Intel announces 12th generation Core processors for desktops with up to 12 cores

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processors

Intel during it’s Innovation 2021 event unveiled the 12th generation of Alder Lake processors for high-end desktop PC.

There are six desktop models in this series, and they are all performance-driven. The highest performing Intel’s Core i9-12900K processor has 16 cores with a clock speed of up to 5.2 GHz (in boost).

For a number of reasons, this is a significant update for Intel. The hybrid approach is critical because: Alder Lake processors mix performance-oriented cores with power-saving cores to create a new class of processor (energy-efficient). This is a strategy that’s akin to that used by large corporations. For example, LITTLE has been present in Arm architecture chips for years.

If we take the Core i9-12900K as an example, we will see that the chip has eight efficient cores (energy efficient or E-Core) and eight Performance cores (focused on performance or P-Core). In addition, the processor comes with 24 threads with two threads per core on E-Core (2X8) and one thread per core for the P-Core (1X8) which adds to 24 total threads.

Alder Lake E-Cores

It is worth noting that Efficient cores are based on Gracemont architecture and promise 40% more performance compared to Skylake cores, maintaining the same consumption pattern.

Alder Lake P-Cores

Performance cores are based on Golden Cove architecture and promise up to 19% more performance than Cypress Cove cores of 11th generation Core desktop units.

Intel Thread DIrector

Intel Thread Director, a new technology, makes it possible for cores to manage the distribution of workloads, sending tasks to the most optimized thread. It’s up to it to keep an eye on how instructions are being executed in real time, so that the operating system can better allocate resources.

Multiple parameters go into making decisions, but in general, Performance (P) cores handle the more demanding foreground tasks, while Efficient (E) cores handle the background or less difficult tasks.

With this design, Alder Lake-S processors boast an IPC (“clock cycle instructions”) performance boost of up to 19 percent over 11th generation Core chips.

Without further delay, these are the advertised chips (models with the letter ‘K’ are unlocked for overclocking; chips with the letter ‘F’ have no built-in GPU):

Model Cores Threads Clock (GHz) Boost 3.0 (GHz) L3 + L2 (MB) Voltage / turbo (W) Graphics
Core i9-12900K 16 (8P + 8E) 24 3.2 (P)
/ 2.4 (E)
Up to 5.2 30 + 14 125 / 241 770 UHD
Core i9-12900KF 16 (8P + 8E) 24 3.2 (P)
/ 2.4 (E)
Up to 5.2 30 + 14 125 / 241
Core i7-12700K 16 (8P + 4E) 20 3.6 (P)
/ 2.7 (E)
Up to 5 25 + 12 125 / 190 770 UHD
Core i7-12700KF 16 (8P + 4E) 20 3.6 (P)
/ 2.7 (E)
Up to 5 25 + 12 125 / 190
Core i5-12600K 10 (6P + 4E) 16 3.7 (P)
/ 2.8 (E)
20 + 9,5 125 / 150 770 UHD
Core i5-12600KF 10 (6P + 4E) 16 3.7 (P)
/ 2.8 (E)
20 + 9,5 125 / 150

Intel Z690 Chipset

DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0 and more

On top of that, the hybrid approach, Alder Lake chips are finally backwards-compatible. To begin with, the new processors support 4,800 MT/s DDR5 memory (megatransfers per second).

PCI Express 5.0 (up to 16-way), Wi-Fi 6E, and Thunderbolt 4 technologies are also supported, as is DDR4 memory (up to 3,200 MT/s).

However, a new motherboard is required to take benefit of all of this. In the first place, Alder Lake processors demand a new chipset, such as the also recently unveiled Z690. Second, the new CPUs use a different socket, the LGA 1700, to attach to the motherboard.

Intel 12th Gen Core i9 Unlocked

12th generation Intel Core: availability and prices

The new CPUs will be available in the top global markets on November 4th, according to Intel, but pre-orders have begun. The following costs are recommended in the US:

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