Intel unveils official specs, performance stats and pricing for the Alder Lake desktop CPUs
The wait for Alder Lake is over. Intel today unveils the 12th gen Core desktop processors produced on the Intel 7 nodes (still 10 nm). While the official presentation is disclosing a wealth of information regarding all the facets of the new architecture, we know users are most of all interested in main specs, pricing and estimated performance, so this article is like a TL;DR in that respect.
As expected, the initial batch of Alder Lake processors only includes the i9-12900K/F, i7-12700K/F and i5-12600K/F. All models support overclocking with base power set to 125 W, a maximum of 20 PCIe lanes (of which 16 are PCIe 5.0), plus dual channel DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800 (not mixed) RAM with 128 GB maximum capacity. The K models integrate the Intel UHD Graphics 770 GPU with Xe cores, while the KF models do not include the iGPU. Interestingly, Intel appears to have merged the Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 with the Intel Thermal Velocity Boost Technology, limiting these frequencies to the performance cores.
Intel’s top-of-the-line i9-12900K/F models come with 8 performance cores + 8 efficiency cores for a total of 24 threads. 30 MB of L3 cache and 14 MB of L2 cache, and the Turbo Boost Max frequency is set to 5.2 GHz (5.1 GHz P-core max / 3.9 GHz E-core max) with 241 W max TDP. MSRP is US$589, only $50 more than the current price of the i9-11900K. The i9-12900KF has an MSRP of US$564.
Next up are the i7-12700K/F models that feature 8 P-cores + 4 E-cores for a total of 20 threads, 25 MB L3 cache + 12 MB L2 cache, and the Turbo Max Boost frequency is set to 5.0 GHz ( 4.9 GHz P-core max, 3.8 GHz E-core max) with 190 W max TDP . MSRP is US$409 for the K model and US$384 for the KF model, around US$10 more compared to the i7-11700K/F models.
Last , but not least, the i5-12600K/F models feature 6 performance cores + 4 efficiency cores for a total of 16 threads, 20 MB L3 cache + 9.5 MB L2 cache, and there is no Turbo Boost Max frequency, yet the P-cores can be pushed to 4.9 GHz, and the E-cores to 3.6 GHz on max 150 W TDP. MSRP is US$289 for the K models, and US$264 for the KF models, or US$27 over the Rocket Lake predecessors.
Performance-wise, Intel only shows how the i9-12900K models fare against their rocket lake predecessors and the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. The list of 9 games chosen for the comparison is a bit unconventional with titles like Crysis Remastered, Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, Grid 2019 and Troy: A Total War Saga. The i9-12900K is only 3% slower in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and on par in Crysis Remastered, but otherwise manages to outperform the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in 7 titles with performance gains between 8% and 30%. Also of note here, the Alder Lake processors were coupled to DDR5-4400 RAM, while the other two models were coupled to DDR4-3200 RAM.
There is another slide that shows how the Alder Lake processor outperforms the Rocket Lake one by up to 60% in select games. When it comes to content creation, Alder Lake outperforms the Rocket Lake predecessor by 32% in Adobe Premiere Pro, by 36% in Lightroom Classic and by as much as 100% in After Effects Pulse.
All the new Alder Lake processors are now available for pre-orders, but will only ship after November 4.