The Core i9-12900KS is a newer, but not Intel’s new CPU. When the 12900K was released six months ago we reviewed it and were very impressed with its performance. It was an excellent showcase for Alter Lake architecture, however it was a hot and energy hungry beast. This leads us to conclude that the Core i7 models will be the most practical choice for most gamers and aspiring builders.
Again, if you follow the best, the Core i9-12900K surpassed the Ryzen 9 5950X in many productivity criteria while owning the gaming. Fast forward to date, AMD is ready to hit the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and its fat 96 MB L3 cache quickly. AMD requires a performance boost of 10 to 15 percent on gaming, so they can drop to 12900K or lower trading feet.
Not wanting to give up the performance crown after finally winning it, Intel is storing the best 12900K silicon they can produce, and fitting it into a KS model. They did this with the 2019 Core i9-9900KS and as a result we were not so impressed. Here is a little clarification from that review:
“… Core i9-9900KS is not an event for most of you. Personally, if I were in the market for such a processor I would save a few bucks and get the year old 9900K. Worse, if you get a dot it will be some 100 MHz slower, but You have 2 more years on the guarantee. “
Oddly enough, Intel reduced the standard warranty from 3 years to just 12 months, even though it charged 1500 more for 9900KS for less than 10% performance over the standard model. Fortunately, this time they did not do it, so the 12900KS comes with the same 3 year warranty as the 12900K.
Note that the jump in specifications is very low … 12900K has a maximum turbo frequency of 5.2 GHz based on 3.2 GHz, 12900KS watches is turbo for 5.5 GHz and 3.4 GHz, which increases the TDP. From 150W, 125W. 5.5 GHz sounds just as impressive, we’re talking about a smaller 6% boost than the original CPU.
|Processor model||Central structure||L3 cache storage||P-core boost||E-Core Boost||Maximum power|
|Core 9-12900KS||16c (8P + 8E) 24 d||30 MB||5.5 GHz||4.0 GHz||241 watts|
|Core i9-12900K||5.2 GHz||3.9 GHz||241 watts|
|Core i9-12900||5.1 GHz||3.8 GHz||202 watts|
|Core i7-12700K||12c (8P + 4E) 20 d||25 MB||5.0 GHz||3.8 GHz||190 watts|
|Core i7-12700||4.9 GHz||3.6 GHz||180 watts|
|Core i5-12600K||10c (6P + 4E) 16 d||20 MB||4.9 GHz||3.6 GHz||150 watts|
|Core i5-12600||6c (6P + OE) 12 d||18 MB||4.8 GHz||N / A||117 watts|
|Core i5-12500||4.6 GHz|
|Core i5-12400||4.4 GHz|
In terms of pricing, initial listings in the US put the i9-12900KS at $ 800, with a 33% premium. In other markets such as Australia it is close to 50% and the final price is still pending at the time of publishing this review.
We tested the 12900K and 12900KS using the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti with DDR5-6400 memory for the gaming area, as the 300 MHz turbo boost overlock was not very exciting and would create a very boring benchmark session. Tests.
We added dual-rated DDR4-3200 CL14 memory to compare configurations for the 12900K, however we did not bother about the 12900KS because you would only use that part with the DDR5 memory considering the price. Updated data for the Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X are also included, all using the RTX 3090 Ti and DDR4-3200 dual-rank CL14 memory. This will prepare us to review AMD’s 5800X3D in a few weeks.
All definitions are enabled using BAR-enabled Windows 11, which is resizable using the latest display drivers and motherboard BIOS versions. Let’s get into that now.
Starting with the Cinebench R23, we find that the 12900KS is 6% faster than the 12900K. It is for all major workloads and is clocked here at 12900KS 5 GHz, which is a very impressive all-core frequency.
For single-core performance, 12900KS watches up to 5.5 GHz, which is 300 MHz higher than 12900K, so again we see a 6% performance improvement.
The 7-zip file manager also shows a 6% performance increase for decompression work over the benchmark 12900KS’s original Alter Lag Core i9.
You are not going to believe this, but it was 12900KS Exactly The Corona 1.3 is 6% faster than the 12900K at the benchmark.
Adobe Photoshop 2022 triggers trend. We only see a small 2% performance improvement for the overclocked KS model.
The last apps we test are Benchmark Blender Open Data. The 12900KS was 5% faster than the 12900K, which is exactly what we expected.
For that extra 5% performance, the total system power consumption increased by almost 20% and hit 426 watts, which is quite insane, especially since the 5950X peaked at just 221 watts. That means 12900KS uses almost twice as much power even though it is slow in this application. For those wondering how the 5950X uses less power than the 5800X and 5900X, this is due to the pinning, so the 16-core processor uses high quality silicon.
Also read: What is Chip Pinning? The Silicon Lottery hits the jackpot
12900KS is the hardest CPU to keep cool. We used the MSI CoreLiquid S360 AIO Liquid Cooler, which is very good, yet 12900KS peaked at 102C installed inside the Corsair Apsidian 500D with an ambient temperature of 21C.
This peak temperature was reached 5 min after the Sinifench R23 loop test, although the same 5GHz all-core frequency was maintained for the next 55 min. Although it ran very hot, it was not heat induced.
With regard to overclocking, do not attempt to further increase the 12900KS because it is clearly defined in our system. We imagine that very few people will overlock this CPU, which seems to be reserved for extreme overclocking using liquid nitrogen.
Time for game standardization using the RTX 3090 Ti. Beginning with For Cry 6, the slightly twisted game leans heavily into the main thread, and we see Alter Lake’s increased IPC benefit.
Using the same DDR4-3200 memory, the 12900K is 24% faster than the 5950X. Then with the DDR5-6400 the 12900K enjoyed a mild 8% performance pump and the 12900KS was just 1% faster.
The increased clock frequency of 12900KS is not much here. If you are looking for the final setup to play the Far Cry 6 at maximum frame rate, the 12900K was 35% faster than the 5950X. With less late DDR4-3800 memory you can press a little more from the 5950X, but it will not be much better than the Samsung B-die modules we used for testing.
Horizon Zero Dawn only has a lower CPU, however we use slightly dialed quality settings. We saw a 5% performance boost from the DDR4-3200 to the DDR5-6400 with the 12900K, but the 12900KS did not add any additional performance to this topic.
Since the 12900K and Zen 3 processors offer almost the same level of performance, the Rainbow Six extraction results are impressive. However, the slightly more clicked 12900KS managed to improve a bit, boosting performance by 9%, which is surprising given that the KS model had no performance advantage over the other games tested.
In Watch Dogs: Legion, the 12900K is 14% faster than the 5950X using DDR4-3200 memory, while the DDR5-6400 offers 18% more boost to the 12900K, which is 34% faster than the 5950X. 12900KS is not faster than 12900K.
Riftbreaker results are far more serious than how fast 12th-gen Core i9 processors outperform AMD’s Zen3 range when paired with DDR5-6400 memory. The 12900KS is 47% faster than the 5950X, which is a huge performance improvement. Even when using the same DDR4-3200 memory it was 22% faster than the 12900K 5950X.
The margins found in Shadow of the Tomb Raider are less prominent, with the 12900K using DDR4-3200 memory being 8% faster than the 5950X, while switching to the DDR5-6400 only improved frame rates by 3%. There is no performance difference between 12900K and 12900KS.
Hitman 3 is another game that enjoys more DDR5 bandwidth, as 12900K is 22% faster using DDR5-6400 memory against DDR4-3200. Using the same DDR4 memory as the AMD Zen 3 processors, the 12900K was 14% faster than the 5950X. However, once again we see that 12900KS does not provide real benefit beyond 12900K, which only increases the efficiency by 2%.
Again, the Cyberpunk 2077 is not 12900KS faster than the 12900K. The 12900K saw a 7% boost to the average frame rate and a 15% improvement in 1% lower performance when moving from the DDR4-3200 to the DDR5-6400. Compared to the 5950X, the 12900KS was 24% faster when using more clock DDR5 memory.
In terms of total system power usage in games, the 12900KS used 20 watts more than the 12900K, which increased power consumption by 4%. Not significant in any way, but considering that performance improvement is low, it affects performance.
How good is this?
The Core i9-12900KS is reminiscent of another recent release, the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, which is very similar to its predecessor with a slight overclocking for minimal performance improvement, and comes at a higher price premium.
The RTX 3090 Ti has greatly enhanced thermal enhancement, improved memory density, massively new air conditioners that run quietly despite the 450W power rating, and much more consistent performance improvement.
The 12900KS on the other hand is the same CPU, it does not come with a cooler, it is very fast, most of the time you can not measure the difference, it is still less efficient and very difficult to cool down. If it’s 30 or 50 percent higher than the original 12900K, it’s very hard to recommend.
Obviously, for gamers, the Core i9-12900K is not the best choice. For that we go with the 12700K because it currently halves the number of E-cores that are useless for gaming, but maintains all 8 P-cores. The 12700K price is $ 370 US, which means you can buy two for a 12900KS price, heck, you’re even left with some change. In that sense, the 12900KS is another dumb product, and this is why Intel did not send them to reviewers.
For the money you pay for 12900KS, you can buy a full CPU / motherboard / RAM combination based on 12700KF and have a system that works very close to the Core i9 anyway. Who is it for? This is not to say that we recommend it. If you are a serious over-the-counter, it may make sense to pay a higher premium for then-made silicone, but for everyone else it can be a huge waste of money.
- Intel Core i9-12900KS on Amazon
- Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon
- Intel Core i7-12700K on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X on Amazon
- Nvidia GeForce RTX3080 on Amazon