for single thread, but all the questions will be over proper multi-threaded performance.

Intel 12th Gen Core, Alder Lake
AnandTech Cores
P+E/T
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
IGP Base
W
Turbo
W
Price
$1ku
i9-12900K 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 770 125 241 $589
i9-12900KF 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 - 125 241 $564
i7-12700K 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 770 125 190 $409
i7-12700KF 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 - 125 190 $384
i5-12600K 6+4/20 2800 3600 3700 4900 770 125 150 $289
i5-12600KF 6+4/20 2800 3600 3700 4900 - 125 150 $264

After not much CPU news for a while, it’s time to get in gear and find out what Intel has been cooking. Come back on November 4th for our review.

Package Improvements and Overclocking
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  • Zoolook - Saturday, October 30, 2021 - link

    On the contrary, I have built a number of systems for other people and maximum power is never requested, however, everyone wants a quiet desktop, even for gaming it's all about the GPU unless you "compete" with extreme fps shooters. Reply
  • hansmuff - Thursday, October 28, 2021 - link

    Why bother? Because I want a quiet machine, and laptops are not quiet under heavy load. And I want a fast GPU that runs reasonably quiet (undervolted.) Laptops and great and all, but they're not the clear alternative to quiet desktop computing. Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Thursday, October 28, 2021 - link

    hansmuff- anything can be downclocked. If you're going to gimp your system, then why get the one with less potential if you change your mind? Intel has more potential in gaming if you go all out. Otherwise get your tablet. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    Flying Aardvark - all indications so far are that AMD retains better perf/watt. We'll have to wait to see whether or not that applies to gaming, but it's disingenuous to suggest that one need "gimp your system" just to get acceptable thermals. It never used to be necessary with Intel, either, before they started clocking the nuts off their processors to keep up with Ryzen.

    "Otherwise get your tablet."
    Doesn't merit a response
    Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Saturday, October 30, 2021 - link

    Spunjji- but Intel is faster, all out. It makes no sense to neuter any system, you should be buying what has the most potential. Again, if you want the best perf/watt, get your M1 or your tablet of choice. Best 'perf per watt'. I'll be on an i9, which is faster than your system. And I can afford the extra $1 a month electric bill for the <5% time it's on and consuming high power. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    Because a laptop with a dock is not only more expensive but also compromises cooling and noise compared to a desktop, doesnt ahve the expandability of a desktop and.....honestly why am I even trying to explain this. You knwo full well there are use cases for desktops beyond "ZOMG 1% IPC INCREASE GOOO 1000W COOLER" Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    Incorrect. Less efficiency means more heat/noise, more expensive coolers, and the need for more expensive motherboards. As a desktop owner Id otn want to waste money trying to cool down a hot running SOB. Reply
  • PedroCBC - Saturday, October 30, 2021 - link

    I found it really funny that americans think that electric bills are the same all around the world, as if they were even within their own country. Yeah buddy, you are right, everyone can put a 1600W PSU and run it full throttle all day and pay without it take a reasonable amount of money. Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Saturday, October 30, 2021 - link

    PedroCBC- but you wouldn't be running at full throttle all day. Think! Reply
  • yeeeeman - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    I don't think they will be double the power...for example 12600K needs 150W top TDP and it beats the 5800X which is at 142W... Reply

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