The day has finally come and Intel is disclosing its 12th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processors. These new models are based on the company’s Alder Lake architecture. There are six new models unveiled today, and all of them come using a 10nm fabrication process. This certainly isn’t the most cutting-edge architecture, as AMD is already in the 7 nm and moving onto the 5 nm. However, even with the old architecture, Intel manages to deliver a high level of performance.
Three of the six models include the Intel Core i9-12900K, Intel Core i7-12700K, and Intel Core i5-1260K. The remaining three are the KF variant of these models. For those unaware, the F means a lack of an integrated GPU, meaning that you need a separate graphics card for even having image output.
Intel Core 12th gen processors architecture
Besides the new architecture, one of the main features highlighted by the new CPUs is the ability to switch to a hybrid core design. Instead of using multiple cores of essentially identical performance. The Alder Lake design uses a combination of Performance-cores (P-cores) and Efficient-cores (E-Cores).
The chips will work basically in the same way that modern smartphone processors are working. The P-cores will do the tasks that require more performance, like demanding apps or even games. So, the efficient cores will play the task when you’re playing music or doing another low-level task like exploring through your files. The E-Cores can take care of certain tasks while consuming less memory.
The way the CPU design is laid out in these new chips, only the performance cores are capable of multi-threading. This means on the 16-core i9 12900K, you have 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores for a total of 24 threads. Similarly, the 10-core i5-12600K has 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores for a total of 16 threads.
The 12900K, has a base clock of 3.2 GHz, up to 5.1 GHz boost clock, and up to 5.2 GHz max clock for the P-cores. Meanwhile, the E-cores will have a base clock of 2.4 GHz and a boost clock around 3.9 GHz. The company is also increasing the size of the cache. The i9 models will get 30 MB of L3 cache, the i7 has 25 MB, whereas the i5 gets 20 MB of cache. In terms of graphical tasks, the variants with integrated GPU will get an Intel UHD Graphics 770.
With the new processors, Intel is switching to a new chip, the Z690. It will make use of a new LGA1700 socket. As a result, you’ll need to make sure to have a compatible motherboard. Currently, over 60 new motherboard models will be ready by the time of the new Intel Core CPUs launch.
The new chips will be the first to support the brand new DDR5 memory with native support for DDR5 4800 MT/s and higher speeds. The chips also offer support for DDR4 memory. However, you’ll not be able to support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory at the same time. Again you’ll need to check which kind of RAM you’ll want when acquiring a motherboard. Furthermore, in terms of novelties, the 12th gen processor comes with PCIe 5.0 support.
Pricing and Availability
The Intel 12th Gen Intel core processors start at $264 for the Core i5-12600KF and go all the way up to $589 for the Core i9-12900K. As per the announcement, customers can already pre-order the new CPUs, with sales starting on November 4.