The Core i9-12900KS is a brand new, but in addition not that new CPU from Intel. We reviewed the 12900K when it was launched about six months in the past and had been very impressed with its efficiency. It was an awesome showcase for the Alder Lake structure, although it was a sizzling and energy hungry beast. That lead us to conclude the Core i7 fashions had been the extra sensible alternative for many players and fanatic builders.
Then once more, should you had been after the very best of the very best, the Core i9-12900K delivered, beating the Ryzen 9 5950X in plenty of productiveness benchmarks whereas proudly owning gaming. Fast ahead to today, AMD is ready to strike again quickly with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and its fats 96 MB L3 cache. AMD is claiming a ten to fifteen % efficiency increase in gaming, so they may topple the 12900K or on the very least commerce blows.
Not wanting to surrender the efficiency crown after lastly successful it again, Intel has been saving the perfect 12900K silicon they may produce, binning it for a KS mannequin that clocks greater. They did this earlier than with the Core i9-9900KS again in 2019 and we weren’t that impressed with the consequence. Here’s a brief blurb from that assessment:
“… for many of you the Core i9-9900KS is a little bit of a non-event. Personally, if I had been available in the market for such a processor, I’d save a couple of dollars and get the year-old 9900K. Worst case, should you get a dud, it will be a couple of 100 MHz slower, however you will have 2 years additional on the guarantee.”
Oddly, regardless of charging 15% extra for the 9900KS for lower than 10% extra efficiency over the usual mannequin, Intel slashed the usual guarantee from 3 years to simply 12 months. Thankfully, this time they have not finished that, so the 12900KS comes with the identical 3-year guarantee because the 12900K.
Do notice that the leap in specs is underwhelming… the 12900K has a most turbo frequency of 5.2 GHz with a base of three.2 GHz, the 12900KS clocks to five.5 GHz for the turbo and three.4 GHz for the bottom, which will increase the TDP to 150W, up from 125W. As spectacular as 5.5 GHz sounds, we’re speaking a few small 6% increase over the unique CPU.
|16c (8P + 8E) 24t
|12c (8P + 4E) 20t
|10c (6P + 4E) 16t
|6c (6P + OE) 12t
As for pricing, early listings within the US locations the i9-12900KS at $800, fetching a 33% premium. In different markets reminiscent of Australia it is nearer to 50%, with finalized pricing nonetheless pending on the time of publishing this assessment.
Because a 300 MHz turbo increase overclock is not overly thrilling and would make for a really boring benchmark session, we have gone again and re-tested the 12900K and 12900KS utilizing the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti with DDR5-6400 reminiscence for the gaming portion of the checks.
We’ve additionally included a configuration for the 12900K utilizing dual-rank DDR4-3200 CL14 reminiscence for comparability, although we did not hassle with the 12900KS since you’d solely use that half with DDR5 reminiscence contemplating the worth. Also included is up to date information for the Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X, all utilizing the RTX 3090 Ti and DDR4-3200 dual-rank CL14 reminiscence. This will get us prepared for after we assessment AMD’s 5800X3D in a couple of weeks.
All benchmarks had been run utilizing Windows 11 with Resizable BAR enabled utilizing the most recent show drivers and motherboard BIOS variations. Let’s now get into it.
Starting with Cinebench R23, we discover that the 12900KS is 6% quicker than the 12900K. This is for an all-core workload and right here the 12900KS clocked at 5 GHz, which is a really spectacular all-core frequency.
For single core efficiency we’re a 6% efficiency uplift once more, because the 12900KS clocks as much as 5.5 GHz, a 300 MHz increase over the 12900K.
The 7-Zip File Manager benchmark additionally reveals a 6% efficiency leap for the 12900KS over the unique Alder Lake Core i9 for decompression work.
You’re not going to imagine this, however the 12900KS was precisely 6% quicker than the 12900K within the Corona 1.3 Benchmark.
Bucking the pattern is Adobe Photoshop 2022. Here we’re solely a smaller 2% efficiency enchancment for the overclocked KS mannequin.
The final utility benchmark that we’re testing is Blender Open Data. The 12900KS was 5% quicker than the 12900K, which is just about what we have come to count on.
For that additional 5% efficiency, the whole system energy utilization elevated by virtually 20%, hitting 426 watts which is fairly insane, particularly given the 5950X peaked at simply 221 watts. That means the 12900KS makes use of almost twice as a lot energy although it is slower on this utility. For these questioning how the 5950X makes use of much less energy than the 5800X and 5900X, it is attributable to binning, so the 16-core processor makes use of greater high quality silicon.
Also learn: What is Chip Binning? Hitting the Silicon Lottery Jackpot
The 12900KS is a tough CPU to maintain cool. We used the MSI CoreLiquid S360 AIO liquid cooler which is superb, and nonetheless the 12900KS peaked at 102C put in inside a Corsair Obsidian 500D with a 21C ambient temperature.
This peak temperature was reached after 5 minutes of the Cinebench R23 loop take a look at, although the identical 5GHz all-core frequency was maintained for the following 55 minutes. Although it ran highly regarded, it did not thermal throttle.
As for overclocking, we did not attempt to push the 12900KS additional because it’s clearly thermally restricted in our setup. We think about only a few will significantly overclock this CPU, it looks as if one thing reserved for excessive overclocking utilizing liquid nitrogen.
Time for sport benchmarking utilizing the RTX 3090 Ti. Starting with Far Cry 6, which is a evenly threaded sport that leans closely on the first thread, we see that the elevated IPC of Alder Lake is of nice profit.
Using the identical DDR4-3200 reminiscence, the 12900K is 24% quicker than the 5950X. Then with DDR5-6400 the 12900K loved a light 8% efficiency bump and the 12900KS was simply 1% quicker.
The elevated clock frequency of the 12900KS does not quantity to a lot right here. But should you’re in search of the final word setup for taking part in Far Cry 6 on the highest body charges attainable, the 12900K was 35% quicker than the 5950X. You may squeeze a bit extra out of the 5950X with low latency DDR4-3800 reminiscence, nevertheless it will not be significantly better than the Samsung B-die modules we have used for testing.
Horizon Zero Dawn is much less CPU restricted, though we’re utilizing barely dialed down high quality settings. We noticed a 5% efficiency increase from DDR4-3200 to DDR5-6400 with the 12900K, however the 12900KS provides no additional efficiency on this title.
Rainbow Six Extraction outcomes are attention-grabbing as we virtually seem GPU restricted because the 12900K and Zen 3 processors ship just about the identical stage of efficiency. However, the marginally greater clocked 12900KS was in a position to push a bit additional, boosting efficiency by 9% which is shocking given we have seen little to no efficiency benefit for the KS mannequin in different video games examined.
In Watch Dogs: Legion, the 12900K is 14% quicker than the 5950X utilizing DDR4-3200 reminiscence, whereas DDR5-6400 provides the 12900K an additional 18% increase making it 34% quicker than the 5950X. The 12900KS is not any quicker than the 12900K although.
The Riftbreaker outcomes are fairly excessive in how a lot quicker the Twelfth-gen Core i9 processors are than AMD’s Zen 3 vary when paired with DDR5-6400 reminiscence. The 12900KS is seen to be 47% quicker than the 5950X, which is a large efficiency uplift. Even when utilizing the identical DDR4-3200 reminiscence the 12900K was 22% quicker than the 5950X.
The margins seen in Shadow of the Tomb Raider are much less important, right here the 12900K utilizing DDR4-3200 reminiscence was simply 8% quicker than the 5950X, whereas switching to DDR5-6400 solely improved body charges by 3%. We see mainly no efficiency distinction between the 12900K and 12900KS.
Hitman 3 is one other sport that enjoys the added bandwidth DDR5 brings because the 12900K was 22% quicker utilizing DDR5-6400 reminiscence, against DDR4-3200. When utilizing the identical DDR4 reminiscence because the AMD Zen 3 processors, the 12900K was 14% quicker than the 5950X. However, as soon as once more we see that the 12900KS provides no actual profit over the 12900K, boosting efficiency right here by simply 2%.
Once once more, the 12900KS is not any quicker than the 12900K in Cyberpunk 2077. The 12900K noticed a 7% increase to the typical body fee when going from DDR4-3200 to DDR5-6400, and a 15% enchancment in 1% low efficiency. When in comparison with the 5950X, the 12900KS was 24% quicker when additionally utilizing greater clocked DDR5 reminiscence.
As for whole system energy utilization in video games, the 12900KS consumed 20 watts greater than the 12900K, rising energy consumption by 4%. Not a big margin by any means, however contemplating we noticed little to no efficiency enchancment, this hurts effectivity.
How Good Is It?
The Core i9-12900KS reminds us of one other current launch, the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, within the sense that it is similar to a component that got here earlier than it with a slight overclock for a negligible efficiency uplift and it comes at a hefty worth premium.
That mentioned, the RTX 3090 Ti occurs to have much more going for it, reminiscent of improved reminiscence density that helped to enormously enhance thermals, large new coolers that run quiet regardless of the 450W energy score, and a reasonably constant efficiency uplift.
The 12900KS alternatively is similar CPU that does not include a cooler, it is barely any quicker, more often than not you’ll be able to’t even measure the distinction, it is even much less environment friendly and tougher to chill. If it should be 30 or 50 % dearer than the unique 12900K, that is going to be very onerous to suggest.
Frankly, for players, the Core i9-12900K wasn’t even your best option. For that we might go together with the 12700K because it drops half the E-cores that are at present ineffective for gaming, however maintains all 8 P-Cores. The 12700K prices $370 US, that means you should buy two for the worth of a single 12900KS, heck, you will even have some change left over. In that sense, the 12900KS is one other dumb product, and it is in all probability why Intel did not ship them out to reviewers.
For the sort of cash you are presupposed to pay for the 12900KS, you may purchase a complete CPU/motherboard/RAM combo primarily based on the 12700KF and have a system that may carry out extraordinarily near the Core i9 anyway. So who’s it for? We cannot say we suggest this one. We guess should you’re an excessive overclocker, paying a large premium for binned silicon may make sense, however for everybody else it is an enormous waste of cash.
- Intel Core i9-12900KS on Amazon
- Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon
- Intel Core i7-12700K on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X on Amazon
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 on Amazon