Intel Core i9-12900K Review

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Verdict

The Intel Core i9-12900K is an outstanding high-end CPU, with Intel offering typically high unmarried-core speeds while also seeing a major boost to multi-threaded workloads to claiming AMD’south Ryzen range. Top it off with superb hereafter-proofing past mode of PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, and you lot have a fantastic chip that offers fantabulous jack-of-all-trades performance.

Pros

  • Huge gains in multi-core performance
  • Most powerful gaming CPU operation
  • Very good for streaming games
  • Future-proofed with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5

Cons

  • Expensive
  • High meridian temperature
  • Merely slightly ameliorate than i5 for gaming

Availability

  • USA
    RRP: $589

Primal Features


  • 12th Gen Intel Core compages
    The new Alder Lake compages boosts performance, while using ii different types of cores to improve efficiency.

  • sixteen cores and 24 threads
    With so many cores and threads, this processor excels at multi-threaded workloads and juggling multiple tasks.

  • Support for DDR5 and PCIe five.0
    By supporting the latest technology, this bit raises the performance ceiling of your entire system.

Introduction

Intel’south new range of 12th Gen desktop processors is finally here, with the Intel Core i9-12900K beingness the most powerful of the lot.

Intel claims information technology’s the “world’s best gaming processor”, with the Alder Lake architecture providing a heave to the single-core performance. The number of cores has also been increased to 16, while back up for the likes of DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 also heighten the performance ceiling of your overall rig to dizzying new heights.

Just the most exciting feature here is arguably the new ‘hybrid architecture’ the fleck is built on, with Intel using two different types of cores to brand its processors smarter at juggling multiple tasks simultaneously.

This is comfortably one of the most heady desktop processors that Intel has launched for a long, long time. Merely can its operation justify that lofty price?

Specs

  • New Alder Lake architecture provides large performance gains
  • Mix of P-cores and E-cores improves CPU’s efficiency
  • Supports new engineering science such every bit DDR5 and PCIe 5.0

The Intel Core i9-12900K processor is based on Intel’southward new 12th Generation Intel Core architecture, which is also known equally Alder Lake.

New generations of processor architecture normally only offering improved performance efficiency and support for new features, only Intel has gone a step further with Alder Lake by introducing a revolutionary new ‘hybrid’ design.

This means the specs included in the tabular array below don’t tell the fill up story almost the Cadre i9-12900K’southward upgraded performance.

Additional Clock Speed

Base Clock Speed

Architecture

Number of Cores

Number of Threads

Intel Core i9-12900K

v.xx GHz

3.xx GHz

12th Gen Intel Cadre (Alder Lake)

16

24

Intel Core i5-12600K

four.ninety GHz

3.70 GHz

Intel Cadre 12th Generation

10

16

Intel Core i9-11900K

5.30 GHz

three.50 GHz

Intel Core tenth Generation

8

xvi

Intel Cadre i5-11600K

4.9 GHz

3.9 GHz

Intel Core 11th Generation

vi

12

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

iv.7 GHz

iii.8 GHz

Ryzen 5000

8

16

Rather than using the same type of core throughout, Intel uses a mix of Operation cores (P-cores) and Efficient cores (East-cores). The one-time excel at single-core workloads, while the latter specialise at multi-threaded tasks. The i9-12900K currently packs the almost cores of the Alder Lake range, with 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores resulting in 16 cores and 24 threads.

This new hybrid design, paired with the intelligence of Intel Thread Director, enables the Intel CPU to assign workloads to the core best suited for the chore. Such a design doesn’t necessarily upshot in more than powerful cores, only it certainly makes the chip more efficient – call up of it like a well-coached football team.

Intel claims this hybrid pattern is particularly useful when juggling intensive tasks with other workloads. Intel used the example of streaming or recording a game, with the East-cores jumping in to accept on such trivial background workloads and taking the pressure level off the P-cores that are focusing on offering the best possible gaming functioning.

Intel Core i9-12900K

These P-cores apparently see a 19% functioning uplift for unmarried-core performance compared to 11th Generation architecture. This is peculiarly important for workloads such every bit gaming, and likely the reason Intel is able to telephone call this the “globe’s all-time gaming processor”.

The new Alder Lake compages also enables the i9-12900K chip to support the likes of DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0. The sometime allows your organisation to make apply of the adjacent generation of RAM, while the latter doubles the bandwidth for the likes of SSDs, which tin significantly better the loading times of a game. Of grade, you’ll need to buy the relevant hardware in order to brand use of these new upgrades.

The unfortunate side of all of these next-gen upgrades is that Alder Lake processors use a new Z690 chipset, which means you lot’ll need to buy a brand-new motherboard to accommodate the i9-12900K. This inflates the cost further, especially if you want to buy a motherboard that’s compatible with DDR5 memory.

Test setup

  • Maintained consequent specs across PC builds where possible
  • Used DDR5 retention with Intel 12th Gen rig
  • Used both synthetic tests and in-game benchmarks

In order to ensure a fair exam, I benchmarked every processor using the aforementioned components as possible. Of course, I had to use different motherboards when swapping between processors, and the twelfth Gen Intel motherboard I called for testing only supports DDR5 memory.

This means I had to swap between DDR4 and DDR5 memory while testing. This potentially means some of the performance improvements may be partly due to the DDR5 memory upgrade rather than just the improvements to the CPU. However, I did make sure that both the DDR4 and DDR5 RAM share the aforementioned 16GB memory capacity.

You can see the PC builds I used for testing below:

  • Intel Motherboard:
    ROG Maximus XIII Hero (11th Gen) / ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi (twelfth Gen)
  • AMD Motherboard: TUF Gaming X570-Plus Wi-Fi
  • RAM:
    Corsair Vengeance, 16GB DDR4 / Adata, 16GB DDR5 (Intel 12th Gen)
  • GPU:
    Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
  • Cooler:
    Corsair Hydro Serial H150i PRO RGB 360mm liquid cooler
  • OS:
    Windows xi

Information technology was as well important to use a broad variety of benchmark tests, with the likes of Geekbench 5 and PCMark 10 for overall CPU performance and Cinebench R23 for creative applications.

Of course, these are artificial benchmark tests that don’t ever replicate real-time operation. For this reason, I also fabricated certain to pick a broad selection of games to test the processors, including quondam games such as 2022’s Dirt Rally, and more than mod releases such every bit 2022’south port of Horizon Zero Dawn.

Every game was tested with the max preset graphics settings, with the likes of Borderlands iii, Horizon Zero Dawn and Dirt Rally tested at multiple resolutions: 1080p, 1440p and 4K. Bank check out all of the findings beneath.

Performance

  • Best gaming performance seen in a CPU all the same
  • Intel Core i5 offered similar gaming operation
  • Massive gains in multi-threaded performance

Intel has chosen its new i9-12900K processor the “world’s all-time gaming processor” – but after finishing my benchmark tests, I recollect such a claim is actually underselling the flagship chip.

The gains in single-core performance are undeniably impressive, resulting in sizable frame rate boosts for the majority of games I tested. But information technology’s the improvements to the multi-core performance that impressed the almost, with both Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23 seeing results that are almost twice every bit good equally what the i9-11900K offers.

This makes the Intel Core i9-12900K one of the most powerful and versatile processors around, despite seeing a very similar peak ability describe as its predecessor.

The only downside I encountered during testing is that the processor can accomplish loftier temperatures under stress. This may mean y’all’ll need to invest in a more powerful cooler to maximise the operation ability of this chip. However, it’s a worthwhile expense for a processor that packs such powerful performance while also being future-proofed for the foreseeable time to come.

Curlicue downwards for a more than detailed wait at the benchmark results.

PCMark 10 Extended

Intel Core i9-12900K

9966

Intel Cadre i5-12600K

9470

Intel Core i9-11900K

9778

Intel Cadre i5-11600K

9177

The PCMark 10 Extended benchmark test provides a holistic view of your organisation’s performance, evaluating everything from productivity and content creation to gaming.

The Intel Core i9-12900K saw a issue of 9966, which is a decent reward over the 9778 score of the i9-11900K, and a massive increase on the Intel i5-11600K. Given the improvements that the Alder Lake architecture brings, it’s no surprise to run into the Intel Core i9-12900K performing and then well here.

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

Intel Core i9-12900K

1899

16810

Intel Core i5-12600K

1742

12049

Intel Core i9-11900K

1740

9823

Intel Core i5-11600K

1647

7602

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

1585

9028

Geekbench 5 focuses more on CPU speeds, while also splitting up the single-cadre and multi-core performance. This is a particularly interesting benchmark for Alder Lake, with Intel previously excelling at single-cadre functioning, but lagging behind AMD for multi-core.

It was no surprise to come across the i9-1200K top the leaderboard for single-core performance in tests, but the margin was all the same impressive. It was the multi-core result that really wowed me, seeing most a 100% improvement over the i9-11900K.

This proves that the Intel Core i9-1200K isn’t just a one-trick pony similar previous Intel chips, instead offering all-circular performance that should be able to rush through whatsoever workload.

Cinebench R23

Intel Core i9-12900K

26503

Intel Core i5-12600K

16892

Intel Core i9-11900K

13814

Intel Core i5-11600K

10904

Cinebench R23 is a similar test to Geekbench 5 in that it measures both unmarried-core and multi-cadre performance. However, it also simulates more taxing workloads on the processor to encounter how it would perform in demanding content-creation applications.

As expected, it conquered the single-core test, but we too saw it evangelize an impressive performance lead over Intel’s 11th Generation processors when it came to multi-cadre functioning.

This indicates that the Intel Core i9-12900K is a superb processor for content cosmos. Unfortunately, I oasis’t been able to test the Ryzen ix 5950X for comparison, which is AMD’southward best consumer chip for such workloads, but I’ll be updating this review as before long as I go my easily on it.

Horizon Nada Dawn

Horizon Nada Dawn frame rate (4K)

Horizon Zippo Dawn frame charge per unit (Quad HD)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Total HD)

Intel Cadre i9-12900K

54 fps

95 fps

117 fps

Intel Cadre i5-12600K

54 fps

95 fps

116 fps

Intel Core i9-11900K

53 fps

88 fps

99 fps

Intel Core i5-11600K

53 fps

92 fps

108 fps

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

54 fps

91 fps

92 fps

Horizon Zero Dawn is a modern PC that’southward pretty enervating on your system, and then a proficient option for the benchmark tests. The i9-12900K performed very well here, with a 117fps performance at 1080p, and 54fps at 4K when paired with the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti.

Those were the best results in the test group, although information technology was frequently on a par with the cheaper i5-12600K processor. Nonetheless, its lead over 11th Gen Intel processors was nonetheless very impressive, seeing an 18fps comeback compared to the i9-11900K.

Clay Rally

Dirt Rally (4K)

Dirt Rally (Quad Hd)

Dirt Rally (Full Hard disk drive)

Intel Core i9-12900K

99 fps

172 fps

230 fps

Intel Core i5-12600K

99 fps

172 fps

220 fps

Intel Core i9-11900K

99 fps

169 fps

208 fps

Intel Cadre i5-11600K

98 fps

167 fps

187 fps

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

95 fps

158 fps

203 fps

Clay Rally launched all the way dorsum in 2022, so is a adept instance of less demanding games that were released a number of years ago. The Intel Cadre i9-12900K saw a massive leap in power, with a 230fps functioning at a 1080p resolution compared to the 208fps performance of the Intel Core i9-11900K – that’southward a 27fps departure.

Of grade, when you crank up the resolution to 4K, the performance increase is minimal – both the i9-12900K and i9-11900K scored 99fps in the Dirt Rally 4K test. This emphasises that for a significant boost at Ultra HD resolutions, yous’ll ideally need to upgrade your GPU rather than your CPU.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 frame rate (4K)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full Hard disk)

Intel Cadre i9-12900K

41 fps

74

104

Intel Core i5-12600K

41 fps

74

102

Intel Core i9-11900K

74 fps

115

120

Intel Core i5-11600K

74 fps

73

95

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

41 fps

74

108

Borderlands 3 is another modern game that’s very demanding on your PC, and proved to be the ane black mark on the i9-12900K’south record. The new Intel chip scored 104fps and 41fps in the 1080p and 4K tests respectively. In comparison, the Intel i9-11900K scored 120fps and 74fps – which meant that, bizarrely, information technology outperformed the new twelfth Gen processor.

How is this possible? Well, information technology likely comes down to driver support. Intel has revealed information technology has encountered some early compatibility issues with select games. These have mostly been addressed via game patches and Windows updates, but some games are still waiting for updates. I’chiliad assuming Borderlands three is one of those games.

I’chiliad confident that Intel will address these issues very soon, and it’s understandable that new drivers are needed since the likes of the hybrid compages and DDR5 retentiveness are and then cutting-edge. Nevertheless, it’southward something to be mindful nearly if you desire to upgrade to Alder Lake every bit soon as possible.

Full War: Warhammer ii

Warhammer 2: Campaign (in FPS) Warhammer 2: Battle (in FPS)
Intel i9-12900K 62.7 49.2
Intel i5-12600K 62.7 49.2
Intel i9-11900K 61.six 48.4
Intel i5-11600K 61.8 48.2
Ryzen 7 5800X 61.8 46.7

I included Total State of war: Warhammer two in our criterion tests to ensure I had a representative for strategy games. The i9-12900K was the most powerful processor in the grouping test, but just saw marginal gains over its 11th Gen predecessors.

Admittedly, I set the resolution to 4K for both the campaign and battle benchmarks, then the less-than-impressive gains are likely due to that high resolution – only a GPU tin really provide a substantial boost when playing at Ultra Hard disk resolutions.

Civilisation VI

Civilization VI (Turn Time in seconds)
Intel i9-12900K half dozen.85
Intel i5-12600K vi.90
Intel i9-11900K 6.92
Intel i5-11600K seven.07
Ryzen vii 5800X 6.83

Civilization VI differs from the other in-game benchmark tests here, since it measures ‘plow fourth dimension’ instead of frame rate functioning. This refers to the time it takes for the AI to make its calculations in-between turns, with the speed dependent on the CPU performance.

Since we’re talking about plough fourth dimension, the lower result is amend, and the Intel Core i9-12900K offered the quickest speeds with a 6.85-2d boilerplate. The Intel Core i9-11900K was only marginally slower with a 6.92-second result, just information technology nonetheless reinforces the indicate that the Intel Cadre i9-12900K is the most powerful gaming processor you lot tin currently purchase.

Power consumption and heat

  • Loftier power consumption, but similar to 11th Gen
  • Runs noticeably hot under stress

The i9-12900K is a seriously powerful processor, merely how does it fare in terms of power consumption? It’south certainly a power hog, consuming more power than whatsoever of the other processors on test – only it didn’t consume quite as much ability every bit you might wait.

Idle power describe Peak power draw
Intel i9-12900K 69.ane W 335.v West
Intel i5-12600K 65.5 W 195.6 Westward
Intel i9-11900K 67.seven W 330 W
Intel i5-11600K 65.5 W 201.four Westward
Ryzen 7 5800X 66.9 W 193.4 W

The Alder Lake scrap saw an idle peak power draw of 69.1W and a peak power draw of 333.5W when running the Cinebench R23 benchmark. For comparison, the Intel Core i9-11900K saw respective results of 67.7W and 330 West. Those are very like results.

It’s impressive that Intel has been able to provide high functioning gains without cranking upwardly the power consumption. That said, you’ll however demand a adequately high-spec power supply if you’re going to pair this chip with a high-end GPU.

Idle CPU temperature Peak CPU temperature
Intel i9-12900K 28°C 97°C
Intel i5-12600K 24°C 68°C
Intel i9-11900K 29°C 75°C
Intel i5-11600K 30°C 64°C
Ryzen 7 5800X 45°C 86°C

I used the Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB 360mm liquid libation for testing every one of the 5 processors to ensure off-white results when judging CPU temperature. While the i9-12900K saw a low idle temperature, undercutting both of the 11th Gen chips, its acme temperature (during a Cinebench R23 benchmark) was a heaven-high 97.01°C.

This means you lot’ll need a powerful cooler in guild to maximise the operation power of this flake, especially when overclocking. The added outlay of a libation also potentially pushes up the total cost of the upgrade, forth with the fleck itself, Z690 motherboard and potentially also DDR5 RAM. It’s an expensive investment, only will at least ensure your system is hereafter-proofed for the foreseeable future.

Latest deals

Should you buy it?

If you want the ultimate CPU
The Intel Cadre i9-12900K is the almost powerful flake available when information technology comes to gaming, while as well offering an first-class multi-core operation to challenge AMD’s very all-time.

You only want a processor for gaming
The i5-12600K is arguably the meliorate buy for gaming, offering a like level of functioning while existence available at a far more affordable price.

Final thoughts

The i9-12900K is an outstanding processor, delivering on its promise to become the world’s most powerful consumer chip for gaming, while also seeing a massive boost in multi-threaded performance to finally challenge AMD. If you lot but need a CPU for gaming, I’d argue that the i5-12600K represents superior value, only this is still a worthwhile chip if you want a high-end processor that can do it all.

How we exam

We ever review multiple CPUs at one time to compare appointment, using consistent components for fair testing where possible.

Nosotros use a mix of both constructed and in-game benchmarks to gauge operation, while as well considering additional features and pricing.

Utilize the same components where possible for fair testing.

Use both synthetic and in-game benchmarks for testing

Test both CPU temperature and power consumption.

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FAQs

Is Core i9 expert for gaming?

The Core i9 offers excellent operation for gaming, just the i5 offers similar operation and arguably represents better value.

Is the i9-12900K overkill?

The i9-12900K is only actually worthwhile for those who want high performance in both content creation and gaming.

Is i9-12900K faster than i9-11900K?

Yes, the i9-12900K saw faster benchmark results in almost every test, with the only exception being games still waiting for a software patch.

Trusted Reviews examination data

Peak temperature

Borderlands three frame rate (4K)

Clay Rally (Full Hard disk)

Dirt Rally (Quad Hard disk drive)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full Hard disk)

Dirt Rally (4K)

Horizon Nil Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)

Horizon Goose egg Dawn frame rate (4K)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full Hd)

Borderlands three frame charge per unit (Quad HD)

Geekbench 5 multi core

Cinebench R23

Geekbench 5 single core

PCMark 10

Intel Core i9-12900K

97.01 °C

41 fps

230 fps

172 fps

117 fps

99 fps

95 fps

54 fps

104

74

16810

26503

1899

9966

Full specs

Us RRP

Manufacturer

Release Date

Showtime Reviewed Date

Boosted Clock Speed

Architecture

Base of operations Clock Speed

Number of Cores

Number of Threads

Motherboard Chipset

Graphics

Intel Cadre i9-12900K

$589

Intel

2022

04/11/2021

5.xx GHz

12th Gen Intel Core (Alder Lake)

3.20 GHz

xvi

24

Z690

Intel UHD Graphics 770

Jargon buster

DLSS

Deep learning super sampling is Nvidia’southward image upscaling technology which can improve a game’southward framerate without reducing the quality of the  visuals.

FPS

‘Framerate per 2nd’ indicates how many images are shown within one 2nd. The higher this figure, the smoother in-game motion volition appear. Powerful discrete GPUs are far more likely to offer higher framerates compared to integrated graphics housed inside processors.

Wi-Fi 6

Ane of the latest wireless standards that allows for faster speeds and better coverage when paired with compatible routers.

Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/intel-core-i9-12900k

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