The highly anticipated Intel 12th Gen CPUs, codenamed Alder Lake, are finally here. Since Intel has been talking up these new processors since CES 2021 back in January, we’ve had quite a bit of time to speculate. And, based on first impressions, these new CPUs don't fail to live up to the hype.
Intel has done something unique with their latest CPUs. They have introduced a hybrid architecture system featuring a combination of Performance-cores (P-cores), the highest performing CPU core Intel has created to date, and Efficient-cores (E-cores). These make for fantastic scalable multithreaded workload performance. This also allows for increased core counts overall, with E-cores allowing impressive ability in multi-threaded tasks, and then the agility to assign P-cores to those power-hungry tasks as well. With the additional cores on the die, we would also expect to see more power being drawn by the CPU. Also, this would likely increase the thermals. Intel has touted quite the performance gain with this new architecture design, but we’ll be running some benchmarks to see for ourselves how the 12700K performs.
These new processors also offer 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes and 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes for a total of 20, alongside DDR5 memory up to 4,800MT/s (DDR4 at 3,200MT/s is also supported) and increased L3 & L2 cache sizes.
The Intel 12th gen processors use a new architecture and have a new socket type, LGA 1700, on the new Z690 motherboards. The Z690 chipset is the only platform currently available that will work with the new processors. The new chipset offers some impressive new features like the ones we mentioned above, but also USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 provides up to double the bandwidth, DMI Gen 4.0 increases the chipset to CPU throughput for fast access to peripheral devices and networking.
For our benchmarks, we used a custom-built system, but you can find the full parts list (with an Intel spin) over here:
We’ve run some synthetic benchmarks, like Cinebench, and we’d like to have been able to run Aida64 to get some additional information about the new chipset, but unfortunately, Aida64 has yet to be updated and optimized for the new platform. However, in tests like PhotoWorxx it was even impressive to see unoptimized results.
We were able to run some benchmarks on a few of our favorite benchmark games as well, including Borderlands 3, Rainbow Six Seige, and Sid Meier's Civilization VI.
Even though our build has an NVIDIA RTX 3070, we ran our benchmarks at 1080p to put more of a load on the CPU, rather than the GPU. If you’ve put all the load on the GPU, then the GPU becomes the bottleneck instead of the CPU. Whereas in testing at a low FPS, we’re able to put more load on the CPU.
(If you have more questions about our testing or benchmarks or if you’re interested in an article about benchmarking and testing methodology, be sure to comment below!)
The results here in CinebenchR23 show a marked improvement over the previous results we've seen from Intel. Especially so in single-core performance!
It's great to see such high 1% lows in a title like Borderland 3. 1% Low refers to the lowest 1% of frame rates. This is a good indicator or frame rate jitter or stuttering that is quite noticeable when playing. Typically, the higher the 1% low the smoother the game will feel.
The 12700K paired with the NVIDIA RTX 3070 destroyed this benchmark. I'm not aware of any displays that can handle 435 FPS, but you'd be able to reach that if you could find a display that could handle it.
In Civ 6, the AI test is a good indicator of computing time, as the game goes on into the later stages the AI turn time can take ages as it takes more and more CPU recourses. The 12700K just breezes through this benchmark.
We loved our experience with the 12700K and the Z690 platform It's a great system that brings quite a lot to the table! We're excited to see how Intel's new hybrid architecture with P-cores and E-cores will impact the CPU marketplace, and we're excited to see this competitive offering from Intel!
Looking for more on Intel's newest processor lineup? We've got a build guide, breakdown, and even a Core i9-12900k giveaway!
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