Intel Core i9-12900KS Processor

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Intel Core i9-12900KS Processor

Its higher clock speeds give Intel's Core i9-12900KS a solid performance boost over the Core i9-12900K in some scenarios, but its steep price and hot-running tendencies hold it back.

What's So Special About 'KS
Only the most special CPUs were chosen to carry the Core i9-12900KS moniker. This 12th Generation "Alder Lake" processor has 16 cores, eight performance (P-Cores) and eight efficiency (E-Cores), and 30MB of total cache. That's, um, exactly the same spec loadout as the Core i9-12900K. When it comes down to it, the only things that justify the Core i9-12900KS's extra cost are its clock speed and its unique retail packaging, both of which are quite nice. At its peak, the Core i9-12900KS is able to operate two of its P-Cores at a top speed of 5.5GHz. That's a considerable 300MHz boost over the Core i9-12900K's usual peak speed of 5.2GHz.

Hitting 5.5GHz is only possible, though, when at most two CPU cores are under heavy load. The rest of the cores need not be turned off or entirely idle, but they can't be stressed. If a third core is placed under a heavy load, then the P-Cores' max speed drops to 5.3GHz, and if all of the P-Cores are working hard, this drops further to 5.2GHz. Generally, these numbers are 100MHz higher than the corresponding clocks of the Core i9-12900K. Though a tenth of a gigahertz isn't likely to make a significant difference in many real-world applications, it still gives the Core i9-12900KS a slight on-paper edge.

To help maintain these higher clock speeds, Intel cranked up the processor's base power by 20%, to 150 watts versus the standard CPU's base power of 125 watts. The maximum turbo power remains unchanged, at 241 watts. The processor also features Intel UHD Graphics 770 integrated graphics that negate the need for a separate GPU for non-gaming tasks. (Of course, we would expect more than a few buyers of this chip to pair it with a robust GPU.)

As for the packaging, the Core i9-12900KS comes in a fancy gold-colored tin designed to look like a silicon wafer with chip designs etched into it. Obviously, this does nothing to help the CPU's performance, but it does make for a neat collectible if you're a tech enthusiast.

The Core i9-12900KS: Competing Chips, and Taking Some Heat
For performance testing, we installed the Intel Core i9-12900KS onto an MSI Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard equipped with 32GB of DDR5 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. The CPU was connected to a triple-fan 360mm Corsair water cooler, but even this meaty cooling solution proved not quite sufficient to keep the chip from overheating during our tests.
Temperatures jumped incessantly during our benchmarks as the CPU tried to keep itself from overheating, but they remained high throughout the testing process. The onboard "88"-style LED panel of our test motherboard frequently showed an operating temp of 99 degrees C. This never lasted long, as the processor would trim its clock speed to avoid overheating, but after a few seconds, the CPU would cool off and the temperature would shoot up once more.

Technical Detail
Brand : Intel
Modal : i9-12900KS

Technical Spec
Product Collection : 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Processors
Code Name : Products formerly Alder Lake
Vertical Segment : Desktop
Processor Number : i9-12900KS
Status : Launched
Launch Date :  Q1'22
Lithography : Intel 7
Recommended Customer Price : $739.00 - $749.00
Use Conditions :  PC/Client/Tablet

CPU Specifications
Total Cores : 16
# of Performance-core : 8
# of Efficient-cores : 8
Total Threads  : 24
Max Turbo Frequency : 5.50 GHz
Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency : 5.50 GHz
Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency ‡ : 5.30 GHz
Performance-core Max Turbo Frequency : 5.20 GHz
Efficient-core Max Turbo Frequency : 4.00 GHz
Performance-core Base Frequency : 3.40 GHz
Efficient-core Base Frequency : 2.50 GHz
Cache : 30 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Total L2 Cache : 14 MB
Processor Base Power : 150 W
Maximum Turbo Power  : 241 W

Supplemental Information
Embedded Options Available : No
Datasheet : View now

Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) : 128 GB
Memory Type :  Up to DDR5 4800 MT/s Up to DDR4 3200 MT/s
Max # of Memory Channels : 2
Max Memory Bandwidth : 76.8 GB/s
ECC Memory Supported ‡ : Yes

Processor Graphics
Processor Graphics ‡ : Intel® UHD Graphics 770
Graphics Base Frequency : 300 MHz
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency : 1.55 GHz
Graphics Output : eDP 1.4b, DP 1.4a, HDMI 2.1
Execution Units : 32
Max Resolution (HDMI)‡ : 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz
Max Resolution (DP)‡ : 7680 x 4320 @ 60Hz
Max Resolution (eDP - : Integrated Flat Panel)‡ 5120 x 3200 @ 120Hz
DirectX* Support : 12
OpenGL* Support : 4.5
OpenCL* Support : 3.0
Multi-Format Codec Engines : 2
Intel® Quick Sync Video : Yes
Intel® Clear Video HD Technology : Yes
# of Displays Supported ‡ : 4
Device : ID0x4680

Expansion Options
Direct Media Interface (DMI) Revision : 4.0
Max # of DMI Lanes : 8
Scalability : 1S Only
PCI Express Revision : 5.0 and 4.0
PCI Express Configurations ‡ : Up to 1x16+4, 2x8+4
Max # of PCI Express Lanes : 20

Package Specifications
Sockets Supported : FCLGA1700
Max CPU Configuration : 1
Thermal Solution Specification :  PCG 2022E
Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost Temperature : 50 °C
Package Size : 45.0 mm x 37.5 mm


Brand  Intel
Model  i9-12900KS
Processors Type  Desktop
Series  Core i9 (12th Gen)
CPU Socket Type
CPU Socket Type  FCLGA1700
Tech Spec
Core  16
Operating Frequency  3.40 GHz
L2 Cache  14 MB
64 bit Support  Yes.
Hyper-Threading Support  Yes
Virtualization Technology Support  Yes
Cooling Device  Cooling device not included - Processor Only
L3 Cache  30MB


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