Intel’s 12th-Gen Alder Lake Processors Are Here Starting at $264

Intel has announced its 12th generation of Core processors based on the Alder Lake architecture. The chipmaker has launched six new models and these are based on a 10nm fabrication process.

They include Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and Core i9-12900K. The rest will be the KF variants of the aforementioned models where the “F” indicates the lack of an integrated GPU and the K means it’s unlocked and overclockable.

Other than the all-new Alder Lake architecture, another highlight of these processors is that they are based on a hybrid core design. Instead of using multiple cores of almost the same performance, the new Intel CPUs use a combination of performance cores (P-cores) and efficiency cores (E-cores), similar to smartphone SoCs.

The P-cores take care of heavy-duty tasks, such as running a video game, rendering, etc. while the E-cores are meant for background or low-power tasks such as running music in the background. Naturally, the E-cores consume a lot less power than the P-cores.

These processors are designed in such a way that only the P-cores are capable of multi-threading. For instance, in the 16-core i9-12900K, you will have 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores with a total of 24 threads.

P and E-cores also have their own base, boost, and max clock speed. The Core-i9 12900K has a 3.2GHz base clock, up to a 5.1GHz boost clock, and up to a 5.2GHz max clock for the P-cores. The E cores are limited to a 2.4GHz base clock and a 3.9GHz boost clock.

Intel has also increased the cache size on each model so the i9 models get 30MB L3 cache, i7 get 25MB, and the i5 get 20MB. These processors also support DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 5.0.

As for gaming performance, Intel says that the new Alder Lake processors feature best-in-class performance that rival AMD’s best consumer chip currently available on the market: Ryzen 9 5950X. Intel has also promised better productivity performance than previous generations. However, do note that this is only for Windows 11 Pro, which doesn’t favor AMD’s latest chips right now.

The 12th generation processors use a new Z690 chipset for motherboards and the new larger LGA1700 socket, which means that you will need a new motherboard for these processors.

Intel’s 12th Gen processors start at $264 for the Core i5-12600KF and go all the way up to $589 for the Core i9-12900K. They will be available for sale starting November 4 alongside the new Z690 motherboards.

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