5 essential facts about 12th generation Intel processors you may have missed

For several years now, Intel has been lagging behind AMD when it comes to high-performance processors. Compounding this is Apple’s 2020 release of the M1 chip and the 2021 release of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

But with Intel finally announcing its 12th generation Alder Lake processors, will you finally be able to reclaim the number one spot in processing power? Let’s take a look at Intel’s offerings and see for ourselves what they bring to the table.

1. Intel introduces a 10nm processor with a hybrid core design

The three new processors launched on October 27, 2021, are the i9-12900K, i7-12700K, and i5-12600K. They are also available in KF models, which are chipsets without an integrated graphics processing unit (GPU). The main change these made over the previous generation is that they are fabricated using a 10 nm process.

12th generation Intel Core logos

Another significant design change is the new Hybrid Core Design. Since the launch of the Intel Core series, every processor has used the same cores. However, with the 12th generation Intel Core, we now get different performance and efficiency cores.

What this does is that the processor uses performance cores (P-Cores) for priority applications running in the foreground while efficiency cores (E-Cores) are used for background tasks. For example, when you’re playing games, P-Cores will handle your game while E-Cores will work on background tasks, like a streaming app.

Likewise, P-Cores are best used for single-threaded and light-threaded tasks, such as gaming and productivity applications, while mapping highly threaded applications to E-Cores. This ensures that your computer is effectively using the available processor power.

2. Double cores

Intel performance hybrid architecture infographic

Intel has been reported to have had problems with the 10nm process, which is the main reason why 11th generation Intel processors have fewer cores than 10th generation offerings. However, it appears that Intel has resolved this matter.

The i9-11900KB, i7-11700B, and i5-11500B had eight, eight, and six cores, respectively. But now, the 12th generation versions of these processors have 16, 12 and 10 cores. These allow the processor to perform more operations simultaneously.

Moreover, its P-Core and E-Core configuration enables the computer to prioritize and categorize tasks, ensuring that your most demanding applications get the most power.

3. Integration of new technologies

Aside from the extra cores and faster speeds, the 12th generation Intel chips also support the latest technologies. For example, you can now run DDR5 RAM chips at speeds up to 5200MHz. These newer RAM sticks can also control their own power, so you can individually set the voltage each DIMM gets as needed.

The latest Intel processors now support PCI Express 5.0. This advances the current PCIe 4.0 standard, with data transfer rate and bandwidth doubling compared to the previous generation. While there are no PCIe 5.0 video cards or peripherals currently on the market, you can expect next-generation graphics support for this new technology.

Related: Intel Core i3, i5 or i7: Which CPU Should You Buy?

4. Fastest benchmarks

The smaller 10nm process allows Intel to pack more semiconductors onto the processor, making it run much more efficiently and faster. As per Intel standards, the i9-12900K can run up to 100% faster than the previous generation i9-11900K. They even claim that it is up to 30% faster than the Ryzen 5950X when gaming.

Intel 12th Generation Games Performance Chart

However, you should take this with a grain of salt. So far, we still don’t have a verified standard from reliable third party sources. On top of that, all of these results come from Intel, so until reviewers can get their hands on ready-made processors, there’s no way for us to know how Alder Lake chips will perform in the real world.

Intel 12th Generation Content Creation Performance Chart

5. Compare prices with AMD chips

In terms of price, Intel’s offerings are competitive.

  • The Ryzen 5 5600X is priced around $299, while the similar i5-12600K has an SRP of $289.

  • Similarly, the Ryzen 7 5800X, which retails for $449, is slashed by the i7-12700K at $409.

  • Only the i9-12900K, at $589, is more expensive than the $549 competitor Ryzen 9 5900X.

Intel 12th Gen vs. Ryzen 5000: Who will take first place?

On paper, the much-touted Alder Lake processors appear to be much better than the previous generation Tiger Lake chips. They also have more cores and higher power than current AMD Zen 3 chips. However, we can only confirm this once we have the chips in our hands and installed them on our computers.

However, it does not matter which of the AMD, Intel or even Apple ranks first for the most powerful chip. The important thing is that the competition among these chip makers rejects further innovation in terms of price, performance and features. And as the battle rages between them, there is bound to be only one winner: us, the consumers.

AMD processor and Intel processor side by side
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