Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors mark the first truly competitive lineup released by the chipmaker since the days of Skylake. Based on the 7nm (10nm ESF) node, these chips leverage two core architectures: Golden Cove for performance, and Gracemont for the efficiency cores. The former’s high IPC leads to leadership gaming performance while the latter allows for competitive content creation performance. Although Intel has regained the gaming crown from AMD after Zen 3 snatched it a couple of years back, content creation and sheer multi-threaded workloads still favor Ryzen processors.
In addition to the potent gaming performance, one of the key advantages of Alder Lake is the aggressive pricing. Most SKUs have been priced a notch below their Ryzen 5000 counterparts, making them excellent price/performance options. In this post, we have a look at the Core i7-12700F and compare it against the Ryzen 9 5900X in gaming workloads.
Before we begin, a few things should be noted. Firstly, the Core i7-12700F is a ~$300 part while the Ryzen 9 5900X sells for $449, giving the former a massive price advantage. Second, the 12700F comes with a stock cooler which we found to be more than sufficient in most workloads. The Ryzen 9 requires a third-party heatsink, preferably a water block. Lastly, although the Core i7 seemingly has a lower TDP rating of 65W, it draws considerably more power under load (maximum upper limit of 180W). The 5900X, on the other hand, has a base TDP of 105W and a boost power limit of 140W. That technically makes it more power-efficient than the 12700F.
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti
Cooler: NZXT Kraken X73
Motherboard: MSI MAG B550M Mortar/ASUS X690 TUF Gaming
Memory: 8GB x2 @ 3600 MT/s CL16
All the benchmarks were conducted using CapFrameX on the latest build of Windows 10.
Intel Core i7-12700F vs AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Gaming Benchmarks
The Core i7-12700F performs admirably across the board beating the Ryzen 9 5900X in every game we tested. The deltas are within the margin of error in most titles but get quite noticeable in ray-traced games. At 720p, the 12-core Intel chip beats its AMD rival by Crysis Remastered by 12%, 17% in Cyberpunk 2077, and 25% in Dying Light 2. However, the two perform roughly the same in Godfall and Metro Exodus.
At 1080p, the deltas shrink but the Core i7-12700F still enjoys notably better performance in Dying Light 2 and Crysis Remastered, leading the Ryzen 9 5900X by over 12% and 25%, respectively. In Cyberpunk 2077, it’s mostly a tie and the same goes for Godfall and Metro Exodus.
We decided to do a little experiment with the efficiency cores on the 12700F disabled and the boost clock limited to 4GHz. The Ryzen 9 5900X had four of its cores disabled and the core clocks were locked to 4GHz. One test was run with SMT and the other without. The results were quite interesting. The Core i7-12700F lost minimal performance while the Ryzen 9 5900X saw considerable drops in two out of three titles. Metro Exodus was the weird one. It performed better on the Core i7-12700F with the efficiency cores disabled while the 5900X lost just 2% FPS with four of its cores disabled.
With SMT disabled, things got even weirder. Crysis Remastered ran a smidge better on both CPUs (still within the margin of error though), Cyberpunk 2077 performed the same while Metro Exodus was 7% slower on the Core i7-12700F. The Ryzen 9 5900X lost almost no performance in any of the titles.
This one’s pretty straightforward. The Core i7-12700F is faster, cheaper, and more feature-rich than its Ryzen 9 rival. The gaming performance is clearly a cut above even with DDR4 memory and Windows 10 installed. Unless you already have an AM4 board and compatible DDR4 memory to go along with it, I really don’t see any reason to opt for the 5900X over the 12700F.