Intel announced the Core i9-12900KS back at CES 2022 where it showed off the processor to feature an insane 5.5Ghz factory boost clock. It was touted as a special edition processor, with the maximum boost clock being the very thing constituting that. Otherwise, it was identical to a standard Core i9-12900K, because it is one. The 12900KS is just a pre-binned 12900K with higher power limits, which means that the very best fabs that came from binning the 12900K were separated from the rest and will now be sold as cherry-picked silicone lottery variants.
Therefore, the 12900KS is a 16-core processor with 24 threads, out of which 8 are Performance Cores while the other 8 are Efficiency Cores, same as the standard 12900K. Thanks to Intel’s Alder Lake hybrid architecture facilitated by the big.LITTLE design philosophy, the company was able to produce processors that have both performance and efficiency cores inside working in tandem to offer the best performance while also saving as much power as possible. This is similar to how ARM processors work.
Core i9-12900KS price and release
Since its original announcement at CES, Intel remained quiet on the release of the processor. Thanks to various leaks, it was being speculated that the processor would launch sooner rather than later. We got a full Cinebench leak earlier last month and in late February, the CPU was seen listed at a US retailer’s website with a ~$780 USD. In contrast, popular leaker @momomo_us tweeted that the i9-12900KS would retail for $750 USD.
Fortunately, the era of speculation is over as Intel has just confirmed the launch date for the Core i9-12900KS. On April 5th, Intel will livestream its “Intel Talking Tech” event on Twitch, building 4 different PCs but more importantly, the company will be talking about the Core i9-12900KS where we will most likely see a release date for the processor, which is currently expected to be day-and-date with the event, meaning that it will be available as soon as the availability is announced.
Join us as we build 4 PCs with industry experts and talk about the 12th Gen processor family features and its newest member!
— Intel Technology (@IntelTech) March 26, 2022
Intel has claimed that the i9-12900KS will be the fastest gaming chip available on the market, something that AMD has similarly claimed with its upcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor. Both chips are, technically, special variants of existing chips but AMD’s offering has a major change inside compared to the standard 5800X due to the implementation of the 3D V-Cache. That gives the CPU 96MB of L3 cache, enough to make it edge out the flagship SKUs in the market.
The i9-12900KS also has an extra 19W of headroom in max power which is needed to sustain the higher maximum turbo frequency (241W TDP vs. 260W TDP), along with 25W higher base TDP. As mentioned before, rest of the specs are identical to the normal i9-12900K. That being said, this extra bit of performance will cost you a pretty penny. Right now, the CPU is listed on Newegg for $799 where sales have already started, but most sources are quoting a $749 MSRP, so we’ll have to wait and see.
It will be interesting to see how the Core i9-12900KS will compare to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, especially now that the Intel chip is launching roughly 2 weeks before the 5800X3D. This will give Intel the advantage in terms of being first to the market and gamers who’re impatiently looking for the next best chip will flounder towards Intel to secure one.
It should be noted that some customers have already received their i9-12900KS before embargo has lifted. So, the April 5th launch is more so to basically officiate everything and let the world know that the chip is now available. But with both Red and Blue Teams having claimed that their newest release is the world’s fastest processor, only time will tell who really prevails.