Intel Core i9-12900K Gaming Performance Review: New Highs, Higher Lows

After years of delay, Intel has finally moved to a more advanced production node, bringing new levels of performance and performance to its desktop processors. As it will happen, this technological advance also coincides with the introduction of Intel’s new Hybrid architecture, which offers a combination of large cores (P) and small cores (E), all on a single die. single monolith. Codenamed “Lake Alder”, we’re seeing what’s the most interesting new generation of microprocessor from Team Blue for many years. Looks like Intel thinks so too, because they sent us 12900K for performance, features and gaming value review. And overall, we’re very impressed with it along with the rest of the 12th Gen Intel CPUs.

As we have carefully noted in our 11700K review, some of the last few generations of Intel processors offer smaller performance improvements that often come at the expense of reduced power efficiency, although a version with PCIe 4.0 support is welcome for Rocket Lake. Understandably, the last few generations of Intel don’t leave much to be desired for most gamers if they already have a six-core CPU or more. AMD has also managed to release the Ryzen 5000 Series, giving Intel fierce competition and arguably the more buy-worthy product since its late 2020 release.

However, Intel’s 12th generation is all about momentum, as Alder Lake offers a significant boost in single-threaded performance for gaming through its P cores plus a huge leap forward. on multithreaded performance thanks to the new E cores. Intel has enhanced the performance of its existing powerful CPUs by shrinking the node down to 10nm (officially known as the Intel 7) node and essentially using another integrated processor to process it. handle background tasks and support applications that benefit from more cores. For gamers, 12th Gen Intel CPUs are worth the excitement. For content creators, these CPUs are absolute game-changers.

And while there’s a lot to like about Intel’s entire new line of K-Series CPUs, you certainly don’t have to go out and buy one to enjoy most games today at base frame rates. . However, the i9 series has never really delivered a basic experience. As Intel’s latest flagship CPU, the 12900K has the potential to deliver a high-refresh experience with amazing lows of 1% and 0.1% framerate, resulting in smooth gameplay right out of the box. even when multitasking. In this review, we will look at the specifications, features, some performance benchmarks, entry costs and then make a final recommendation on whether to buy Intel 12th Gen. or not, namely i9-12900K in this case.

Key differences with Intel 12th Gen

As we mentioned, the 8 + 8 Hybrid core configuration is one of the main differentiators of the latest i9 compared to previous generations. This means that Intel uses two different types of cores on one CPU. The P cores are designed for low-latency, high-performance, gaming-related applications as far as we’re concerned. The E cores are designed to handle power efficiency-focused applications involving background processes and supporting applications such as social apps, game launchers, RGB software , recording software, tuning peripherals, etc.

P cores based on the Golden Cove architecture have also appeared on Rocket Lake’s 11th generation desktop CPUs, while the Gracemont E cores are largely new. The P cores are considered “big” cores that feature hyper-threading and high clocking as you would expect from previous generations, but the E cores are single-threaded and are smaller cores with lower clocks and instead rely on spreading the workload across multiple cores to handle tasks. Intel uses four of these E cores for the i5 model and up to eight of these on the i9. The result of the Hybrid design is a more efficient and better performing processor than Intel’s traditional all-P core approach. Along with node miniaturization, Intel is now able to deliver more efficient performance. better performance without using more energy as seen in previous generations.

Intel 12900k Gaming Performance Evaluation Cpu Benchmarks Multi-threaded

(Image credit: Intel).

Overall, this hybrid core design allows 12th Gen Intel processors to allocate more resources to produce higher frame rates while keeping systems running smoothly. To help Windows send these tasks to the right cores, Intel also created the Thread Director scheduler, designed for Windows 11. You can still use Windows 10 with 12th Gen Intel processors if you want, but Intel has optimized the design to work. Microsoft’s “latest and best” operating system.

Intel has also made some big strides in other areas with its 12th Gen CPUs. DDR5 support is optional for those looking to adopt the new specification soon, and Intel officially supports DDR5 up to 4800, while DDR4 support stays at 3200. Alder Lake CPUs on the Z690 platform also have support for DDR5. Improved PCIe 4.0 support for motherboard chipsets and PCIe 5.0 support on processors. PCIe 5.0 support extends to the top PCIe x16 slot, so future generations of graphics cards will be fully compatible with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs. Z690 PCIe 4.0 support allows for fast multiple NVME SSD installations. Yes of course many details You can dig into the features and support, but these are the ones we decided to cover as a game-focused site.

12900K specs at a glance

In addition to what we’ve discussed, Intel is also increasing L2 and L3 cache throughout the product line to improve performance. The i9-12900K has nearly twice the cache compared to the previous generation. Another thing to note is the new LGA 1700 socket, for that reason a new Z690 motherboard is required for that reason. The last item to keep in mind is power consumption. The 12900K officially tops out at 241W, a slight drop from the previous generation i9. Even so, power consumption is still high.

Handle button 10nm (Intel 7)
Sockets LGA 1700
number of cores 8 (P) + 8 (E)
# topic 24
fundamental frequency 3.2 GHz (P) / 2.4 GHz (E)
Maximum Turbo Frequency 5.2
Caching 30 MB
Maximum TDP 241W
Memory support (recommended) DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800
PCIe Specification 5.0 and 4.0
Number of PCIe lanes 20
PCIe configuration Up to 1 × 16 + 1 × 4, 2 × 8 + 4

Check system specs

Our test system consisted of a high-flow box, with all fans and liquid coolers running on the iCUE “Balanced” configuration to generate real-world performance benchmarks for the casual user. . For our testing, we used Windows 11 following Intel’s guidelines to coincide with Thread Director technology which improves utilization of the Hybrid core design. We tested the new operating system and found it to be relatively stable and perform similarly to Windows 10, so we opted to use it for this review. At the time of writing, the system also uses the latest BIOS build available from ASUS, Nvidia drivers, Windows 11 builds, game/app builds, and updated firmware for the components involved.

For the basic power and frequency settings, we allowed the ASUS ROG motherboard to deliver up to 241W to the CPU if required, enabled ASUS AI auto OC engine, enabled XMP 3.0 on memory Corsair Vengeance DDR5, resizable BAR enabled, Windows setup power plan for Performance, and selected “Priority Maximum Performance” for ASUS TUF RTX 3060 Ti OC in the Nvidia Control Panel. All other settings are set to default or automatic.

Case Corsair iCUE 5000X
CPU Intel Core i9-12900K
Motherboard ASUS ROG Z690 Strix-E Wifi
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR5 4800 64 GB
Graphics card ASUS TUF RTX 3060 Ti OC 8GB
PSU Be quiet! Pure power 11 FM 750W
Warehouse WD Blue SATA SSD (OS), WD Black SN750 PCIe 3.0 SSD, Samsung 870 QVO SATA SSD
CPU cooler Corsair H100i Elite LCD 240mm CLC (with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut)

Software can also easily skew performance data, so we held a basic profile of what our test system looked like. It’s a system of daily use, but we have carefully closed all unnecessary programs before data collection. Even so, we did intentionally leave some popular gaming apps and background processes running to simulate real-life use cases. These include important Windows 11 apps, a single tab version of Google Chrome, Corsair iCUE, Adobe Creative Cloud, ASUS Armory Crate Lite, essential related game launcher, and Discord.

We also have some additional notes on the performance metrics we collect. We admit that the RTX 3060 Ti GPU is the obvious bottleneck in this system, but due to Graphics card shortage is happening, we couldn’t afford anything more advanced. We used DLSS in some of our benchmarks to compensate for this limitation, which allowed us to push the 12900K harder in some titles. Peripheral polling rates can also affect performance. For the majority of our tests, we used the standard 1,000Hz polling rate and dedicated super-voting to a specific part of the review noted in the “gaming and multitasking” section. action”. Also, we planned to use the CLC with a 360mm radiator for cooling, but ran into usability issues. However, the 240mm radiator proved suitable for gaming on this system.

Data was collected using in-game benchmarks, HWMonitor Pro and RivaTuner via MSI Afterburner. All test data is collected after a 10-minute “heat soak” period to reflect actual long gaming sessions.

intel i9 12900k Evaluation of gaming performance cpu

Our “Red” test rig. Intel Core i9-12900K Gaming Performance Review: New Highs, Higher Lows


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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