Update 3/28: Following Newegg’s flub on Friday, Intel today is now (finally) officially announcing the Core i9-12900KS. The company’s new flagship consumer desktop chip will be going on sale next Tuesday, April 5th, with a recommended price of $739.

In terms of specifications, Newegg’s posting has turned out to be spot-on, with a maximum turbo clock of 5.5GHz and an all-core turbo clock of 5.2GHz. As were the 150 Watt base TDP and 241 Watt turbo TDP. All of which stands to make this Intel’s fastest consumer desktop chip yet, and one of the more power hungry.

It should be noted that Intel typically lists their chip prices in quantities of 1000 units. So while Intel’s official $739 price tag is lower than the $799 price in Newegg’s initial listing, it’s very likely that the retail price for the chip will land near or at $799 anyhow – though we’ll know for sure come April 5th.

Finally, availability for the i9-12900KS should be better than past Intel special edition chips (e.g. 9900KS). In our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

The rest of the original story, updated with final figures and prices, follows below.


March 25th

Long expected from Intel, the Core i9-12900KS is now out of the bag thanks to an apparently accidental listing from Newegg. The major PC parts retailer listed the unannounced Intel chip for sale and began taking orders earlier this morning. pulling it a couple of hours later. But with the scale and popularity of Newegg – as well as having the complete specifications posted – the cat is now irreversibly out of the bag.

The Core i9-12900KS, where the S stands for Special Edition, pushes the standard 12900K to new frequency highs. The processor is in an 8P+8E configuration, with the key data points being the 5.5 GHz Turbo frequency across two cores, and 5.2 GHz Turbo frequency across all cores – and like the other K parts, with sufficient cooling this chip has an unlimited turbo period. Given the extreme clockspeeds, this is going to be a ‘thin-bin’ part, which means that Intel is going to need to do extra binning to bring these processors to market in sufficient quantities with the characteristics determined by the bin.

Intel 12th Gen Core, Alder Lake
AnandTech Cores
P+E/T
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
iGPU Base
W
Turbo
W
Price
$1ku
i9-12900KS 8+8/24 2500 4000 3400 5500 770 150 241 $739
i9-12900K 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 770 125 241 $589
i9-12900KF 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 - 125 241 $564
i7-12700K 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 770 125 190 $409
i7-12700KF 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 - 125 190 $384
i5-12600K 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 770 125 150 $289
i5-12600KF 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 - 125 150 $264

Compared to the regular Core i9-12900K, this new processor adds +100 MHz on the E-core and P-core all-core turbo frequencies, but +300 MHz on the top turbo. Meanwhile base clockspeeds are going up slightly as well, to 2.5Ghz for the E-cores and 3.4GHz on the P-cores – though given the high-end nature of the chip, the 12900KS is unlikely to spend much (if any) time not deep into turbo.

TDPs have also gone up slightly to support the higher clockspeeds; while Turbo power remains at 241 W, base power is now 150 W, up from 125W for the normal 12900K. Rounding out the package is support for DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800, and integrated UHD 770 graphics.

Intel has launched ‘Special Edition’ models before. The most recent was the Core i9-9900KS, an updated version of the i9-9900K. The KS was the first model to have 5.0 GHz across all eight cores, however supply was limited and it was hard to get hold of. Though in our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

Some of the 12900KS details were leaked even before today's quasi-launch, with some commentary about how this extra frequency is readily available on the standard 12900K with a little overclocking. The difference here is the guarantee of that frequency without needing to overclock – the same argument as it was before with the 9900KS vs 9900K. To a number of users, that’s a useful guarantee to have, especially with pre-built systems and system integrators.

Intel’s main competition comes in the form of two AMD processors. For overall multithreaded throughput, the existing 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X remains AMD's top chip. Meanwhile on the gaming front, competition comes from AMD’s forthcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which is an 8 core processor with an extra 64 MB of L3 cache to help with gaming. AMD is claiming +15% gaming performance over the Ryzen 9 5900X, and 0.98x to 1.2x over the 12900K at 1080p High settings, so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Neither Intel nor AMD have access to each other’s chips right now, so a direct comparison using both sets of data is likely to be inconclusive right now.

Top Tier Processor Options
AnandTech Cores
P+E
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
L3
MB
Base
W
Turbo
W
Street
Price
i9-12900KS 8+8 3400 5500 30 150 241 $739
R9 5950X 16+0 3400 4900 64 105 142 $590
i9-12900K 8+8 3200 5200 30 125 241 $610
R9 5900X 12+0 3700 4800 64 105 142 $450
R7 5800X3D 8+0 3400 4500 96 105 142 $449
i7-12700K 8+4 3600 5000 25 125 190 $385

With street pricing on Intel's existing i9-12900K already running at about $610, Intel has upped the ante even further on pricing for the new special edition chip. Officially, Intel is listing the i9-12900KS at $739, and this is almost certainly the company's usual 1000 unit bulk price. Newegg's early listing, on the other hand, was for $799. And while pricing is subject to change (with high-end products it's often decided at the last minute), Newegg's initial price is likely to be at or near the final retail price of the chip once it is released.

Assuming for the moment that Newegg's price is accurate, the $799 price tag represents a further $189 premium for the higher-clocked chip. Suffice it to say, Intel isn't intending this to be a bargain chip, but rather is charging an additional premium for the chart-topping clockspeeds.

What is interesting for gamers is that while Intel has decided to turbo-charge its high-end processor, AMD beefed up one of its mid-range instead. Which means there's a pretty significant price disparity here, reflecting the fact that Intel's top gaming chip is also their top chip for overall multithreaded processing. So depending how performance plays out, Intel may pull off a win here in gaming, but it probably won't do much to move the market share (or dissuade 5800X3D buyers).

It should be pointed out that based on our research, the 12900KS is not a reactionary measure to the AMD chip. AnandTech has seen documents showing that the KS was part of the processor list during Alder Lake development, but has required extra time to mature and finalize – so much so that we wrote up a version of today's article months in advance, expecting an earlier announcement/release date. So Intel's plans up to now have been in flux, and while the company is certainly not above raining on AMD's parade, they also have other ambitions with their 16 core heterogeneous processor.

At the time of writing it's not clear when the i9-12900KS will be formally released. Newegg's early posting had a "first available" date of March 10th, so it may be someone was off by a month there (Update: Intel has announced an April 5th launch date). But we can’t wait to get these chips in for testing.

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  • NextGen_Gamer - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    I would love for AnandTech to do a full Intel/AMD comparison, with not only the newly released Core i9 12900KS and Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPUs, but the (majority) of the rest of each product stack as well. There has been so many updates to both Windows 11 to improve performance on both sides, as well as numerous driver updates in particular for AMD to improve Win11 performance. It would be awesome to see how they compare now a fully up-to-date Win11 OS, drivers, BIOS. etc. Reply
  • BushLin - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    ... With realistic RAM speed and timings! Reply
  • DannyH246 - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    As long as AMD are ahead you can forget about seeing such a thing here. Rest assured though, the moment Intel are ahead there will be an Anandtech Mega Test of all demonstrating Intel's 'Leadership'. Reply
  • WaltC - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    Yes, that does seem to be the case here, for some reason. AT really needs to broaden its experience portfolio, imo. They often seem stuck in that old mantra that "You're safe with Intel," etc...;) Reply
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    You people might not have noticed, but A. The last relevant AMD launch was late 2020,
    B. Alder Lake was collocated with the launch of Windows 11 and DDR5 so they had extra coverage on that, and
    C. Ian Cutress has left, so Ryan and Gavin (part time IIRC) are left trying to cover everything (which they can't really)
    Reply
  • at_clucks - Saturday, March 26, 2022 - link

    "C. Ian Cutress has left"

    Which actually works for the best as far as fairness is concerned since Ian was so absolutely terrified of making Intel look bad and ruining those "industry connections" he loved to brag about that he literally never even tried to put Intel in a bad light.

    His reviews were thus somewhat useless because I always had to wonder if Intel is truly good or if Ian just dismissed the "outlier" data points that could have made Intel look worse. Eventually I'd go verify against the reviews from outlets and in the past years 8 out of 10 times it was more the latter. And if I have to check with other outlets I might as well go straight to them.

    This kind of weasel behavior just poisons everything. He used the AT name and the doors it opened for his own gain and paid back in biased articles that didn't help readers and pushed them away from AT. Now I'd rather have one solid gold massive review per year then a string of fluff pieces. So fingers crossed whoever is left is willing to go ahead with quality and hopefully the leadership won't stand for another round of "cutressisms" or else pretty soon there will be nobody around to even point fingers at AT.
    Reply
  • at_clucks - Saturday, March 26, 2022 - link

    And to back it up:

    Ian's article in which he was originally ecstatically announcing the 5GHz CPU despite the screenshots in his own article (https://images.anandtech.com/doci/12893/image591.j... saying 2.7GHz base frequency: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12893/intels-28core...

    Ian's article when when he "got a sneak peek" at the Intel setup and discovered the CPU actually was overclocked (gasp! every other outlet was clear to point this out from the first time) and that the secret sauce was a 1HP chiller (something else every other outlet has flagged as suspicious originally). Not a hint of outrage at being taken for a fool: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12907/we-got-a-snea...

    Ian's article when Intel finally came clean about the trickery, with a tame title like "some details are confirmed", Ian writes a long apology letter in Intel's name with his "outrage" being limited to saying the "announcement was not ideally communicated": https://www.anandtech.com/show/12932/intel-confirm...

    Ian, there's no amount of backsplanations that you can give now that your actions haven't made painfully clear in the past. You have bent over backwards to keep Intel happy to the dismay of your readers. Good luck with your industry connections, you worked far harder for those than for AT and your readers.
    Reply
  • Nexing - Saturday, March 26, 2022 - link

    I am amazed at_clucks.
    Without getting into the issue, the heavy data based way your arguments are displayed, plus the care and tight focus on your use of adjectives, that are far from contentious in a sensitive matter that could become so easily divisive just by the way it is expressed... amazing indeed.

    This seems to be part of a trend about the way a few advanced channels that I follow tend to communicate. A tendency I've been expecting for decades and only recently I'd happen to find.
    Anandtech would very much benefit for such approach and execution, if someone from AT is attentive, do please take note.
    Are you available as tech writer? (do not expect your answer here, just trying to arch over). Do you write in some other subject, channel? Please share it here if you do.

    Now, getting at the actual conversation, if your take on this matter (over my head) is correct, this explains the rather AT linearity felt along the latter years that INTEL wasn't able to keep up tik tok and more so with their inability to bring 10nm timely into market.
    From my far view it has been rather obvious that every quarter of INTEL repeatedly posting positive news (over 10Kmillions of revenue) at shareholders meetings, sharply contrasted with the horrible news coming concurrently from their manufacturing side.

    Shareholders applause and the rather lack of critical tech voices (appart from Semiaccurate) could not silence the fact that their financial success has been mostly demographic and halo based (the later being what they are probably attempting to sustain with this release). Just passively watching Samsung and TSMC technological advances has been enough to show the underlying disparity at play.
    Reply
  • at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    Look, don't focus on my adjectives as they're not meant to make my message impartial or anything. They mirror my feelings for the situation, the frustration that a once great tech news outlet was reduced to being a "we're here too" mouthpiece, the relative uselessness of articles even when they contain a lot of technically accurate info but presented in a severely biased way, especially since this was flagged time and again on AT by many readers. I'm frustrated with the writer who made it happen for personal gain, and with the leadership who allowed it for the short term gain of not losing an editor in exchange for the long term loss of credibility among the people who matter: readers. I was banned (by Ryan if I remember correctly) for flagging this in a language no harsher than what you see here today.

    Ian's articles show objectively that he has taken a *very* soft stance on anything bad from Intel, up to a ridiculous level where he just accepted being lied to, and tricked into lying to his readers... and the reaction wasn't to play down what he did ("they tricked me too, sorry" which would have been reasonably understandable) but to play down what Intel did to everybody which is outrageous and demeaning for him as a person and as a professional. This supports my (very) subjective opinion that he is a weasel and he abused his position of power - informing readers with the AT name behind him - for personal gain.

    I won't pretend I'd be a good tech writer these days, I editorialize my writing too much to do a good job. I was a reasonably above average one 2 decades ago, maybe not even as good as Ian could have been if he had a spine and some honor. But I always put the value to the reader first, so the content and presentation were solid and the integrity unquestionable. I'm proud that some of my articles were the gold standard in OC communities on multiple continents for some years and that the people who taught Ian to OC probably learned a thing or two from me.

    This being said, while I will still visit AT once in a while I will certainly not recommend an article to anyone else. The fact that AT kept Ian in place for so long but let Andrei Frumusanu slip through their fingers was the last nail in the coffin. Andrei seemed to be the exact opposite of Ian when it came to making corporate enemies, repeatedly outing them for shenanigans. The whole thing just... rotted on the inside and in my book it's next to impossible to fix that.

    Trust and credibility takes eons to build and Ians to lose.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    > Trust and credibility takes eons to build and Ians to lose.

    Heh.

    For my $0.02, I was critical of the way Ian pushed Intel to rebrand their manufacturing node. Who knows if his urging really had any effect, but I remember him taking some credit for at least raising the suggestion with folks at Intel. I felt that was definitely crossing a journalistic line.

    In the grand scheme of things, I do feel like Ian deserves more praise than criticism. On balance, the site is definitely worse for losing him.

    And I'd hope we can discuss the specifics of critiques without impugning the motives of the critic. I guess that's naive, but it's not out of reach, for most of us.
    Reply

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