Some unusual Intel Core 12900K, 12700K, and 12600K specifications have surfaced online.

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12 cores and 20 threads?

Intel recently shipped samples of Alder Lake (12th-generation Core) CPUs to its partners, and as a result, certain details have leaked. Currently, only the core count of the 12900K has been validated via a database breach, while the majority of the information has been corroborated by various 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 also known as p-cores, large cores, and capital “C” cores. Efficiency cores, e-cores, tiny cores, and lowercase “c” cores are all names for Gracemont cores.

The technological successor of Cypress Cove, which is utilised in 11th-generation Core CPUs, is Golden Cove. Golden Cove is a fast and furious Intel architecture. Gracemont, on the other hand, takes a different approach: its cores are power-efficient, lack hyper-threading, and appear to be restricted at around 4 GHz.

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Gracemont cores, in theory, relieve Golden Cove cores of low-priority activities such as 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

The 12900K, like AMD’s 5950X, has 16 cores, however unlike the 5950X, it only has 24 threads. The Golden Cove cores may be able to challenge the 5950X’s supremacy in games, but it’s unclear how much the Gracemont cores will contribute. At the very least, they haven’t made a significant contribution 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
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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 12-core, 16-thread design of the 12600K is unusual, although it falls into the same relative performance category as the 11600K and 10600K. Six Golden Cove cores are sufficient to keep a game’s main threads from overflowing onto the Gracemont cores, yet they are just 10% slower than the 12900K’s.

Alder Lake will be the first CPU series to enable PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, in addition to other very attractive features. Storage devices that take use of PCIe 5.0’s performance are said to be in the works, while the first DDR5 modules are already on the market.

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Alder Lake is expected to be released around the end of 2021, aligning with AMD’s regular release timetable. 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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