Intel Core i9-12900K Processor Review – Is i9 good for Gaming?

With 16 cores and 24 threads, the Intel Core i9-12900K has finally achieved the comparable core count against the Red Team, AMD and they have been the core count leader since the release of Ryzen 9 in 2019 with 16 cores and 32 threads!

What makes your temperature rise? Batman vs Superman? Ronaldo vs Messi? Oh wait, you miss the “Intel vs AMD”! Like other major topics, the debate on this topic will never gonna end in the gaming community.

With the current-gen AMD Ryzen 5000 Series in rivalry, Intel takes the crown of “Winner” in this market. Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900k processor is now the fastest CPU on this planet and in the PC gaming market right now. The price range is around $589 at release it can go up to $599.

In the earlier Intel unlocked K family processors doesn’t come with a stock cooler but Intel this year is ready with their very own “Laminar RH1” stock cooler which comes along with a box. You get the new Intel Laminar Cooler with the Intel i9-12900 and i9-12900F processors. The cooler would itself carry a 3-year warranty with Addressable ARGB Lighting.

Laminar RH1
Laminar RH1

The test result says it is really better than Intel’s all previous stock coolers, it looks different and it demands 65W power to keep Intel Core i9 Processors cooler. So without further delay let’s check out the Intel Core i9-12900K Gaming Performance.

Intel Core i9-12900K Specs

Here are the Intel Core i9-12900K Processor Specifications

Series – Intel Alder Lake S
Codename – Alder Lake
Clock Rate – 3200 – 5200 MHz
Level 2 Cache – 14 MB
Level 3 Cache – 20MB
Number of Cores / Threads – 16/24
TDP – 125Watt
Manufacturing Technology – 10nm
Max. Temperature – 100 degrees
Socket Features – LGA 1700
GPU – Intel UHD Graphics 770, DDR5 4800 Mhz, DDR4 3200 Mhz
64 Bit – Yes supported
Architecture – x86
Starting Price – $589

To give tough competition to AMD 5000 series flagship processor, Intel has put their 12th Gen Alder Lake’s latest next-gen technologies, making this processor support DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 interfaces.

This flagship processor comes with a new Hybrid x86 architectural design which makes it very much powerful than others. This beast of a CPU features 8 P cores (performance cores) and 8 E cores (efficient cores), which makes this monster with a total of 16 cores supporting hyperthreading which makes it 24 threads.

And here is the magic, the threads can intelligently provide support to the operating system to let it decide which thread will be used for the current workload, P cores or E cores to perform at its best. It has a base clock frequency of 3.2GHz while in Turbo Boost mode, the CPU can hit speeds up to 5.2GHz.

With the 30MB L3 cache, the Intel Core i9-12900K Processor features Intel UHD 770 Graphics which means you don’t need a Graphics Card for playing your old games with smooth performance. With an HDMI cable, you can get a max resolution of 4096X2160 at 60HZ while with a Display cable, you can get a max resolution of 7680X 4320 at 60Hz.

The new Intel 12th Gen Core i9 Processor is both DDR5 and DDR4 compatible and it can support memory up to 128GB. The memory speed for DDR5 is up to 4800Mhz and with DDR4 you will get a maximum speed of 3200Mhz with a maximum bandwidth speed being 76.8GB/s.

Keep in mind that you cannot run DDR4 memory and DDR5 memory simultaneously at the same time and you have to choose only one platform at the time of building your PC. This is a 125W Intel Core i9 processor but can take up to 241W on full load.

Because this is an Intel K series unlocked processor and also the company has also changed its default boost duration so that this chip effectively operates at 241W power delivery modes (during Turbo Boost).

This Alder Lake processor demands a new platform, so you have to choose a motherboard compatible with the latest LGA 1700 and Z690 chipset along with the DDR5 Platform. Need best performance results? Use Windows 11.

Intel Core i9-12900K Processor benchmark
Intel Core i9-12900K Processor

Intel Core i9-12900K performance

Here are the Intel Core i9-12900K processor benchmarks.

Below games were tested in 1080p with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 with ultra-high settings. Denuvo was causing fps issues but that is solved now.

Far Cry 6- The game is hitting an average of 138fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 149fps with DDR5 RAM.

Formula One (F1) 2021– Surprise! The game is hitting an average of 279fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 277fps with DDR5 RAM.

Hitman 3- Ahh nearly a close call. The game is hitting an average of 176fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 179fps with DDR5 RAM.

Horizon Zero Dawn- Surprise! The game is hitting an average of 189fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 186fps with DDR5 RAM

Microsoft Flight Simulator- The game is hitting an average of 156fps with DDR4 RAM and at an average of 142fps with DDR5 RAM.

Red Dead Redemption 2– The game is hitting an average of 173fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 169fps with DDR5 RAM.

Watch Dogs Legion- The game is hitting an average of 143fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 142fps with DDR5 RAM.

Borderlands 3- The game is hitting an average of 154fps with DDR4 RAM and an average of 136fps with DDR5 RAM.

Far Cry 5– The game is hitting an average of 182fps with DDR4 RAM and at an average of 158fps with DDR5 RAM.

Shadow of The Tomb Raider– The game is hitting at an average of 195fps with DDR4 RAM and at an average of 186fps with DDR5 RAM.

Heavy Application Benchmark– Testing in Win 11 platform comparing with Ryzen 5 5950X processor, both performed same to same, the result was a tie. But this 12th Gen CPU performs 3% faster DDR4 RAM rather than DDR5 RAM.

It means that the DDR5 RAM is not optimized well for this Processor yet. It has also been observed that it can take heavy workloads of Adobe package software and Microsoft Office much better in the Windows 11 platform.

Intel Core i9-12900K Processor Review – Verdict

Like the other K series, this CPU also doesn’t come with a cooler and for this high-end processor, you surely need a good water cooler for your high-end gaming. But as mentioned earlier the Laminar RH1 coolers are available only for the Intel Core i9-12900 and Core i9-12900F Processors.

There is no doubt that this is a very good processor for your ultra-high graphical gaming (including that you have a high-end Graphics Card) at such a lower price and still performs better than the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X.

But it is also to note that this processor is still not compatible with the latest DDR5 memory with power requirements. While other processors are performing well in DDR5, this Intel Core i9-12900K is having some optimization issues with certain games. Although it is still performing better than the AMD Ryzen 9 on the DDR4 Platform.

It gives 80% more performance than the previous generation Sky Lake processor but you need to say goodbye to your good old motherboard as you need to buy a new one for this. Alder Lake Processors marks the return of Core i7 and i9 lineups. With four more efficient cores and superb gaming performance, the Intel Core i9-12900K is a good choice if you are building a system for Windows 11.

That’s all folks!


A 29 year old avid gamer by choice dabbles in all things tech. Whether be it spending hours in single-player narrative-based games or going through the latest innovation in technology and chip manufacturing he prefers to stay on top of things. In the other times, you'll find him tucked away drumming and headbanging to Rock and Roll Classics.

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