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
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- 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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Alexvrb - Friday, March 25, 2022 - linkShowing performance at both default and "typical gamer/enthusiast XMP speeds" is always nice, especially for an enthusiast site. With that being said, the larger performance deficit at low RAM speeds was AMD's fault, and I don't think testing at JEDEC shows deliberate bias.
at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkIt's true that it's AMD's fault for poor performance in default settings. But a reviewer worth their salt should very clearly point out that it can be mitigated with relative ease. Will it take more effort? Yes. But it will also paint a complete picture. Half a picture is worse than no picture because it leaves you assuming that's the whole truth. It's bias and it's what Ian has been doing for years, ever since he started rubbing elbows with some important people and his integrity dissolved.
And let's not forget that Ian had no quarrels writing articles about the performance of overclocked Intel CPUs. He reviews CPUs using premium water cooling systems, AT is peppered with articles where the voltage is hiked in the red, OC limit is tested, far more advanced BIOS settings are tweaked on motherboards chock full of OC options but changing memory timings via XMP profiles to show that some bad results can me successfully mitigated is too much because AT engineers love JEDEC? That's a BS excuse from someone trying to cover for their massive failures as a professional reviewer.
Ian spent his final years at AT polishing his relationships in the industry with a neverending string of interviews, and towing Intel's line wherever possible.
His AMD reviews are... maybe objectively accurate but bland and monotonous. No matter how many times an AMD CPU tops the charts there are no superlatives, just an enumeration "the AMD processors have been doing well" or "the 5700G is +28% over the previous generation [...] we're seeing good yearly improvements" (yes, a ~30% improvement is that bland when it's AMD).
Intel reviews are sprinkled with amazement, superlatives, specific mentions where the Intel CPU does better than the AMD, "improvements are extremely massive, and represent a major jump in performance, something which undoubtedly lead to larger IPC gains" and "showcases also some very large gains in some of the workloads, +33%" (yes, a ~30% improvement in some esoteric workloads is *that* exciting when it's Intel).
Keep in mind, these may all be objectively true but if you're making it far more obvious when Intel is better than AMD then the other way around, if you're letting your personal excitement show more for one than for the other, then that's literally the definition of bias. He repeatedly and with intention painted a biased picture with his articles and reviews and this can't be hand-waved away with "we like standard settings".
There are many ways of deceiving and some don't actually use bad data, just bad framing. A biased review is a worthless review. Ian is the Donald Trump of tech writing (with every possible negative connotation).
at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkThat's strange to say Ian after repeatedly acting in the exact opposite way if it favored Intel.
Why did you not use some sort of standard box cooler for your i9-12900 review? Why did you bother to "dig into the story" to enable AVX-512 support which was officially disabled (officially fused off) by Intel, and why did you even run benchmarks with it?
If you can spare the effort to benchmark such an officially unsupported setup for Intel why was using XPM profiles a step too far for AMD? Just so you can conclude that: "Overall though, it’s no denying that Intel is now in the thick of it, ***or if I were to argue***, the market leader."?
You took your job at AT as an opportunity to argue Intel's case again and again, forgoing integrity. Even after slinking away you still feel compelled to come back with some feeble attempts to justify your failures. You are an embarrassment to AT and journalism in general. Careful not to break that hand while handwaving off the mounting arguments of your bias.
BushLin - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkWhy is there love for JEDEC data at AT or anywhere? Years after the release of a memory standard, even lame Dell/HP/Lenovo spreadsheet fodder PCs aren't using JEDEC spec as it's not saving any money to have lower spec RAM. Testing at JEDEC is a waste of testing time as the results are useless.
at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - linkAT doesn't love JEDEC but it makes it easy to claim "standardization". Although the only value is less effort for the writer while actually diminishing the value of the write-up. But the real value for some of the writers is that they can control the conclusion much easier and introduce bias by design.
Using JEDEC timings was a hit for AMD but it's fair because it's standardized, which every reader should be told about. But every reader should also be told that XMP profiles mitigate that. This "standardization" of course didn't apply when Ian did bother to dig into a motherboard's BIOS to enable the AVX-512 officially disabled ("fused off") by Intel, and then benchmark this thoroughly non-standard setup to show some massive bars for Intel CPUs.
In reality what Ian loved doing was to mislead the readers not by presenting outright false data but by cherry picking data and adjusting the way it was expressed, by his "tone", his choice of superlatives or banalities depending on the company being targeted. Google "lying with data", it's a form of art.
Flying Aardvark - Thursday, March 31, 2022 - linkYes, because stability is not guaranteed outside of JEDEC. All I care about as a reader is how it's warrantied and guaranteed to run. I guarantee if going outside of spec made AMD look bad, you wouldn't be such a fan. You just want to help them out. I had many Ryzen rigs and if we count stability with various RAM kits, Intel mops the floor with AMD.
What your precious AMD deserved were JEDEC AND stability comparison articles. Thrashing your sub-rate platform.
29a - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - linkNot finishing AMD reviews.
aagello24 - Sunday, April 10, 2022 - linkfunny you say that. cause tomshardware does the SAME thing!!
Makaveli - Friday, March 25, 2022 - linkYes no Jedec cas 22 nonsense. At atleast DDR4 3200 Cas 16 which is standard these days.
Oxford Guy - Friday, March 25, 2022 - linkThat was only partially a self-inflicted wound on AMD’s part. There is an entire sector of enthusiasts involved in using XMP profiles — which is why they’re standard for RAM sticks and motherboards.
This site routinely used unsafe voltages and unstable results in its CPU overclocking articles and then moved to claiming that anything requiring a user to enter BIOS (i.e. switching on XMP) is so esoteric and demanding on terms of knowledge and skill that covering anything involving that isn’t worthwhile.
Despite that, motherboard articles talk about overclocking favorably (more difficult than entering BIOS and switching on XMP) and the site just posted an article featuring Intel’s overclocking ambassador (without a word, as usual, about how Intel dropped its overclocking warrantee — unless I missed that bit which I very greatly doubt). I’ve not seen a warning in motherboard articles showing off fancy VRMs that, since things like entering BIOS are too esoteric, such VRMs are irrelevant (so long as one doesn’t buy a junk board that can’t handle its stock support list). I also didn’t see this site dismiss Intel’s overclocking promoter with the line about how no one can be expected to enter BIOS so overclocking is too complicated to be part of our coverage.
The platform where using XMP was tricky was Zen 1. That’s basically it. My relative’s Zen 1 chip required a change from 3200 CL16 to 2933. After that switch to the other XMP profile, it worked and has for years. He likely could have tuned the settings to achieve 3200 CL16 but 2933 was a good-enough quick solution. That’s Zen 1 — by far the touchiest platform for XMP in affordable RAM. Even novices, though, gained significant performance easily via XMP due to the infinity fabric speed linkage. In short, even for a novice it was worth entering BIOS twice for XMP. I advised against trying to overclock the CPU with the stock cooler. Yet, CPU overclocking has long been a staple of this site.