Core i9 12900K processor review

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Core i9 12900K review
8x BIG and 8x Little

Heck yeah; meet Intel's new flagship processor, the Core i9 12900K. It is based on the Alder Lake architecture and is reviewed here. This time around, Intel has been back at the drawing board, creating a completely new architecture that appears to work as advertised as it's fast alright. Combined with a platform that is poised for the future with its incredibly fast performance, DDR5 memory, and PCIe Gen 5.0 interface. Alder Lake architecture is interesting in many ways, in contrast to AMD's products it actually is a monolithic chip with no separated components. As a result, large performance and small energy-friendly cores are both located on the same chip. Alder Lake should result in an IPC improvement of approximately 19 percent, which is comparable to Skylake's relocation to Sunny Cove. of course we'll learn all about it today in this review.

BIG versus little (Alder Lake)

As an alternative to Intel's previous releases, which focused solely on single-core and gaming performance, Alder Lake puts the company fully back in the multi-core ring, led by a squad of sixteen-core goliaths built on Intel's transistor-dense 10-nanometer manufacturing process. But this time, Intel delivers its own interpretation of the term BIG.little. We'll talk a little more about it on the next pages. This article covers the mighly Core i9 12900K:

  • Cores 16 (8+8)
  • Threads 24 (16+8)

Intel will release a few product SKUs today, we review the 12900K as well as the 12600K. The Core i9 12900K is based on a 16 (8+8) Golden Cove + Gracemont (hybrid-Design) core design, that's 8 performance cores (threaded to 16) and 8 energy-friendly cores. All manufacturers with Intel's 7 (10nm Enhanced SuperFin) node. With a base clock of 3.20GHz, a Turbo Clock 5.30GHz (1 core), and 5.00GHz (all cores) the processor is poised to impress combined with the new IPC improvements and faster ecosystem. Of course, it's not just about the processor, but rather the entire ecosystem and infrastructure. Connecting through DMI 4.0, 16GT/s (PCIe 4.0 x8) the new Z690 chipset (motherboards) offers a choice between DDR5 and DDR4 memory configurations.  DDR5 and PCIe Express 5.0 are among the first-ever for intel products (16x PCIe 5.0, 4x PCIe 4.0). While the adoption of PCIe 5.0 may take some time, DDR5 memory is however is here, for the most majority of users, it will have a greater impact on their day-to-day computing speed.  The combination of all that memory bandwidth, faster infrastructure, and the new processors are bound to bring lots of performance towards end-users in the creative and gaming field. We can already tell you, performance will not disappoint. Intel will release a number of processors for the Desktop today. 

  • Core i9 12900K costs $589
  • Core i9 12900KF costs $564 
  • Core i7 12700K costs $409
  • Core i7 12700KF costs $384
  • Core i5 12600K costs $289
  • Core i5 12600KF costs $264

The KF model has its integrated graphics disabled. Big and little cores, yeah you better get used to that. According to Intel, the primary consideration in making this decision was to maximize both performance per watt and overall performance. You should be aware that four E cores can be squeezed into the same silicon footprint as a single P core while yielding a combined 60 percent increase in multi-threaded throughput. For the Golden Cove architecture and its bursty, high-frequency approach, P cores appear to be particularly well suited for single- or low-thread applications. E cores work better together to assist push peak performance in programs that can take advantage of a large number of threads to their maximum potential. Every chip released today has 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes, which can be used for either graphics or storage, though it should be noted that there are presently no devices that implement the specification. Furthermore, as previously stated, motherboards will support either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, with native speeds of 3,200MHz or 4,800MHz, respectively, depending on the model. Once overclocking is started, you may expect both sets of frequencies to rise significantly higher. With the Z690, you get an additional 28 extension lanes, with 12 of them being PCIe 4.0. Given the fact that this is a brand-new platform, this feels a little stringy. You should expect to see a lot of Z690 boards featuring at least three high-speed (PCIe 4.0) NVMe storage slots, which will be similar to what is available on AMD's X570 board. Aside from the CPU, there is little information available on the built-in graphics that is based on Xe technology. ity can support up to 32 Execution Units on the desktop, performance should be comparable to that of Rocket Lake's purportedly similar integrated graphics processor.


We have a lot to talk about and to explain, let's had on over into the article, where we'll start off with a bit more information bout the architecture that is Alder lake, the initial processors released, and of course a full test of the processor. This article covers the Core i9 12900K, the flagship processor.

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