Some strange Intel Core 12900K, 12700K, and 12600K specs have appeared online

mongeese

Posts: 517   +110
Staff member
Rumor mill: Intel recently sent samples of Alder Lake (12th-gen Core) processors to their partners, and with that some leaks have started on their specifications. At the moment, nothing but the core count of the 12900K has been verified by a database leak, though most of the information has been corroborated by multiple sources.

Some of the leaked specifications appear strange, but not in an unexpected way. Alder Lake CPUs have been confirmed by Intel to have Golden Cove and Gracemont cores inside, so each processor has two core counts and two clock speeds.

FYI Golden Cove cores are often called performance cores, p-cores, big cores, and capital "C" cores. Gracemont cores are called efficiency cores, e-cores, little cores, or lowercase "c" cores.

Golden Cove is the technical successor to Cypress Cove, used in 11th-gen Core CPUs. Golden Cove is a standard Intel architecture, fast and furious. Gracemont takes a different direction though: its cores are power-efficient, don’t have hyper-threading and are (seemingly) limited to about 4 GHz.

Gracemont cores theoretically unburden Golden Cove cores from enduring low-priority work like streaming music or downloading a file. They also supplement Golden Cove cores during heavily multi-threaded workloads like renders.

Core i9-12900K

  Golden Cove Gracemont
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

Like AMD’s 5950X, the 12900K sports 16 cores, but unlike the 5950X, it’s got just 24 threads. The Golden Cove cores could contest the 5950X’s dominance in games, but it’s hard to say how much the Gracemont cores will contribute. At least they haven’t contributed much to the 12900K’s TDP, which remains the same as the 11900K’s.

Core i7-12700K

  Golden Cove Gracemont
Cores / Threads 8 / 16 4 / 4
Boost Clock 4.7 GHz 3.6 GHz
Turbo Boost Clock 5.0 GHz 3.8 GHz
L3 Cache 25 MB
PL1 TDP 125 W
PL2 TDP 228 W

The 12700K is effectively a 12900K with half the number of Gracemont cores and slightly slower clock speeds. It’ll have worse multi-threaded performance but similar gaming performance, so it’s a potential high-end winner.

Core i5-12600K

  Golden Cove Gracemont
Cores / Threads 6 / 12 4 / 4
Boost Clock 4.5 GHz 3.4 GHz
Turbo Boost Clock 4.9 GHz 3.6 GHz
L3 Cache 20 MB
PL1 TDP 125 W
PL2 TDP 228 W

The 12600K’s 10-core, 16-thread configuration is quite alien, but it occupies the same relative performance bracket as the 11600K and 10600K. Six Golden Cove cores are enough to prevent a game’s main threads from spilling onto the Gracemont cores, and they’re clocked just 10% slower than the 12900K’s.

In addition to some fairly compelling specifications, Alder Lake will be the first CPU series to support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5. Storage drives utilizing PCIe 5.0's speed are reported to be in the pipeline, while the first DDR5 modules are already available.

Intel has indicated that Alder Lake will release towards the end of 2021, coinciding with AMD’s usual release schedule. Previous rumors have also suggested that Intel could announce Alder Lake as soon as a couple of months from now.

Image credit: Aviv Rachmadian

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Irata

Posts: 1,675   +2,814
Isn‘t PCIe 5 support limited to 16 lanes, I.e. the GPU ? Unless that can be split to e.g. x8 plus two x4 for storage.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,850   +5,922
The rumor for Core i9-12900K has that it will feature 12 high-performance cores, with hyperthreading, plus 4 low-performance/energy cores (without hyperthreading). That makes 16 cores with 24 threads.
 

Geralt

Posts: 563   +789
The rumor for Core i9-12900K has that it will feature 12 high-performance cores, with hyperthreading, plus 4 low-performance/energy cores (without hyperthreading). That makes 16 cores with 24 threads.
What a confusing mess!
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 297   +142
This two kinds of cores only add more confusion. Typical of Intel.

Seriously?

It's already confirmed that amd is doing the same in just a couple more generations of their chips as well.

Intel is just ahead of game in this regard.

Whether it makes them faster is still undetermined but they are making this jump, that amd is absolutely going to be making as well, first.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 297   +142
The rumor for Core i9-12900K has that it will feature 12 high-performance cores, with hyperthreading, plus 4 low-performance/energy cores (without hyperthreading). That makes 16 cores with 24 threads.

Well I would say that's "a rumor".... So is the above Ive read the above specs in more places so take from that what you want but it's still ALL rumor until they say so.

How many people couldn't get the Nvidia numbers right before launch, nor believe that they would have "double the Cuda cores"?

It was also "insane" that Nvidia was using 320w until amd came along and did similar then it was "normal".
 

Nanochip

Posts: 43   +47
The rumor for Core i9-12900K has that it will feature 12 high-performance cores, with hyperthreading, plus 4 low-performance/energy cores (without hyperthreading). That makes 16 cores with 24 threads.
That can’t be correct. 12 cores with hyper threading plus 4 low performance cores = 12x2 + 4 = 28 threads. That’s 16 cores and 28 threads.

The rumors I’ve heard of are 8 high performance cores and 8 low power cores = 8x2 + 8 = 24 threads. That’s 16 cores and 24 threads. Can you quote the source of your information?
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,405   +2,002
Seriously?

It's already confirmed that amd is doing the same in just a couple more generations of their chips as well.

Intel is just ahead of game in this regard.

Whether it makes them faster is still undetermined but they are making this jump, that amd is absolutely going to be making as well, first.

AMD will go this route for Zen 5.

 

quadibloc

Posts: 308   +195
The reason why the 6 big cores part doesn't have 6 little cores should be obvious; the Gracemont cores are smaller, so a unit with defective big cores won't necessarily have the same proportion of defective little cores. And it could be designed so that one has to disable four little cores at a time.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,867   +3,749
TechSpot Elite
The approach makes just as much sense on desktop.
Does it really? Other than hitting lower power usage in some situations you get pretty much nothing else, no other benefit. You don't have a strict 15-40W TDP/power limit you have to keep, no strict battery usage optimizations needed and no strict die size restrictions (or at least not as strict).

You are 100% better off adding a few more big cores for regular PCs.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,837   +791
The rumor for Core i9-12900K has that it will feature 12 high-performance cores, with hyperthreading, plus 4 low-performance/energy cores (without hyperthreading). That makes 16 cores with 24 threads.
12 cores(HT)= 24 threads
4 cores( no HT) = 4 threads
So my math says 16 cores 28 threads.
Am I missing something?
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,837   +791
Does it really? Other than hitting lower power usage in some situations you get pretty much nothing else, no other benefit. You don't have a strict 15-40W TDP/power limit you have to keep, no strict battery usage optimizations needed and no strict die size restrictions (or at least not as strict).

You are 100% better off adding a few more big cores for regular PCs.
It would for me. My use case is all over the place. Gaming, streaming, mindless browsing,...

Today's society is still about that green energy thing and lightening the load on the power grid.
 

brucek

Posts: 870   +1,258
Are there fundamental architecture differences between a p-core and an e-core? For example, if you took a p-core, turned off hyperthreading, and throttled it to 4 GHz, are there any user-impacting differences between it and the e-core?
 

Watzupken

Posts: 318   +303
It would for me. My use case is all over the place. Gaming, streaming, mindless browsing,...

Today's society is still about that green energy thing and lightening the load on the power grid.
Efficient cores in theory sounds great, but the reality is that even performance cores don’t consume so much power as you think they do. Modern processors don’t run at full power all the time and depending on load, will dynamically boost clock speed and mange the power requirement efficiently. Moreover, slower processor takes more time to complete any given task and takes longer to park cores, and drop clock speed. While a performance core quickly completes the job at full speed, then will park cores and drop clock speed to reduce power consumption. On a desktop, a fast processor in my opinion is a better solution than a hybrid one. Hybrid really helps if you are trying to maximise battery life since it’s limited and not so much for desktops.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 331   +331
Does it really? Other than hitting lower power usage in some situations you get pretty much nothing else, no other benefit.

You're underselling the point - that's a massive benefit! Most users are working in that envelope most of the time. Time will tell if the approach is good or bad Vs more normal cores, buts it definitely looks sensible enough on paper. We won't know until we see the real world figures.