Intel 12th Generation Processor (Alder Lake) – Specification, Availability, and Performance Benchmark
- New Hybrid architecture featuring Performance and Efficiency core
- Launched six new unlocked & overclockable K and KF series processors
- Introducing XMP 3.0 with DDR5 RAM Support
- PCI-E Gen 5 Support
- Next Gen Z690 Motherboards
Intel hosted an event on October 27 – the ‘Intel Innovation’ and launched the new 12th Gen Alder Lake processor for Gaming, workstation, and desktop PCs. A perfect time to launch a new CPU architecture.
However, the company has not launched all the processors at the event and unveiled only six new chipsets for K and KF series with Core i9, Core i7, and Core i5. Intel will launch the 12th Gen Core i3 and other processors later.
It is an important launch for Intel as it is losing desktop processor market share to AMD, thanks to the Ryzen 5000 series.
AMD wins hands-down when we compare the Intel 11th Gen Vs. AMD Ryzen 5000 series and this new launch may help Intel get back in the lead.
Notably, the AMD Ryzen 5000 series is based on the 7 nm manufacturing process, and Intel’s new 12th Gen processors will be the first to use the 10 nm process for desktop processors.
Technologically, the AMD Ryzen 5000 series have a process superiority. However, Intel optimizes the architecture to manage the performance and thermal efficiency.
Let’s look at the specifications and details of the new Alder Lake Intel processors.
Alder Lake – Intel 12th gen processor is based on the hybrid architecture – first hybrid x86 architecture. All the chipset will be manufactured on the 10 nm process. This process is renamed as – ‘Intel 7’ process. Which I believe is the most misleading way to advertise these new processors by the company.
When the system requires maximum performance, the Performance cores are at work whereas. The Efficient cores will carry out the low-level background tasks.
Intel is moving to an all-new hybrid design that sports both the performance core (P-Cores) and efficient core (E-Cores) on a single chip. The performance cores have a bigger, wider, and deeper design with more cache and enhanced features.
The company claims to have a 19% IPC improvement in performance compared to the previous Cove cores used in Rocket Lake.
On the other hand, the Efficient Cores are smaller in die space and more effective in power consumption.
According to Intel, efficient cores are specially designed for background applications. Also, these cores may work more efficiently for some applications enhancing multi-thread performance.
In addition, each of the Performance core offers a 1.25 MB L2 cache while the group of 4 Efficient cores has a 2 MB L2 cache.
Also, it offers up to 30 MB of L3 cache. Here, the cache memory is almost double from the previous Rocket Lake chipset.
Intel has also incorporated Thread Director. This technology will work in Windows 11 by allocating tasks to the specific cores.
Intel 12th gen CPUs are the first to use the DDR5 RAM with the new XMP 3.0 technology.
All the models bring the overclocking utility. The K-SKUs come with integrated XE-based Intel UHD 770 Graphics.
Each variant supports DDR5 (4800 MHz) and DDR4 (3200 MHz) memory and allows for overclocking.
However, we can not use both DDR4 and DDR5 Ram together. So, while purchasing the motherboard, you will have to choose accordingly.
Intel Alder Lake processor will use the new LGA 1700 socket and, of course, will switch to the new chipset – Z690. We can expect new motherboards from various manufacturers soon.
Moreover, it supports PCIe 5.0, the first-ever chipsets to use it. The switch from PCI-E 4 to PCI-E 5 has not taken too long, and this will help optimize performance for some of the extreme PC builds.
The chip has 20 PCIe lanes in total, comprising 16 * PCIe 5.0 and 4 * PCIe 4.0.
Alder Lake offers lots of features for the overclockers as the new chipset lets you control the core ratios for both cores. Also, it provides control over BCLK and cache frequency. All this will be available through the Intels’ Extreme Tuning Utility.
Intel brings thermal improvements via package optimization. The company gives it the name ‘thick IHS+thin STIM’ design. This design has a 25% thinner die, 15% thinner solder thermal interface, and thicker IHS.
Interestingly, Intel has depreciated the TDP in processor base power and maximum turbo power. For the best performance, all the K- SKU processors will use default power mode by running the CPU at its maximum turbo power.
Alder Lake Processor Details:
Intel unveiled six new 12th Generation Alder lake processors that include – Core i9 – 12900K/ 12900KF, Core i7 – 12700K/ 12700KF, and Core i5 – 12600K/ 12600KF.
Firstly, the Core i9 processor is fully unlocked. It has 8 Performance cores and 8 Efficient cores with 24 threads and 30 MB L3 cache.
Secondly, the Core i7 comes with 12 cores, i.e., 8 Performance cores and 4 Efficient cores. It has a 25 MB L3 cache and 20 threads.
Thirdly, the Core i5 has ten cores in total which includes 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores. It has 16 threads and a 20 MB L3 cache.
Notably, only the performance cores are capable of multi-threading. The split-core design also has a base, boost, and maximum clock speed for both P-cores and E-cores.
Alder Lake Performance:
As we can see from the above graph, the 12th gen Intel processor gains significantly in Gaming performance over the Intel 11th Generation and AMD Ryzen 5950X.
However, these benchmarks are shared by Intel and are run on Windows 11 that had a performance issue with Ryzen 5000 series that is just resolved. More independent benchmarks down the line will tell us a more truthful story.
It is worth noting that Intel 12th Gen comes with efficiency cores, whereas AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors come with all performance cores that can, in theory, offer superior performance.
Intel claims that Intel 12th gen Alder Lake processors are the world’s best for Gaming.
When running nearly 31 games on Alder Lake Intel Core i9- 12900K with 1080p high setting and GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, it shows 13% faster performance than the 11900K CPU.
According to the company, the new 12th gen has 28% more performance gain in a single threading process from its predecessors.
Indeed, the Core i9-12900K is proficient in multi-threading at 241W and is 1.5x more in performance. As per Intel, this processor will gain 30% faster multi-threading performance than the Rocket lake at 250W.
Availability and Pricing:
The pre-orders are already started, and the newly arrived Alder Lake processor will be available from November 4.
Intel has priced the Alder Lake Core i9-12900K (16 cores) at $589 (nearly Rs. 52,000) and Core i9-12900KF at $ 565 (approx Rs. 50250). This price is lower than the AMD’s Ryzen 5950X (16 cores), with an MRP of $800 (approx. Rs. 70250).
Further, the Core i7-12700KF has a price tag of $384 (approx. Rs. 50250), which is mostly the same as the current price of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.
Lastly, Alder Lake Core i5-12600KF comes with a price tag of $264 (approx. Rs. 23250). This price is lower than that of AMD Ryzen 5 5600X.
The higher upgrade cost for most gamers would be to buy the new DDR5 Ram and the new Intel Z690 motherboard.
Also, it will be a sensible choice to wait for Independent benchmarks rather than getting carried away in the hype.
Intel Alder Lake 12th Gen Benchmark Vs AMD Ryzen 5000
Let’s check out some of the key benchmarks across Gaming, Productivity (Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro), Synthetic Benchmarks like CineBench. I have shared the source of the benchmarks at the end of the article.
Intel’s new processor supports the latest DDR5 Ram, whereas the AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor is compatible with only the DDR4 Ram.
Notably, to get the best out of Intel’s 12th gen processors, you need to purchase a Z690 motherboard and expensive DDR5 memory.
As we mentioned before in the article, Alder Lake supports both DDR4 and DDR5. Let’s start with the Gaming Benchmarks.
Gaming Benchmark: AMD Ryzen 5900X, 5600X, Intel 12900K, 12600K, 11900K
The below table contains the benchmark data of 5 games. The settings enabled to high for all the games at 1080p resolution. Let’s have a look.
|Games||Core i9-12900K||Core i5-12600K||Ryzen 9 5950X||Ryen 9 5900X||Ryzen 5 5600X||Core i9-11900K|
|Forza Horizon 4||234||228||217||211||207||203|
|Far Cry 6||141||138||123||127||115||123|
|Flight Simulator 2020||84||82||77||86||82||77|
New Intel Processors, 12600K, and the 12900K lead the charts in most titles and are ahead by 5-15%.
Starting with the F1 2021 – we can see from the data that the Alder Lake Core i9 is about 5-10% faster than the Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 5 5600X.
Next on the list is the Forza Horizon 4; Intel is 8-11% ahead of the Ryzen competitor.
In Far Cry 6, Intel’s 12th Gen Core i9 is up to 25% faster than the Ryzen 5000 series CPU. Also, it never falls below 100 frames/ seconds.
While the Core i5 is also ahead when compared to Ryzen 5600X by almost 10-15%. Team Blue can’t be more proud.
In the Microsoft Flight Simulator, AMD is slightly running faster than Intel’s Alder Lake.
However, this could be an instance of the Windows 11 scheduler as here 12th Gen Core i9 is a little less dominating, and it is unexpected.
Lastly, the Counter-Strike: GO with 12th Gen Core i9 runs with much faster frame rates than the Ryzen 9 5950X.
From the above graph of overall gaming benchmark, it’s clear that the Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K leads by 7% than the AMD Ryzen 9 (5900X or the 5950X) processors, whereas the below graph depicts that the Alder Lake Core i5-12600K leads in overall comparison with Ryzen 5 5600X.
Games are primarily reliant on Single-Core performance. The Intel 12600k and the 12900K are superior to the AMD offering as far as Single-Core or Gaming performance is concerned.
Let’s look at the Cinebench-R23 scores and see how AMD and Intel perform in the Single and Multi-Core performance.
Application Benchmark: CineBench R23 – AMD Ryzen 5900X, 5600X, Intel 12900K, 12600K, 11900K, 5950X, 11600K
As the Cinebench score tends to scale with the core’s count, here again, the leading processor is Intel’s newly launched 12th Gen Core i9 chipset.
For Intel, the single & multi-threaded (paired with the DDR5 memory) score is better than the Ryzen 5000 series processors (paired with the DDR4 memory).
The 12th gen Core i9-12900K beats the Ryzen 9 5900X by 20% and Ryzen 9 5950X by 17% in single-threading performance.
Indeed, again, it’s a win-win situation for Team Blue in single-thread benchmarking. Intel has taken back the crown in Single-threaded performance from the AMD Ryzen 5000 series chipsets.
The 12th gen Core i5-12600K chipset is beating the 5600X by an enormous margin of 63% in the multi-core test and is ahead by 20% in the Single-Core performance.
Before the arrival of 12600K, the Ryzen 5600X was the best processor for most gamers and even content creators not looking to overspend. But, boy-o-boy the 12600K is amazing with it’s 10 Cores and 20 threads it beats the crap out of AMD Ryzen 5600X.
In addition, in multi-threading, 12600K beats even the expensive Ryzen 7 5800X with a respective margin.
Compared with the 11th gen Core i5-11600K CPU, the 12600K is a few generations ahead. It is 61% faster in multi-core performance, pretty impressive!
On the other hand, the 12900K with DDR5, 16-core, and 24 threads, is 3.9% faster than the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in multi-threading tasks. Though, it’s a tight competition between these two.
I was surprised to see 12900K beat the Ryzen 5950X in the multi-core test as I was not expecting much from the efficiency cores. But these are holding on well and churning some serious performance numbers. On Single-Core, I was sure Intel would lead, but multi-core enhancements are a bit surprising for a chip made with a 10Nm manufacturing process.
However, the bigger surprise of the lot is 10 Core Intel 12th Gen 12600K. It is a crazy value for money and brings high-end performance to the mid-range segment. For years we were stuck on four or max six cores processors for the i5 or Ryzen 5, but 10 cores that offer incredible performance is a true generation leap.
However, there are specific applications such as 7-Zip where AMD Ryzen 5800X is ahead of the Intel 12600K by about 15%, and even the Ryzen 5900X is also ahead of the
Adobe Premiere Pro Performance Comparison – AMD Ryzen 5900X, 5950X, 3950X, Intel 12900K, 11900K
For the Puget Systems Benchmark, the 12900K with DDR5 Ram leads the charts with a score of 933, followed by AMD 5950X and others.
The Adobe Premiere performance scales well with the number of cores, and the 12900K is the best.
Even the 12 Core 12700k is ahead of the 16 core AMD Ryzen 5950X and the 12600K comes very close to the 5900X.
Adobe Photoshop Performance Comparison – AMD Ryzen 5900X, 5950X, 3950X, Intel 12900K, 11900K
When we talk about Adobe Photoshop, the Intel 12900k leads the charts, followed by the 12700K and AMD 5950X.
The Intel 12600K is ahead of the AMD Ryzen 5800X thanks to the 10 Core design.
Overall the new Intel processors are impressive and offer a solid performance upgrade over the Intel 11th Gen Processors and AMD Ryzen 5000 series for most applications.
Power Consumption and Heat
How can I not talk about the power draw and efficiency of these processors?
For Gaming, the power draw for the 12900K or the 12700K stays within the said limits – 120 Watts to 145 Watts maximum, but specific Applications tend to bring out the worst in terms of power draw.
Have a look at the power consumption when using the blender. AMD processors are miles ahead of Intel in power consumption under peak load.
For Gaming and other tasks, it is not a worry, but for some workloads, this can lead to higher temps and may also impact the longevity of these processors.
Power Draw When Using Handbrake Power Converting 1.5 GB.MKV File to.MP4
|Processor||Power Draw (Avg Watts)|
|Ryzen 5 – 5600X||75|
|Ryzen 7- 5800X||112|
|Ryzen 9- 5950X||124|
|Core i5-12600K DDR4||125|
|Core i5-12600K DDR5||126|
|Ryzen 9- 5900X||136|
|Core i9-12900K DDR4||213|
|Core i9-12900K DDR5||224|
The 12900K draws as much as 224 Watts under load, whereas the 5950X uses only 124 Watts. This is interesting and tilts the efficiency scales towards AMD.
The 12600K stays between 60 to 70 degrees Celsius while gaming or when doing productivity work, but the Intel Core i9 can reach over 90 degrees even after using an excellent processor cooler.
Does the Intel 12900K run Hot?
Anything that draws that much power is bound to heat causes more heating to your room and increasing your electricity bill.
For creative workloads where you may be doing a lot of rendering, a 5950X could be a better choice than the 12900K, or you may want to invest in a suitable liquid cooling solution to keep the temps in check.
So, that’s all from my side; if you have any thoughts or comments, please share them in the comments section below.
Source – Intel Newsroom
Written By – Heena Makwana and Edited by Kanuj Sharma
FAQs – About Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processor
1). Does the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processor Require a New Motherboard?
Ans – Yes, you will need a new motherboard like a Z690 to work with the 12th Gen Intel Alderlake processor. The new motherboard comes with the Intel LGA 1700 socket for the Alder lake. The Intel 11th Gen processor came with the LGA 1200 socket and is incompatible with the 12th Gen processors.
2). Do you need DDR5 Ram or DDR4 will work with the Intel Alder Lake 12th Gen Processors or LGA 1700 Z690 motherboards?
Ans – You can either use the DDR4 Ram or the DDR5 Ram with the Intel 12th Gen Processors and LGA 1700 motherboards. But you can mix-match DDR4 and DDR5 Ram and run them together even if they have the same speed.
Benchmark and Data Source: