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Best Intel 12th Gen CPUs

Brian Fisher
  Nov 29, 2022 8:43 PM

A CPU is like the heart and soul of a computer which determines its performance and efficiency. In this article, you will find a selection of the best Intel 12th Gen CPUs, which will totally be worth your investment for a decent gaming performance.


Overview

Are you looking for the best Intel 12th Gen CPU? Then stop looking elsewhere as this is the right place for you. In this article, we have rounded up a list of  the best Alder Lake processors with all the buying information necessary for you to make a proper decision. These include features such as budget, workstation and gaming performances.

Please be aware that Intel 12th Gen CPUs have been upgraded to accommodate Windows 11, which must utilize their performance at the maximum level. Another thing worth noting is that if you are planning to purchase an Intel 12th Gen CPU with overclocking capabilities in this regard, there’ll be a need for a Z690 motherboard to unlock this feature.

Gaming performance

Although AMD has been a rigorous competitor of Intel for the position of the best gaming CPU, they are beaten by Intel for their higher overclocking capabilities. Rumors have also spread out that Intel might be able to reassert their dominance in gaming performance. But that is to wait until the release date of the 12th gen to find out more. 

Workstation performance

Some leaked data have pointed out that the leading 12900K CPU has developed multi-core performance immensely, which is AMD’s winning area for a long period of time. The AMD Ryzen 5950X has gone back and forth between leading gaming CPUs and the professional workstation/server CPUs such as the AMD Threadrippers and Intel Xeons. And it seems that Intel might be attempting to win the battle with the Intel Core i9-12900.

Our best choices

  • The strongest 12th Gen CPU for gaming and workstation tasks: Intel Core i9-12900K. Link Amazon 

  • Best Value Intel 12th Gen processor for gaming geeks: Intel Core i7-12700KF. Link Amazon 

  • Best Intel 12th Gen CPU for gaming and casual workstation use: Intel Core i7-12700K.  Link Amazon 

  • Best Intel 12th Gen processor for overclocking capabilities:  Intel Core i5-12600KF. Link Amazon 


In-depth Review

1. Intel Core i9-12900K

Intel is really planning on competing with AMD for the title of the best gaming CPU with the i9-12900K. According to the recent information provided by Intel’s manufacturer, the Intel Core i9-12900K will outperform the Ryzen 9 5950X by 0-30% in terms of gaming performance. Its MSRP is reasonably at $589, which is only $50 higher than the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and much cheaper than the 5950X which is priced at $800.  That means 36% cheaper with a performance increase by a third.

Remember that these performance data rely on the 5.3 GHz boost clock of the Intel Core i9-12900K, compared to 4.9 GHz for the 5950X and 4.8 GHz for the 5900X. The area that gives Intel CPUs an upper hand is its overclocking ability. When being paired with a Z690 motherboard, this might give it a competitive advantage over its rivals. 

Not only does it seem that the Intel Core i9-12900K isn’t just aiming at winning the battle with AMD in the gaming field but it is also trying to take the leading role in multi-core workstation tasks, which is the area where AMD has traditionally dominated. Its number of cores and threads has risen to twice as much as that in the previous 11900K, with 16 cores and 24 threads. This means the I9-12900K can stand up at the same level with the AMD Ryzen 5950X in the number of cores (The thread count is lower because 50% of these cores are E-cores). However, these CPU competitors have entirely different compositions, with the AMD Ryzen 9 having a smaller-sized 7nm process and the Alder Lake having a 10nm one. Therefore, it is difficult to know which one is truly better until actual benchmarking is carried out. 

Despite a decrease in the L3 cache’s size down to 16 MB in the older generation Intel model, the 12900K is expected to have an expanded L3 cache with 30MB, L2 cache with 14MB, and L1 cache with 1.4MB. What this actually means in gaming and workstation performance is unknown, especially since we have no idea of how the kernel scheduler within the operating system will react to the little and big composition of the 12th gen CPUs regarding cache: maybe it will distribute it differently among the core types? Overall though, this would probably suggest a CPU that handles simultaneous multi-tasking workloads better, which perhaps means a smoother experience during workstation tasks and not heavy duty ones such as gaming.

In general, the Intel Core i9-12900K is expected to become the strongest, most desirable gaming CPU on the market, and not simply the best of its range.

In summary: 

Pros:

  • Strong single-core and multi-core performance

  • Overclocking capabilities

Cons: None

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2. Intel Core i7-12700KF

While the Alder Lake CPU may get most public attention, this one is probably ranked the second biggest CPU which will mainly target real gamers. These users are better off investing more on a stronger graphics card then focusing all on the CPU.

For the same MSRP at $384, the i7-12700KF provides gaming users with the core count similar to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X rival (eight cores), but with an addition of four productivity cores, which translates into a total of 12 cores and 20 threads. The boost clock speed of the 12700KF is a little higher than the 5800X. (5.0 GHz compared to 4.9). Yet, how all these features affect gaming and workstation performance is yet to be known and we must wait till the release date to decide. Again, the overlocking prospect of the Intel K-series should draw a lot of attention from the most intense gamers. It’s an area that should make an extending competitive edge over the rivaling Ryzen 7 5800X.  

We have selected the KF version just because it delivers the greatest value for gaming enthusiasts whose primary purposes are to play games and to do some light computer work such as word processing and web browsing and it competes with the AMD model in terms of pricing. Although there are certain benefits when it comes to having integrated graphics, for real gamers, this is more of a backup element that doesn’t really matter. 

To really demonstrate what the Intel Core i7-12700KF is capable of, we will have to await independent benchmarking from a third party. However, it is reasonable to expect that this CPU is going to be the best pick in the upper mid-range of the 12th gen lineup.

In summary:

Pros:

  • Strong single-core performance

  • Overclocking potential

Cons: None

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3. Intel Core i7-12700K

Although we’ve chosen the Intel Core i7-12700KF as the best value pick for mid-range CPUs, the Intel Core i7-12700K may be a better alternative for some gamers. 

Functionally, the Intel Core i7-12700K is similar to the Intel Core i7-12700KF other than the fact that it is accompanied by its own integrated graphics (iGPU). As mentioned earlier in this article, there’s no need to use this iGPU for average gaming experience, but it can be beneficial to have one in certain situations. 

If you are planning to use your computer for more creative use and workstation apps, remember that certain Adobe software products use features such as QuickSync which can’t function without an iGPU. 

In summary:

Pros

  • Strong single-core performance

  • Overclocking potential

Cons: None 

Today’s Best Deal: View Amazon

4. Intel Core i5-12600KF

Currently, the Intel Core i5-12600KF is the lowest-cost Intel 12th Gen processor on the market that you can buy with overclocking potential, although its price is still in the lower mid-range. It’s the cheapest one available online and designed with 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores with a clock speed boosted up to 4.9 GHz, and a 20MB L3 cache.

Since its $246 MSRP is lower than the AMD CPU which costs $300, it will be interesting to see whether the Intel Core i5-12600KF can match up with AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X with regards to performance once independent benchmarking takes place. 

In summary:

Pros:

  • Good single-core price-to-performance 

  • Overclocking capabilities

Cons: None

Today’s Best Deal: Link Amazon

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Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API


Final Thought

After reading this review, hopefully you have obtained some useful information related to the best Intel 12th Gen CPUs. No surprise, the best option is the Intel Core i9 12900K which delivers the highest greatest single-core and multicore performance. Another great pick is the Core i7 12700KF that is designed for gamers who’d rather spend more on a better quality graphics card.  

One thing to remember is that you need to buy yourself a Z690 motherboard if you are purchasing one of the K versions of the Intel 12th gen.


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Brian Fisher
Brian Fisher
Brian is another gaming enthusiast at productfind. Not only is he good at gaming but he is also a technology expert in the field of computers. He loves to inspire others to learn about technology and games through his writing. He is currently residing in Boston.