Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs: Everything you need to know

Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs: Everything you need to know

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After talking up Alder Lake for much than a year, Intel has released each of the CPUs successful its 12th-generation range. This caller procreation brings the aforesaid slew of show improvements worthy of our roundup of the champion processors but besides marks the archetypal clip Intel has utilized its 10nm manufacturing process connected desktop and the archetypal slot-in CPUs with a hybrid architecture.

There’s a batch to speech astir with Alder Lake. We rounded up everything you request to cognize astir 12th-gen Alder Lake processors, including however overmuch they cost, what benignant of show you tin expect, and however they enactment with caller Z690 motherboards.

Pricing and availability

Intel Core i9-12900K container  connected  a desk.

The archetypal batch of Alder Lake chips arrived connected November 4. The institution announced them during the Intel Innovation lawsuit connected October 27, revealing six caller CPUs to footwear disconnected the range. The Core i9-12900K was the archetypal flagship model, but successful April 2022, the Core i9-12900KS was launched and became the caller flagship. Many models besides person an “F” variant, which means the integrated graphics are disabled, and F models are besides cheaper than their non-F counterparts. There are present 7 12th-gen CPUs that are unlocked:

  • Core i9-12900KS — $739
  • Core i9-12900K — $589
  • Core i9-12900KF — $ 564
  • Core i7-12700K — $409
  • Core i7-12700KF — $384
  • Core i5-12600K — $289
  • Core i5-12600KF — $264

Intel announced a further 22 Alder Lake processors successful aboriginal 2022 that person since released. These chips enactment the remainder of the range, offering locked variations of the supra models, arsenic good arsenic inexpensive Core i5 and Core i3 options.

At slightest successful the U.S., Intel didn’t rise prices overmuch implicit 11th-gen chips. The i9 and i5 models person seen a flimsy bump, portion the i7’s pricing is the aforesaid arsenic the erstwhile generation. Despite immoderate terms bumps, Intel’s CPUs are mostly priced little than AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, which is notable since Intel has usually been the much costly option.

The container designs are mostly unchanged from the erstwhile generation. However, the flagship Core i9-12900KS and the erstwhile flagship 12900K travel slotted wrong a aureate wafer replica successful the box.

Except for the Core i9-12900K and 12900KS, the 7 chips listed supra don’t travel with thing but the CPU. The different 22 CPUs travel with 1 of Intel’s redesigned Laminar CPU coolers.


Intel present has 12th-gen desktop processors from 16 cores down to lone two, offering options crossed the terms and show spectrum. Although Alder Lake is known for having hybrid architecture, lone astir fractional of the chips travel with a premix of performant (P) cores and businesslike (E) cores. Here’s a look astatine the desktop range:

Cores Base frequency Max boost frequency Intel Smart Cache (L3) Integrated graphics Base power Max turbo power
Core i9-12900KS 16 (8P + 8E) 3.4GHz 5.3GHz 30MB Intel UHD 770 150W 241W
Core i9-12900K 16 (8P + 8E) 3.2GHz 5.2GHz 30MB Intel UHD 770 125W 241W
Core i9-12900KF 16 (8P + 8E) 3.2GHz 5.2GHz 30MB N/A 125W 241W
Core i9-12900 16 (8P + 8E) 2.4GHz 5.1GHz 30MB UHD 770 65W 202W
Core i9-12900F 16 (8P + 8E) 2.4GHz 5.1GHz 30MB N/A 65W 202W
Core i7-12700K 12 (8P + 4E) 3.6GHz 5.0GHz 25MB Intel UHD 770 125W 190W
Core i7-12700KF 12 (8P + 4E) 3.6GHz 5.0GHz 25MB N/A 125W 190W
Core i7-12700 12 (8P + 4E) 2.1GHz 4.9GHz 25MB UHD 770 65W 180W
Core i7-12700F 12 (8P + 4E) 2.1GHz 4.9GHz 25MB N/A 65W 180W
Core i5-12600K 10 (6P + 4E) 3.7GHz 4.9GHz 20MB Intel UHD 770 125W 150W
Core i5-12600KF 10 (6P + 4E) 3.7GHz 4.9GHz 20MB N/A 125W 150W
Core i5-12600 6 3.3GHz 4.8GHz 18MB UHD 770 65W 117W
Core i5-12500 6 3.0GHz 4.6GHz 18MB UHD 770 65W 117W
Core i5-12400 6 2.5GHz 4.4GHz 18MB UHD 730 65W 117W
Core i5-12400F 6 2.5GHz 4.4GHz 18MB N/A 65W 117W
Core i3-12300 4 3.5GHz 4.4GHz 12MB UHD 730 60W 89W
Core i3-12100 4 3.3GHz 4.3GHz 12MB UHD 730 60W 89W
Core i3-12100F 4 3.3GHz 4.3GHz 12MB N/A 58W 89W
Pentium Gold G7400 2 3.7GHz N/A 6MB UHD 710 46W N/A
Celeron G6900 2 3.4GHz N/A 4MB UHD 710 46W N/A
Core i9-12900T 16 (8P + 8E) 1.4GHz 4.9GHz 30MB UHD 770 35W 106W
Core i7-12700T 12 (8P + 4E) 1.4GHz 4.7GHz 25MB UHD 770 35W 99W
Core i5-12600T 6 2.1GHz 4.6GHz 18MB UHD 770 35W 74W
Core i5-12500T 6 2.0GHz 4.4GHz 18MB UHD 770 35W 74W
Core i5-12400T 6 1.8GHz 4.2GHz 18MB UHD 730 35W 74W
Core i3-12300T 4 2.3GHz 4.2GHz 12MB UHD 730 35W 69W
Core i3-12100T 4 2.2GHz 4.1GHz 12MB UHD 730 35W 69W
Pentium Gold G7400T 2 3.1GHz N/A 6MB UHD 710 35W N/A
Celeron G6900T 2 2.8GHz N/A 4MB UHD 710 35W N/A

The equilibrium of P-cores and E-cores is antithetic for each model. Only the P-cores enactment hyperthreading, truthful the i9 exemplary comes with 16 cores and 24 threads, the i7 exemplary comes with 12 cores and 20 threads, and truthful on. Chips without the hybrid architecture travel exclusively with P-cores, which enactment hyperthreading.

Frequency-wise, it’s hard to fastener Alder Lake down. The P-cores and E-cores tally astatine antithetic frequencies, truthful determination isn’t a azygous fig to reference. With Intel’s updated Extreme Overclocking Utility (XTU), you tin tweak the P-cores and E-cores independently to dial successful an overclock.

The non-K models aren’t unlocked for overclocking, though immoderate users person managed to bypass protective measures to overclock them anyway. Although Intel says not to overclock non-K models, it tin effect successful arsenic overmuch arsenic a 33% summation successful show for midrange processors.


Intel Core i9-12900K successful  a motherboard.

With Alder Lake yet here, we tin validate immoderate of Intel’s show claims. In our testing of the Core i9-12900K, we recovered monolithic gains implicit the erstwhile procreation and a important pb implicit the competing Ryzen 9 5950X. The Core i9-12900KS, which is fundamentally an overclocked 12900K, somewhat extended Intel’s pb implicit the 5950X.

Gaming is a large absorption of Alder Lake. Intel says the procreation brings up to a 28% betterment successful games similar Hitman 3 over the erstwhile generation. Some of that is connected the backmost of Windows 11, which is optimized for Alder Lake’s Thread Director feature, and DDR5 memory, which benefits games with its accrued bandwidth.

Our ain benchmarks backmost up the improvements successful games. In the synthetic 3D Mark Time Spy, the Core i9-12900KS was astir 9% faster than the Ryzen 9 5950X and Core i9-10900K. In a existent game, Forza Horizon 4, the 12th-gen spot managed a monolithic 19% pb implicit the different 2 processors.

Intel Core i9-12900KS Intel Core i9-12900K AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Intel Core i9-10900K
3D Mark Time Spy  19,578 19,396 17,922 18,341
Red Dead Redemption 2 135 fps 137 fps 135 fps 129 fps
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 110 fps 118 fps 121 fps 122 fps
Forza Horizon 4 238 fps 234 fps 201 fps 200 fps
Civilization VI (turn time, little is better) 7.4 seconds 7.3 seconds 7.5 seconds 6.5 seconds

Still, not each games saw a benefit. Red Dead Redemption 2 is 1 example, arsenic the Core i9-12900KS tied the Ryzen 9 5950X portion the 12900K took a 2 fps lead. Similarly, the chip produced a somewhat little framework complaint than not lone the 12900K (which is expected to beryllium the slower version).

Although gaming is important, Alder Lake is besides focused connected multitasking and contented creation. In a communal script wherever you’re playing a crippled portion streaming and recording, Intel claimed the Core i9-12900K tin present an 84% betterment successful framework complaint implicit the erstwhile generation. Intel said the caller chips are besides up to 36% faster successful photo-editing applications similar Adobe Lightroom, 32% faster successful Premiere Pro, and 37% faster successful Autodesk Revit.

Those numbers are close based connected our testing. In Photoshop, the Core i9-12900K was astir 30% faster than the Ryzen 9 5950X, and successful Premiere Pro, it was astir 7% faster. The spot besides produced an awesome 47-second render successful Handbrake, marking a monolithic 35% betterment implicit the Core i9-10900K. In astir of these benchmarks, the newer Core i9-12900KS extended Intel’s pb implicit AMD and the older Core i9-10900K.

In wide computing, the Alder Lake inactive shows its power. Take Geekbench 5, for example, wherever the Core i9 exemplary managed a 28% pb implicit the Ryzen 9 5950X. Paired with DDR4 however, the Core i9-12900K is really slower.

Intel Core i9-12900KS Intel Core i9-12900K AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Intel Core i9-10900K
Cinebench R23 single-core 2,087 1,989 1,531 1,291
Cinebench R23 multi-core 26,372 27,344 27,328 13,614
Geekbench 5 single-core 2,008 2,036 1,726 1,362
Geekbench 5 multi-core 18,664 18,259 14,239 10,715
PC Mark 10 8,926 9,092 8,254 7,593
Handbrake (seconds, little is better) 46 47 58 72
Pugetbench for Premiere Pro 1,347 1,066 992 855
Pugetbench for Photoshop 1,470 1,315 1,009 1,023
7-Zip  135,280 126,215 139,074 86,172

We’ve lone tested the Core i9-12900K and Core i9-12900KS, but the statement among different reviewers is that the remainder of Intel’s lineup tin bent conscionable good with AMD’s. Though, erstwhile it comes to gaming performance, AMD has reclaimed the crown with the 5800X3D, which can’t bushed the Core i9-12900KS successful halfway dense workloads but does triumph successful games.

Intel says AMD is “in the rearview mirror” with the merchandise of Alder Lake, and show backs up that claim. However, AMD is launching its next-generation Ryzen 7000 bid aboriginal this year, truthful Intel’s wide pb isn’t precisely secure.

Architecture design

Pins connected  Intel Core i9-12900K.

Alder Lake uses a hybrid architecture that brings unneurotic 2 types of processing cores. The archetypal is simply a performant halfway that mirrors what you’d typically find successful a caller processor generation, and the 2nd is an businesslike halfway that’s utilized to grip inheritance tasks and beef up applications that similar a batch of cores.

Intel is designing some cores connected Intel 7, which is the caller sanction for the Enhanced 10nm SuperFin process node. Golden Cove cores are the large ones, and they grip the bulk of enactment you’d bash connected a computer. Gracemont cores are the small ones, and they’re utile for handling inheritance tasks oregon conserving artillery beingness erstwhile a performant halfway isn’t needed.

Golden Cove cores are focused connected high-frequency, single-threaded performance. Utilizing Intel’s caller Matrix engine, the institution says that the cores should person higher frequencies crossed applications. The Matrix motor is simply a coprocessor that handles matrix multiplication, which tin velocity up AI workloads successful particular.

Intel Alder Lake show  halfway   design.

Gracemont cores grip the different broadside of the show spectrum. Intel says they’re each astir multi-threaded performance, juggling respective lightweight tasks crossed aggregate cores. Intel says they tin execute astir 40% supra aged Skylake cores astatine the aforesaid wattage.

Other changes to Alder Lake see enactment for PCIe Gen 5 and PCIe Gen 4, arsenic good arsenic DDR5 and DDR4 memory. Though Alder Lake supports some generations of DDR strategy memory, it’s up to the committee shaper to determine which modular to support. Users can’t premix DDR4 and DDR5 modules connected the aforesaid board. Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6E Gig+ are besides supported connected Alder Lake.

Rumors suggest Intel volition continue supporting DDR4 for its 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors.

Although not related to hardware architecture, Intel removed functionality for bundle defender hold (SGX) successful 12th-gen processors. In short, you can’t play 4K Blu-Rays with 12th-gen processors. SGX is utilized to support the disks from piracy, and Alder Lake processors won’t work them.


Intel Alder Lake pin layout.

Alder Lake chips diagnostic a thicker integrated vigor spreader (IHS), which should springiness them much overclocking potential. Intel trimmed the dice thickness and thermal interface worldly down to summation the IHS size, adding much bulk metallic to the apical of the spot for greater cooling potential.

Alder Lake marks the motorboat of Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) 7.5, which allows you to tweak the ratio and voltage settings of Alder Lake’s P-cores and E-cores. You tin overclock each of the cores independently. If you can’t beryllium bothered, you tin usage Intel Speed Optimizer connected the Core i9-12900K and Core i9-12900KF to adhd a mean overclock with a azygous button.

In our testing, XTU boosted the spot to 5.0GHz all-core without expanding vigor oregon powerfulness draw. With immoderate manual tweaking, we managed a 5.4GHz overclock without overmuch of a hassle, though it came carried a 300W powerfulness gully with it.

New socket and motherboards

Biostar Z170GT7Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Intel is moving to the Z690 level with Alder Lake, which features the caller LGA1700 socket. Many motherboard manufacturers, including Gigabyte, MSI, Asus, Colorful, and ASRock, person boards disposable with the caller chipset and socket. Alder Lake supports DDR4 and DDR5, but arsenic mentioned above, you won’t beryllium capable to usage some connected the aforesaid motherboard.

Z690 is Intel’s flagship chipset, but the institution besides has budget-focused options — H670, B660, and H610. These chipsets don’t enactment CPU overclocking and they travel with less PCIe lanes. They inactive enactment Alder Lake’s different tentpole features, though, including DDR5 connected the motherboard with the close RAM slots.

DDR5 features the aforesaid fig of pins arsenic DDR4, but it has a antithetic layout. Motherboard makers tin take which modular they privation to support, and you can’t power betwixt them.

A caller socket means a caller layout for CPU coolers. Many CPU cooler makers, including Noctua, are offering escaped brackets that enactment with the LGA1700 socket. If you’re wondering what you need, marque definite to work our usher connected everything you request to upgrade to Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake.

Alder Lake mobile processors

Someone drafting  connected  the Samsung Galaxy Book.

Alder Lake is simply a level for Intel. The institution is utilizing the aforesaid sanction and architecture crossed its desktop and mobile releases, breaking from the motorboat cadence it has established. Intel has HX-series (55W), H-series (45W), P-series (28W), and U-series (15W and 9W) mobile chips available. Here’s however the scope looks:

Cores Max boost frequency Intel Smart Cache (L3) Base power
Core i9-12950HX 16 (8P + 8E) 5.0GHz 30MB 55W
Core i9-12900HX 16 (8P + 8E) 5.0GHz 30MB 55W
Core i7-12850HX 16 (8P + 8E) 4.8GHz 25MB 55W
Core i7-12800HX 16 (8P + 8E) 4.8GHz 25MB 55W
Core i7-12650HX
14 (6P + 8E) 4.7GHz 24MB 55W
Core i7-12600HX 12 (4P + 8E) 4.6GHz 18MB 55W
Core i5-12450HX 8 (4P + 4E) 4.4GHz 12MB 55W
Core i9-12900HK 14 (6P + 8E) 5.0GHz 24MB 45W
Core i9-12900H 14 (6P + 8E) 5.0GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12800H 14 (6P + 8E) 4.8GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12700H 14 (6P + 8E) 4.7GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12650H 10 (6P + 4E) 4.7GHz 24MB 45W
Core i5-12600H 12 (4P + 8E) 4.5GHz 18MB 45W
Core i5-12500H 12 (4P + 8E) 4.5GHz 18MB 45W
Core i5-12450H 8 (4P + 4E) 4.4GHz 12MB 45W
Core i7-1280P 14 (6P + 8E) 4.8GHz 24MB 28W
Core i7-1270P 12 (4P + 8E) 4.8GHz 18MB 28W
Core i7-1260P
12 (4P + 8E) 4.7GHz 18MB 28W
Core i5-1250P 12 (4P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 28W
Core i5-1240P 12 (4P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 28W
Core i3-1220P 10 (2P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 28W
Core i7-1265U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.8GHz 12MB 15W
Core i7-1260U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.7GHz 12MB 9W
Core i5-1255U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.7GHz 12MB 15W
Core i5-1250U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.7GHz 12MB 9W
Core i5-1245U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 15W
Core i5-1240U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 9W
Core i5-1235U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 15W
Core i5-1230U 10 (2P + 8E) 4.4GHz 12MB 9W
Core i3-1215U 6 (2P + 4E) 4.4GHz 10MB 15W
Core i3-1210U 6 (2P + 4E) 4.4GHz 10MB 9W
Pentium Gold 8505 5 (1P + 4E) 4.4GHz 8MB 15W
Pentium Gold 8500 5 (1P + 4E) 4.4GHz 8MB 9W
Celeron 7305 5 (1P + 4E) N/A 8MB 15W
Celeron 7300 5 (1P + 4E) N/A 8MB 9W

In our testing, the flagship Core i9-12900HK wipes the level with the competition. In immoderate cases, we recovered the spot to beryllium arsenic overmuch arsenic 21% faster than the competing Ryzen 9 5900HX, and astatine times, it adjacent rivaled a desktop Core i9-10900K. We haven’t reviewed lower-end SKUs, but the statement among different reviewers is that they are besides rather good, with AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 5900HX losing adjacent to the Core i7-12700H. This isn’t astonishing since the Ryzen 9 5900HX lone has 8 cores, and portion AMD’s Zen 3 architecture is rather good, it’s hard to vie erstwhile you’re six cores down.

AMD’s Ryzen 6000 chips are here, arsenic are Intel’s caller HX models, truthful the mobile marketplace is inactive blistery successful the mediate of 2022.

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