Everything you need to know about the 12th Gen Intel

Updated: Jan 3

When it comes to selecting a CPU, home PC builders essentially pick from one of two industry giants: Intel and AMD. Rabid fanbases for both companies can make it hard to get objective information on which processor is better, but for the past 5 or so years, the general consensus has been that AMD is on top.


As of November 4th, however, AMD appears to have been dethroned with Intel’s Alder Lake line, their 12th generation of processors. These new 12th-gen Intel Core processors beat out the Ryzen 5000 series, not only in terms of performance, but features as well.


From the design, to performance, to changes from old generations, there’s a lot going on with the Alder Lake line of CPUs. We compiled the most vital information to give you everything you need to know about the new Intel 12th-gen processors.


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Features

The primary new feature of Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs, in terms of processing power, is the new hybrid architecture. Each processor now has two different types of cores, performance cores, or P-cores, and efficient cores, E-cores. The performance cores are focused on extra processing power and, according to Intel’s data, they are about 19% more powerful than 11th-gen processor cores. The efficient cores offer about the same performance as previous generations, but with reduced power consumption.


Managing this technology is the new Thread Director, a new addition to the hardware. The thread director guides the operating system to ensure that less performance intensive tasks are directed to the E-cores. This frees up the P-cores for more processing-heavy tasks such as gaming, video editing, or 3D design.


The 12th-gen processors along with the accompanying Z690 motherboard chipset will support a variety of new features, including DDR5 RAM, PCIe gen 5, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6E.


  • DDR5 RAM is the next generation of PC memory. This new version is focused on increasing the density and bandwidth. While DDR4 RAM maxes out at 32GB, DDR5 can quadruple that, with a max of 128GB per stick of RAM.

  • PCIe 5 is the new standard for connecting PC peripherals and components to the motherboard. The new generation of PCIe should allow data transfer speeds up to 128 GB/s.

  • Thunderbolt 4, like the others, offers higher data transfer rates, which allows for the connection of more and better peripherals. Thunderbolt 3, for example, could only connect one 4k monitor. Thunderbolt 4, however, can connect two 4k monitors simultaneously, or one 8k monitor. In addition, Thunderbolt 4 can have more ports than Thunderbolt 3.

  • Wi-Fi 6E offers a wealth of upgrades, including wider channels, less interference, and lower latency. In other words, Wi-Fi 6E will support more devices simultaneously, with higher speeds and more stability.


Specs

The specifications of each processor in the Alder Lake line do differ, with the common feature being that each processor has a hybrid architecture, combining performance and efficient cores. It should be noted that the CPUs with an F at the end of their names do not come with integrated graphics. The others come with an Intel UHD 770 iGPU.


The specs for each processor in the 12th-gen Intel line are as follows:

  • Core i9-12900K - 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficient), 24 threads, max boost speed 5.2GHz, max power 241W

  • Core i9-12900KF - 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficient), 24 threads, max boost speed 5.2GHz, max power 241W

  • Core i7- 12700K - 12 cores (8 performance, 4 efficient), 20 threads, max boost speed 5GHz, max power 190W

  • Core i7-12700KF - 12 cores (8 performance, 4 efficient), 20 threads, max boost speed 5GHz, max power 190W

  • Core i5-12600K - 10 cores (6 performance, 4 efficient), 16 threads, max boost speed 4.9GHz, max power 150W

  • Core i5-12600KF - 10 cores (6 performance, 4 efficient), 16 threads, max boost speed 4.9GHz, max power 150W


Who are the 12th Generation Intel CPUs for?

Ultimately, the upgraded technology and performance will not mean much to someone who is not intending to push the limits on their PC. Therefore, the 12th-gen processors are best suited for gamers or professionals who use performance intensive programs.


The hybrid architecture, combined with the Thread Director, also make the 12th-gen CPUs a great option for multi-taskers. For example, the Thread Director would make it easy to play a game in 4K resolution by assigning it to a P-core, while at the same time