Intel’s Alder Lake-S processors launched earlier today to a mostly positive response. The company’s first 10nm desktop processors (now Intel 7) are up to 10% faster in gaming workloads, but on par and even slightly slower in heavily multi-threaded applications like Cinebench, Blender, and Corona (compared to the Ryzen 5000 competition). As you can see in the below benchmarks (courtesy of TPU), the Ryzen 9 5950X mostly levels with the Core i9-12900K in rendering workloads, at times even beating it:
In gaming workloads, however, the Alder Lake-S flagship is the clear winner. All three K series SKUs are faster than the Ryzen 9 5900X, with the Core i9-12900K being up to 10% ahead overall. There is a catch though.
Yes, it’s power. The Core i9-12900K draws as much as 300W under load in multi-threaded workloads while being mostly on par with the Ryzen 5950X. The latter tops out at just under 180W, making it much more efficient. The 12900K draws nearly 70% more power despite offering roughly the same levels of performance in multi-threaded workloads. Not a very good sign for a platform that represents the biggest shift in Intel’s history in over a decade. I reckon this has to do with the node efficiency rather than the core architecture but it is what it is.
To make matters worse for Intel, gaming workloads which are the primary advantage for Alder Lake see a rather nominal improvement over Zen 3 (~10%). With Zen 3D (Ryzen 6000) slated for a late January/early Feb launch, it’s hard to see how Alder Lake will make a lasting impact on the gaming market. Not only will Zen 3D level with it in gaming (or beat it), it’ll use the same platform and memory as vanilla Zen 3, and be priced roughly the same.