Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Review (i9-12900K, 4800MHz DDR5, ASUS ROG Z690) – Benchmarks & comparisons

An indepth look at the next-generation hardware from Intel and co.

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It’s finally here! Intel has finally unveiled its sub-10nm desktop CPU lineup and it looks set to impress across the board. We were lucky enough to receive early access to an Intel i9-12900K CPU, Geil Polaris 4800MHz DDR5 RAM (alongside some Corsair Dominator DDR5), and an ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard, allowing us to fully benchmark the next-gen hardware to see how it stacks up against Ryzen and previous generation products.

In this guide, we’ll be performing full performance benchmarks for the next-gen build, including gaming and workflow scenarios. We’ll also be comparing the CPU and RAM against previous-gen alternatives to see how it stacks up.

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Looking to purchase the latest Intel CPUs? Check out our WePC where to buy pages below:

Intel 12th gen Alder Lake: Core features

  • Intel 7 Process
  • Performance-enhancing architecture (big & little cores)
  • Intel thread director
  • Core architecture featuring performance improvements
  • 19% IPC increase
  • 16 cores (8 big cores & 8 little cores) 24 threads
  • Increased L2 & L3 cache
  • DDR5 support
  • PCIe 5.0 support
  • Chiplet PCIe 4.0 support
  • Integrated WiFi 16E support
  • Up to 8 DMI 4.0 lanes

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Our Intel i9-12900K benchmarking PC

We used the same build across the entirety of the tests you’ll see. The only time the benchmarking rig changed was when we tested 4800MHz vs 5200MHz – which saw the Geil Polaris replaced by the Corsair’s Dominator Platinum.

Below is a full list of the specs of the PC used for these tests:

  • Intel i9-12900k
  • GeIL Polaris RGB DDR5 RAM/ Corsair Dominator Platinum 5200MHz
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
  • ASUS RYUJIN II CPU Cooler
  • Sabrent Rocket M.2 2TB
  • Fractal Design 860 ion Plus
  • MSI Gaming x Trio RTX 3090

Intel 12th gen vs Ryzen 5000 series

With Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake launch, we thought it’d be a good time to compare the differences between next-gen Intel and previous Gen Ryzen. Let’s take a look at the side by side comparison so you can get a taste of how the new chips sit within today’s market:

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Intel i9-12900K, Geil Polaris DDR5 4800MHz, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero: Benchmarks & comparisons

Wasting no time, we’ll jump straight into the raw benchmarking data. We’ll be splitting this section into the various tests we ran for the build. We’ll kick start proceedings with a straight benchmark of the build itself.

Intel i9-12900K, Geil Polaris 4800MHz DDR5, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero benchmarks:

We tested several games and Cinbench’s R23 to get an idea of the performance we can expect from the components in mind.

To get a better idea of how these results compare to alternatives, we ran a straight comparison between the i9-12900K and Ryzen’s 5900X – utilizing the same GPU in the process.

Intel i9-12900K vs Ryzen 5900X

As you can see from the results above, performance was fairly level when comparing the 5900X to the Intel i9-12900K. Depending on what game we ran, performance yielded varying results where sometimes the Intel would provide higher frames and others AMD. New World seemed like a clear winner for camp Intel, while Cyberpunk 2077 sat firmly with team red.

Surprisingly, the synthetic benchmarks finished in quicker times than the 5900X, something I wasn’t expecting.

Big cores Vs little cores

We ran the same set of games when comparing big vs little cores. The results show a clear boost in performance for the big cores (to be expected) in everything from gaming to synthetic workloads.

We decided to do a generational comparison after this, letting us see the difference between 10th, 11th, and 12th Gen processors.

Intel 12th vs 11th vs 10th Gen

 

Interesting results for this category, with most games seeming to utilize the GPU more than the CPU. Often, performance across generations would be equal. However, in more CPU-intensive titles such as CS:GO and New World, the 12900K clearly excelled. Synthetic benchmarks were, once again, dominated by the 12th Gen hardware.

Dual Vs single-channel DDR5 comparison

We got similar results when testing single channel vs dual channel performance to the generational comparison. Most games offered up pretty similar FPS figures, however, CS:GO and a few others did favour the dual-channel configuration.

DDR5 speeds: 4800MHz Vs 5200MHz

We didn’t see a great deal of difference when comparing the different RAM speeds. Blender offered absolutely no difference while Cinebench provided a slight increase for 5200MHz speeds. That said, both Cyberpunk 2077 and Days Gone saw a healthy uplift in performance for the 5200MHz variant.

Intel i9-12900K: Windows 11 vs Windows 10 performance

Finally, we ran a quick test using the Intel i9-12900K comparing the performance of Windows 10 vs Windows 11 in various gaming scenarios. Synthetic benchmarks fell in the favour of the more optimized Windows 10, while gaming was fairly level on performance.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, our comprehensive review of the latest next-gen Intel 12th Gen CPU, DDR5 memory, and Z690 ASUS ROG Maximus Hero motherboard. Overall, I wasn’t hugely impressed with the figures we received. That being said, it was a return to the top of the gaming hierarchy for Intel, something they’ve desperately needed since the launch of Ryzen’s hugely impressive 5000 series lineup.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment in the section below.