Update: Intel Announces Core i9-12900KS: 5.5 GHz Turbo, 5.2 GHz All-Core, Coming April 5thby Ryan Smith on March 28, 2022 3:00 PM EST
- Posted in
- Core i9
- Alder Lake
- 12th Gen Core
- Core i9-12900KS
Update 3/28: Following Newegg’s flub on Friday, Intel today is now (finally) officially announcing the Core i9-12900KS. The company’s new flagship consumer desktop chip will be going on sale next Tuesday, April 5th, with a recommended price of $739.
In terms of specifications, Newegg’s posting has turned out to be spot-on, with a maximum turbo clock of 5.5GHz and an all-core turbo clock of 5.2GHz. As were the 150 Watt base TDP and 241 Watt turbo TDP. All of which stands to make this Intel’s fastest consumer desktop chip yet, and one of the more power hungry.
It should be noted that Intel typically lists their chip prices in quantities of 1000 units. So while Intel’s official $739 price tag is lower than the $799 price in Newegg’s initial listing, it’s very likely that the retail price for the chip will land near or at $799 anyhow – though we’ll know for sure come April 5th.
Finally, availability for the i9-12900KS should be better than past Intel special edition chips (e.g. 9900KS). In our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.
The rest of the original story, updated with final figures and prices, follows below.
Long expected from Intel, the Core i9-12900KS is now out of the bag thanks to an apparently accidental listing from Newegg. The major PC parts retailer listed the unannounced Intel chip for sale and began taking orders earlier this morning. pulling it a couple of hours later. But with the scale and popularity of Newegg – as well as having the complete specifications posted – the cat is now irreversibly out of the bag.
The Core i9-12900KS, where the S stands for Special Edition, pushes the standard 12900K to new frequency highs. The processor is in an 8P+8E configuration, with the key data points being the 5.5 GHz Turbo frequency across two cores, and 5.2 GHz Turbo frequency across all cores – and like the other K parts, with sufficient cooling this chip has an unlimited turbo period. Given the extreme clockspeeds, this is going to be a ‘thin-bin’ part, which means that Intel is going to need to do extra binning to bring these processors to market in sufficient quantities with the characteristics determined by the bin.
|Intel 12th Gen Core, Alder Lake|
Compared to the regular Core i9-12900K, this new processor adds +100 MHz on the E-core and P-core all-core turbo frequencies, but +300 MHz on the top turbo. Meanwhile base clockspeeds are going up slightly as well, to 2.5Ghz for the E-cores and 3.4GHz on the P-cores – though given the high-end nature of the chip, the 12900KS is unlikely to spend much (if any) time not deep into turbo.
TDPs have also gone up slightly to support the higher clockspeeds; while Turbo power remains at 241 W, base power is now 150 W, up from 125W for the normal 12900K. Rounding out the package is support for DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800, and integrated UHD 770 graphics.
Intel has launched ‘Special Edition’ models before. The most recent was the Core i9-9900KS, an updated version of the i9-9900K. The KS was the first model to have 5.0 GHz across all eight cores, however supply was limited and it was hard to get hold of. Though in our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.
Some of the 12900KS details were leaked even before today's quasi-launch, with some commentary about how this extra frequency is readily available on the standard 12900K with a little overclocking. The difference here is the guarantee of that frequency without needing to overclock – the same argument as it was before with the 9900KS vs 9900K. To a number of users, that’s a useful guarantee to have, especially with pre-built systems and system integrators.
Intel’s main competition comes in the form of two AMD processors. For overall multithreaded throughput, the existing 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X remains AMD's top chip. Meanwhile on the gaming front, competition comes from AMD’s forthcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which is an 8 core processor with an extra 64 MB of L3 cache to help with gaming. AMD is claiming +15% gaming performance over the Ryzen 9 5900X, and 0.98x to 1.2x over the 12900K at 1080p High settings, so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Neither Intel nor AMD have access to each other’s chips right now, so a direct comparison using both sets of data is likely to be inconclusive right now.
|Top Tier Processor Options|
With street pricing on Intel's existing i9-12900K already running at about $610, Intel has upped the ante even further on pricing for the new special edition chip. Officially, Intel is listing the i9-12900KS at $739, and this is almost certainly the company's usual 1000 unit bulk price. Newegg's early listing, on the other hand, was for $799. And while pricing is subject to change (with high-end products it's often decided at the last minute), Newegg's initial price is likely to be at or near the final retail price of the chip once it is released.
Assuming for the moment that Newegg's price is accurate, the $799 price tag represents a further $189 premium for the higher-clocked chip. Suffice it to say, Intel isn't intending this to be a bargain chip, but rather is charging an additional premium for the chart-topping clockspeeds.
What is interesting for gamers is that while Intel has decided to turbo-charge its high-end processor, AMD beefed up one of its mid-range instead. Which means there's a pretty significant price disparity here, reflecting the fact that Intel's top gaming chip is also their top chip for overall multithreaded processing. So depending how performance plays out, Intel may pull off a win here in gaming, but it probably won't do much to move the market share (or dissuade 5800X3D buyers).
It should be pointed out that based on our research, the 12900KS is not a reactionary measure to the AMD chip. AnandTech has seen documents showing that the KS was part of the processor list during Alder Lake development, but has required extra time to mature and finalize – so much so that we wrote up a version of today's article months in advance, expecting an earlier announcement/release date. So Intel's plans up to now have been in flux, and while the company is certainly not above raining on AMD's parade, they also have other ambitions with their 16 core heterogeneous processor.
At the time of writing it's not clear when the i9-12900KS will be formally released. Newegg's early posting had a "first available" date of March 10th, so it may be someone was off by a month there (Update: Intel has announced an April 5th launch date). But we can’t wait to get these chips in for testing.
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bji - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - linkat_clucks and Nexing read like the same person trying to confirm his own comments by writing in a fake response.
BushLin - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - linkYou could be right, hard to tell on internet threads if you're not a site admin.
My suspicions are aroused by the posts defending Ian without any balance, all appearing around the same time, several days after the article appeared but could just be coincidence.
For what it's worth, I found the information in Ian's articles to be accurate and enjoyed discovering more about the way things actually operate but frequently questioned what wasn't said, tested or compared given the content was often lengthy yet what seemed like obvious points were missed... I can see why there are claims of bias but it's not like the content was of no value.
damianrobertjones - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link"backsplanations "
Epic word is epic.
AshlayW - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - linkI don't think Ian is Intel bias and I am a pretty big AMD fan (or at least, was, pre Zen3). He comes across as a professional and has many articles showing AMD's leadership in the last few years, he just doesn't sugar coat AMD and kiss their boots like some people expect
Hulk - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkYou are of course entitled to your opinion but mine is diametrically opposed to your. I valued Ian's work at Anandtech and believe it to be informative, fair, and a good read.
at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link@Hulk, that's fine, of course. I sometimes value an IKEA hot dog even despite knowing it's the lowest grade meat product produced by the lowest bidder. As I said, Ian's articles are not necessarily inaccurate just heavily biased which is still bad. If you tend to lean with that bias though everything is peachy.
But here's the thing, Ian's partiality towards Intel is indisputable. It's been shown above at the very least with his string of articles covering (pun intended) Intel's shenanigans to a degree that's disgusting. And it's been confirmed on this very page of comments when Ian himself insisted "AT engineers like JEDEC" and can't be bothered to change one setting that almost any user would go for to have their CPU run faster. But just recently he had no problem enabling an officially disabled/unsupported feature on an Intel CPU and benchmarking with it to show big bars.
So I guess the point is, how does your claim of "fairness" reconcile with the stream of examples like I gave above? Is it that you consider that to still somehow fit the definition of "fair", or that you agree they're biased but "it's just those examples and no more" (something I'd expect you to have to repeat with every new example)?
DominionSeraph - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkWE HAVE FOUND THE /g/ 24/7 ANTI-INTEL WOJAK POSTER!!!
and his name is at_chucks
Post your copypasta! Please! I miss it! You can't post it on 4chan because it will get you banned, but you can go ahead and post it here!
at_clucks - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link@DominionSeraph, I thought I made it pretty clear my qualm is with Ian's writing style and bias rather than Intel's products themselves. Reading comprehension be damned. Not that your writing was any better... :/
OreoCookie - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - linkI'm surprised by how personal some people take the Intel vs. AMD debate and Ian Cutress leaving. I haven't seen any evidence of favoritism nor does it make much sense for him to be “nice” to companies when reviewing products if he wants to become a technical consultant. All recent Intel reviews go into depth how much energy and power Intel CPUs have to spend to match or slightly surpass competitors in terms of performance — that's hardly a glowing recommendation. If you go beyond Intel and AMD, their coverage of e. g. Apple SoCs clearly points out to how and how much superior they are, sometimes in absolute terms, sometimes on a performance-per-watt basis.
The only thing that seems apparent is the thinning out of talent. AT hasn't found anyone to take over Andrei's and Ian's duties. And even before them, I remember that Anand (the OG and namesake) did additional tests like touch screen responsiveness tests on iPhones that I was hoping would continue. I don't know who will replace them, but we shall see.
felixbrault - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - linkI had to login for this. How dare to you talk about Ian like this?!? What the hell is wrong with you. If there’s one thing Anandtech is not and never have been is biased. The simple reason why Intel wasn’t put under bad light since the Core2Duo era is simply because they had the best cpu in the industries (single thread performance which in 90% of use cast is what matter) except for 2 years before Alder Lake. This guy had opportunities handed to him because he worked his ass off for at least 10 years here and he’s one of the best tech writer in the industries.
I’ve been coming to Anandtech.com every day for the last 20 years and I’ve never seen such comments from someone. You should be ashame of yourself.