12th Gen Intel Alder Lake chips are official
Intel has officially unveiled its 12th Gen Core processors for desktops and laptops. The new chipset from Intel is based on the “Intel 7” manufacturing process, which is still a 10nm based node fabrication process, but better than Intel 11th Gen Core processors. The company introduced a total of six new Intel 12th Gen chips. The three models introduced initially are the Core i9-12900K, Core i7-12700K, and the Core i5-12600K. There will be a “KF” version of these chips which will come without an integrated GPU.
Aside from the bump in version number, Intel 12th Gen Core chips mark the company’s switch to a hybrid design. Intel is calling this shift its “Biggest Architectural Shift in a Decade.” Instead of having multiple cores with the same clock speed and performance, the new Intel chips are equipped with a combination of P-cores (Performance cores) and E-cores (Efficient cores). The new architecture is similar to what Apple’s M-series chips have — the ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture.
The new chips work in the same way as the modern-day smartphones. P-cores perform the heavy-duty tasks whereas the E-cores perform low-level tasks, such as playing music or displaying an offline video. The number of P-cores and the E-cores is different across all the models. The 16-core i9-12900K has 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores, whereas the 10-core i5-12600K has 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores. One thing to note here is that only P-cores support multi-threading and not E-cores.
Moreover, since the cores are now split into two versions, Intel is specifying base, boost, and max clock speeds for the P-cores and the E-Cores. The Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K has a 3.2GHz base clock speed, 5.1GHz boost clock speed, and a 5.2GHz max clock speed for the P-cores. For the E-cores of Core i9-12900K, Intel says it is clocked at 2.4GHz base clock speed and 3.9GHz boost clock speed.
Intel is also specifying a big boost in other CPU specifications. The new models are equipped with large with cache size. To be specific, the i9 model has a 30MB L3 cache, i7 has a 25MB, and the i5 has a 20MB cache. They support DDR5 RAM and boast speeds of 4800 MT/s. The CPUs support PCIe 5.0 as well.
Even on the GPU side, Intel says its integrated GPU is now ~20% faster breaching the gap it has with the latest RTX GPUs from NVIDIA. Coupled with DDR5 RAM, Intel says 12th Gen Core processors are able to perform 36% faster photo editing, up to 32% faster video editing, up to 37% faster 3D modeling, and up to 100% faster multi-frame rendering performance.
The new processors are available for pre-order starting today. The shipping will start on November 4. The base model i5-12600KF (without integrated GPU) has been priced at $264. The top-tier i9 12900K has been priced at $589. For those looking for a laptop with Intel 12th Gen Core CPUs, they’ll have to wait for some time. Traditionally, companies announce their new laptops with new Intel chipsets in the January-February window with availability beginning Spring. So, you can expect new laptops with Intel 12th Gen Core processors from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and others, next year.