A new Intel
After stagnating behind the red team since Ryzen‘s launch in 2017, Intel is planning to finally make a massive comeback with Alder Lake. Intel’s new 12th generation Core processors will feature a big.LITTLE design which means that the CPU will consist of both high-performance and low-performance cores. This is a design architecture nearly unanimous in ARM processors, where a combination of efficient and performant cores work together to create a chip that’s much more power-efficient as it can better distribute and assign tasks across appropriate cores.
A change this big in Intel’s design philosophy has not been seen since really the introduction of the infamous “Core i” SKUs back in the day. Intel is pinning their whole future on Alder Lake and it seems like it may just work. Several leaks have given us a close look at the flagship Alder Lake CPU, the i9-12900K. A beast of a chip featuring 16 cores and 24 threads, with 8 Golden Cove performance cores and 8 Gracemont efficiency cores. The eight Golden Cove performance cores do support hyperthreading whereas the eight Gracemont efficiency cores do not. That’s why we get the 24 thread count from a 16-core processor.
The CPU-Z leak
Intel has not officially revealed all of the specs yet, but the processor has been leaked to oblivion so the core specifications are pretty much unofficially official by now. Various benchmarks have also shown an IPC uplift generated by both architectural and generational improvements. Plus, most of them have put the 12900K in a better light than the Ryzen 9 5950X, which is to say faster. Today’s leak, coming from Bilibili gives us a new CPU-Z benchmark that depicts similar results.
As you can see in the picture above, the i9-12900K was able to produce a single-core score of 825 against the 5950X‘s score of only 648. That’s a 27% higher score over a processor whose all 16 cores are performance cores. Compared to the 682 points scored by i9-11900K, the 12900K shows a 21% improvement in single-core benchmarks. It’s also important to note that the name of the CPU isn’t explicitly stated in the picture but the 24-thread configuration mentioned pretty much confirms that it’s a i9-12900K.
Alder Lake is a real threat
With that score, the i9-12900K steers clear of every mainstream desktop CPU including current-gen contemporaries from both AMD and Intel itself. The difference is so stark that it almost looks scary. While the multi-core score isn’t visible because of the intentional blur, the blue bar of the 12900K seems to match the purple bar of the 5950X, indicating a similar performance delta for multi-threaded tests.
Intel is finally returning to the CPU-race bringing much needed competition back into the game with a processor that’s ready to challenge everything on the market currently. Contrary to that is the advent of AMD’s 3D chiplet tech launching in next-gen Ryzen processors. Therefore, it’s only right to say that the blue and red teams are at war once again, but this time they’re both as vicious as ever.