Intel‘s Alder Lake have caused quite the stirrup in the desktop CPU market where the blue team has regained the performance crown from AMD contemporarily. While Alder Lake does run hot and has questionable efficiency, ironic given the inclusion of efficiency cores, it’s no denying that these CPUs are powerful. However, they haven’t been the most popular, that’s because Intel only launched the high end slate of Alder Lake initially which included the unlocked i9 and i7 SKUs. Now, Intel is finally ready to launch the locked variants of these SKUs alongside a bunch more CPUs targeted at the mass market.
These non-K Alder Lake processors have been in the news as of late and we know almost everything about them thanks to various leaks. Some details here and there were hazy and price was cloudy as well, but it seems like that question has been answered for us as well. Popular leaker, @momomo_us has leaked the prices and specs of the entire Alder Lake non-K lineup in a tweet, confirming previous reports and finally giving us an idea of the competition.
— 188号 (@momomo_us) December 21, 2021
Before we actually talk about the juicy stuff, it’s important to note what the non-K Alder Lake really stands for. While Alder Lake has been limited to the top-end till now, Intel is planning to introduce new SKUs to bolster the mid-tier, budget market alongside the entry-level segment. These new SKUs are largely aimed at gamers who’re looking to try Alder Lake but don’t want to spend the big bucks to get the top SKU. Of course, being locked means they’re not overclockable so you lose some performance there and there are some interesting differences between the non-K and standard Alder Lake SKUs that we’ll get into.
i9 and i7 SKUs
The non-K Core i7 and i9 will retain the exact same topology and core configuration as their unlocked counterparts. That is to say, the i9-12900 (and i9-12900F) will carry 16 cores and 24 threads. The Core i7-12700(F) will feature 12 cores, 20 threads, just like its unlocked sibling. The actual difference between the non-K and unlocked variants of the i9 and i7 SKUs come in clock speeds.
Now, don’t worry as the difference is negligible but since these are already locked SKUs and they have lower clock speeds, that could add up to enough of a difference for you to consider just getting the “K” variant instead. The i9-12900(F) has a 2.4Ghz base clock for its Performance Cores, and 1.80Ghz base clock for the Efficiency Cores. The boost clock for this SKU is 5.1Ghz, 100Mhz lower than the unlocked variant.
For the i7-12700(F), there’s a 2.10Ghz base clock for the Performance Cores and only a 1.60Ghz base clock for the Efficiency Cores. The maximum boost clock has been dialed back down to 4.9Ghz, once again, a 100Mhz lower than the 12700K. The TDPs for both the i9-12900(F) and the i7-12700(F) have been lowered to 65W, in contrast to the 125W thermal limit of the unlocked counterparts.
The i9-12900 will be priced at $520 with a $20 deduction if you chose to opt for the “F” (no iGPU) SKU. Similarly, there’s a $30 difference between the F and non-F version of the i7-12700 which is priced at $360. That means the i7-12700F will go for $330. Both the i9 and i7 have the same UHD770 iGPU inside, should you chose to go with the non-F variant.
Alder Lake non-K i5 SKU
Moving over to the i5 SKU, this is where things start to get interesting. There are three different i5 SKUs for Alder Lake, just like before. There is the i5-12600, i5-12500, and the i5-12400. All three of these CPUs feature the exact same core configuration of 6 cores and 12 threads. That being said, all 6 of those cores are Golden Cove Performance Cores as the i5 and i3 SKUs simply do not have the Gracemont Efficiency Cores. Now, you may be asking, isn’t that the very thing that makes Alder Lake special? The hybrid design featuring a mix of high-performance and high-efficiency cores? Well, you’d be right but this is what Intel is giving us so it is what it is.
Regardless, all three i5 SKUs have a 65W TDP but share slightly different clock speeds. The i5-12600 has a 3.3Ghz base clock alongside a 4.8Ghz boost clock. Whereas, the i5-12400 has a 3.0Ghz base clock with a maximum boost clock of 4.6Ghz. The 12400 also has a “F” variant and historically it has been an extremely popular SKU amongst budget gamers as it offers superior performance at an affordable rate. The same is the case here as these two chips will go toe-to-toe with the Ryzen 5 5600X in a heated exchange that’s yet to be seen.
Then there’s also the i5-12500 which completes the i5 sandwitch by acting as the meat between the 12400 and 12600 bread. The i5-12500 has 2.5Ghz base clock with a 4.4Ghz boost clock while every other spec remains the same. As for the prices, the top dog i5-12600 will go for $240, the middle-child Core i5-12500 will be priced at $220 and the Core i5-12400 will retail for $210. The F variant of the 12400 will be priced at $180 and I can bet top dollar that it will become the most popular SKU amongst all and sell like hotcakes.
Alder Lake non-K i3 SKUs
Finally, we arrive at the i3 lineup. Don’t get fooled by hearing the i3 name as these CPUs are actually quite intriguing and play a very important role in the market by providing an entry-point for many new gamers. The Alder Lake i3 slate includes two SKUs: the i3-12300 and 12100. Both of these also have a F variant so you can chose to get the no-iGPU variant or enjoy sweet, sweet power of the UHD710. Just like the i5 SKUs, these only carry the Golden Cove performance cores and ditch the Gracemont efficiency cores entirely.
Both SKUs will have 4 cores and 8 threads with a 58W TDP. The leak from @momomo_us actually doesn’t include the i3-12300 SKU and only includes the 12100 for some reason, but it does exist. The i3-12100 has a base clock of 3.3Ghz with a boost clock of 4.3Ghz. On the other hand, the i3-12300 has a base clock of 3.4Ghz and a boost clock of 4.4Ghz. Both have the same 12MB of L3 cache. The i3-12300 will retail for $150 while the F variant will go for ~$120. There is a similar $30 price difference in effect for the non-F and F variant of the i3-12100 which will be priced at $140 for the standard version and $110 for the F variant.
There are also two Pentium CPUs, the G7400 and G6900 part of Alder Lake lineup but they’re not worth mentioning, honestly. Aside from that, the non-K CPUs also seem to have made their way to Best Buy as there are official listings for some of the SKUs. Intel is expected to launch at least 19 non-K Alder Lake CPUs in the coming weeks and they’ll likely be officially revealed at CES 2022. AMD is also set to introduce their Ryzen 6000-series of “Rembrandt” APUs at CES in January. So keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the competition.