In brief: Intel says AMD’s performance lead is over with Alder Lake, but what remains to be seen is whether or not this will come at the cost of higher power consumption, which in turn would demand better cooling. If the latest leaks out of China are anything to go by, the upcoming 12th generation flagship CPU will be a cutting-edge space heater even with a mild overclock on its P-cores.
Intel could reveal its Alder Lake-S processors for enthusiasts as soon as next week, but the ongoing stream of leaks is slowly driving the hype train off the cliff. The upcoming Core i9-12900K CPU has been spotted in a series of benchmarks where it shows its teeth to AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X CPU, but one interesting detail has been missing all along — power consumption.
By now it’s no secret that Intel wants to regain the performance crown in the desktop CPU space after losing it to AMD because of the latter company’s objectively superior Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently said that while AMD has managed to gain more mindshare among consumers and enterprises over the last few years, this would soon be over with the arrival of Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids.
According to a leak from a Bilibili user who claims to have a qualification sample of Intel’s upcoming Core i9-12900K CPU in their possession, the company has chosen to create yet another power-hungry processor in its pursuit of higher performance.
The Core i9-11900K (Rocket Lake) can already draw as much as 307 watts during full load, but the leaker claims the Core i9-12900K can reach 330 watts during full load when running at 5.2 GHz across all eight P-cores while keeping E-cores idle.
It should be noted this is an overclock that is only stable at a voltage of 1.385. The leaker also posted a screenshot of a CPU-Z benchmark that indicates such an overclock would extend the lead in single-core performance that a stock Core i9-12900K is supposed to have over AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X CPU to around 31 percent.
We don’t know if the test platform included DDR5 or DDR4 RAM, but the P-cores are expected to have a maximum boost clock of 5 GHz, so it’s possible the stock Core i9-12900K will only be as power hungry as its Rocket Lake predecessor, which only has eight P-cores, during heavy workloads.