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Power-guzzling Intel Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K smash through Apple M1 barrier in PassMark's desktop CPU single-thread benchmark

Alder Lake vs. Apple Silicon: PassMark CPU Mark chart is headed by the i9-12900K and i5-12600K. (Image source: Intel/Apple/PassMark - edited)
Alder Lake vs. Apple Silicon: PassMark CPU Mark chart is headed by the i9-12900K and i5-12600K. (Image source: Intel/Apple/PassMark - edited)
The Intel Core i9-12900K and Intel Core i5-12600K have become the new leaders of the PassMark CPU Mark desktop single-thread performance chart. The Alder Lake processors managed to overcome the wall of Apple M1 chips that previously headed the table, and both the power-hungry i9-12900K and i5-12600K reached scores of over 4,000 points.

Alder Lake has shown some serious performance chops on PassMark with the Intel Core i9-12900K and Intel Core i5-12600K soaring to new heights on the CPU Mark desktop single-thread performance chart. For many months this table had been topped by the Apple M1 SoC, which finally relinquished its position to fellow Apple Silicon recently in the forms of the M1 Pro (8-core and 10-core) and the M1 Max. We speculated how long the new M1 variants would last at the top of the CPU Mark chart, opining that the i9-12900K and i5-12600K could do some damage…and they have.

The all-conquering single-core/single-thread speed demon that is the Intel Core i9-12900K has taken up the top position in the desktop chart, with an astonishing score of 4,255 points. This is only based on the testing of four samples so the margin for error is still high, although that also means the score could even get higher, which is what happened with the Apple M1 earlier this year. The i9-12900K’s score places it +9.69% ahead of the nearest Apple Silicon rival, the 10-core M1 Pro.

Arguably the star of the show here is actually the Intel Core i5-12600K, especially as its MSRP of US$289 is so much lower than the US$589 MSRP listed for the i9-12900K, which is actually selling in some places for nearly US$900. The score for the i5-12600K is a very credible 4,067 points, although the margin for error here is even higher as it is based on a single sample appearance. The 10-core Alder Lake part has a significant turbo boost advantage over the Apple Silicon and can reach a 4.9 GHz clock rate.

While the chart looks very healthy for Alder Lake, and it certainly seems like an incredible initial appearance by the Intel Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K on the surface, there is one factor that cannot be ignored – power draw. Although the individual PassMark records for the M1 Pro and M1 Max don’t mention TDP (M1 is listed at 15.1 W), a thorough examination courtesy of AnandTech has shown that single-thread workloads don’t require much power at all and the highest draw was 92 W in a CPU/GPU stress test (M1 Max in MacBook Pro 16). The i5-12600K has a recorded typical TDP of 150 W and the i9-12900K hits 241 W according to their PassMark listings.

Buy the Intel Core i5-12600K or Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon

CPU Mark single-thread performance chart - desktop. (Image source: PassMark)
CPU Mark single-thread performance chart - desktop. (Image source: PassMark)

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Daniel R Deakin
Daniel R Deakin - Managing Editor News - 2697 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 11 > Power-guzzling Intel Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K smash through Apple M1 barrier in PassMark's desktop CPU single-thread benchmark
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-11- 7 (Update: 2021-11- 7)