The Core i9-12900KS will probably be the fastest processor in the world in gaming and single-threaded performance. Intel will release this special edition of Alder Lake before the end of the first quarter, but it has already shown a demo and we have learned something about how the frequency reached 5.5 GHz.
We’ve already written about the new Alder Lake processors that Intel released or introduced at CES 2022 (65W and 35W desktop models, 45W models for laptops a 9-28W mobile version). But the company also preliminarily announced one other desktop innovation: the Core i9-12900KS. Intel has confirmed, shown and already said this most brutal (in terms of performance) Alder Lake processor, when it will start selling. And we already know why he has his extreme bars.
The existence of a special version of the desktop Alder Lake, which would be even more powerful than the Core i9-12900K, was not a completely surprising revelation. Information about this plan leaked in advance and Intel commented on it before the presentation at CES (see here a here). Nevertheless, it is a surprise how far Intel has managed to reach 7nm (formerly known as 10nm) process to drive the frequency of these CPUs. At the same time, they have an architecture with a very high IPC, which makes achieving high frequencies more difficult.
In its presentation on the CES 2022 Core i9-12900KS, Intel showed or showed a running computer with it, and confirmed that this processor will have a maximum boost of 5.5 GHz. At the same time, it has to support the frequency, ie the all-core boost of 5.2 GHz, on all its large cores at once.
Thus, the doubts that the leak showing these cycles concerned only overclocking (and perhaps even with special cooling) were not fulfilled. These frequencies will be in the basic setting “out of the box” (and therefore also covered by the warranty). Alder Lake will be the highest clocked x86 processor to date and perhaps the highest clocked ever. And it looks like it will have the highest single-threaded performance in the world (even against Apple’s ARM processors), that is, before something newer surpasses it again in the future, of course.
i9-12900KS uses Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost
We do not yet have information on TDP and other parameters such as fundamental frequencies. However, information from ASRock revealed one detail. In notes to the new Z690 board BIOSes, it states that they add a Thermal Velocity Boost feature for the Core i9-12900KS processor. These were on the platform before Rocket Lake a Comet Lakebut Alder Lake has not used it on the desktop yet. Respectively, ASRock introduces “Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost”, so the function could be slightly improved.
Thermal Velocity Boost means that the processor can reach a higher turbo frequency if its temperature is below a certain limit. For previous CPUs, it was 70 degrees – below this limit, the Core i9-11900K could deploy a single-core boost of up to 5.3 GHz, but after exceeding it, only 5.2 GHz (at least if the boards did not ignore the settings). So Intel will use this technique again with the Core i9-12900KS and it will be one of the means to achieve a higher beat.
Thermal Velocity Boost, and therefore a sufficiently low temperature, can condition not only the single-fiber frequency of 5.5 GHz, but also the 5.2 GHz all-core turbo. We don’t know yet what the frequencies of i9-12900KS will be without this cool bonus, they could be lower by 100 MHz (as it was in the past), but theoretically even more when we talk about “Enhanced” TVB. It is also almost certain that the 5.5 GHz frequency, in addition to the Thermal Velocity Boost condition, will also require the use of a preferred core (which is the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology that the Core i9-12900K already has).
By the way, there are signs that Thermal Velocity Boost may have originally used the Core i9-12900K, where it was probably planned to use it to achieve a 100 MHz higher boost – 5.3 GHz for single fiber and 5.0 GHz all-core. The first batches of processors allegedly have defined multipliers and voltages for these cycles, but they do not use them (the processor has a separately set lower maximum frequency limit). Later batches are said to no longer have a voltage definition for the 5.3GHz boost. It is not known why this feature was not used on the i9-12900K in the end.
The release will be another quarter
Intel did not announce at CES 2022 the price of this processor, which should logically be higher than the Core i9-12900K. But what has been said is the time of release. This processor is to be on the market before the end of the current quarter, ie sometime in January to March. It could probably be on sale sooner than a similar special game processor from AMD, Ryzen 7 5800X3D s 3D V-Cache, because AMD only said “this spring” for him, which may mean April or May (it will be interesting to watch this battle for the throne of the most powerful game CPU). If you want the best for the game set, it’s probably worth the wait now.
It is not yet clear how much of these processors will go on sale. The previous similar act, Core i9-9900KS, was a limited edition that over time, it sold out and disappeared from stores. Even the Core i9-12900KS could theoretically have limited availability, as it probably uses the highest quality silicones. By the way, Intel talked about the availability of OEMs for computer manufacturers at the term “in Q1”, so it is possible that the processor itself could be on sale a little later. However, maybe it was just clumsy communication and in fact it will reach our retail market in Q1.