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In brief: Would you like to own an Intel Alder Lake CPU months before their release date? It is possible, though doing so comes with several caveats: they cost over $1,000, come from China, must be bought in bulk, and there are no compatible motherboards.
Hardware blogger YuuKi_AnS (via Tom's Hardware) reports that Chinese merchants are selling Qualification Samples (QS) of Intel's Core i9-12900K Alder Lake processor in China, months before their official late 2021 or early 2022 official release date.
We recently saw some alleged specs for the hybrid Alder Lake chips appear online. They feature both Golden Cove (performance/big) cores and Gracemont (efficiency/little) cores. The i9-12900K has a total of 16 cores—eight Golden Cove and eight Gracemont—24 threads, 30 MB of L3 cache, a 125W PL1 and 228W PL2.
The Core i9-12900K features a 5.3 GHz turbo boost clock and a 5 GHz boost clock on the Golden Cove cores, while the Gracemont ones have a 3.9 GHz turbo boost and 3.7 GHz boost clock.
|Cores / Threads||8 / 16||8 / 8|
|Boost Clock||5.0 GHz||3.7 GHz|
|Turbo Boost Clock||5.3 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|L3 Cache||30 MB|
|PL1 TDP||125 W|
|PL2 TDP||228 W|
In addition to the complications of buying something from China, the Alder Lake QS chips aren't an appealing prospect. They cost between $1,064.95 and $1,157.55 and must be purchased in bulk packs of 100 CPUs—minimum. But the biggest problem is that the sellers aren't offering any Alder Lake motherboards. With the upcoming LGA1700 socket not available on any existing mobos, the processors aren't going to be of much use to your everyday consumer.