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
iGPU Base
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
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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  • mode_13h - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - link

    Also, it's not as if operating systems are completely naive to scheduling on hybrid CPUs, if you count Hyper-Threading (aka SMT) as such. If modern OS schedulers can already manage to load up one thread/core before doubling-up, then I don't really see why it's so hard to insert a step in the middle (as Intel suggests).

    I've heard some concerns that Big.Little designs will unfairly victimize workloads running on the Little cores, but this is similar to problems that OS schedulers are already designed to solve. Threads within the same priority group should get roughly equal execution time, and a good scheduler merely has to weight that execution time according to the power of the core, to ensure fairness. Worst case, that might entail moving a job from a Little core to give it some time on a Big core, but the cost of such migrations are insignificant if they're done infrequently.
  • GreenReaper - Saturday, March 26, 2022 - link

    The product might not be a reaction, but the timing of its release might be. If Anandtech can prepare a story, Intel can prepare a release. At the same time, not many who could prove it either way.
  • Khanan - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    The fastest desktop professor? Not really. Despite auto-overclocking itself to 250W it’s still slower than the 5950X. And then, imagine, the 5950X can be overclocked too! Suffice to say the 5950X easily destroys this half breed trash that doesn’t even have 32 threads and a mish mash of desktop and mobile processors. And that without using over 200W of power. Hopefully Zen 4 will destroy anything Intel release in 2022, we can’t have this corrupt company up there again, and inefficient hardware isn’t the way to go either.
  • TheWanginator - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    Am I the only one who sees it as totally hilarious that after alll those years of AMD getting dinged for power efficiency, its now the competition going in the totally opposite direction. Just for the sake of the win
  • Khanan - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    AMD was always more power efficient than Intel if you forget FX for a second, though. We can forget FX as a misstep that won’t happen again.

    Since Intel is in the low tech role they’re just pushing the clocks and that’s inefficient. Their cores are too big and fat and monolithic is yesteryears news. Maybe their manufacturing is garbage too, who knows. A friend suggested that “intel 7” is to blame for the inefficiency, but somehow I doubt that. Maybe part of it at best.
  • blppt - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    Remember that Intel once made Prescott.
  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - link

    This comment has aged as well as "Can it run Crysis?". Much like any low-end GPU can run Crysis today, Prescott in its fastest model only had a 115W TDP - about as much power as today's mid-range CPUs at full load. It's only remembered as hot because of its competition's higher efficiency and the jump in power compared to its predecessor.
  • Khanan - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - link

    What are you on about? Efficiency is relative, an 115W was a lot back then. If your CPUs aren’t any faster and still suck way more energy they are being seen as powerhogs. P4 in general was a mixed bag, I wouldn’t say it was a great architecture, it barely delivered sufficient performance with high costs and inefficiency. Has a reason why they abandoned it and went back to the original Pentium design.
  • blppt - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - link

    Due to the much larger process node back in the Prescott days, that relative pittance of a TDP resulted in a blast furnace.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - link

    > that relative pittance of a TDP resulted in a blast furnace.

    Huh? TDP is in Watts. Now, leaving aside the wiggle-room in how it's actually defined, a chip putting out 115 W is generating the same heat no matter what process node it's made on.

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