Intel’s Core i9-12900KS is now out. A better binned variant of the vanilla 12900K, this SKU comes with a single-core boost clock of 5.3GHz and 5.5GHz under the right temperatures. It’s being touted as the best gaming CPU by Intel which it probably is, but the question remains, by how much? Is the $150 markup over the 12900K worth it? Probably not, and what about the additional power and thermal requirements? Let’s have a look (thanks to TechPowerUp for the review).
At 720p, the Core i9-12900KS is just under 3% and 12% faster than the 12900K, and Ryzen 9 5950X, respectively. It outperforms the Core i7-12700K by 5% which means you’re paying over $350 for a single-digit FPS gain.
At 1080p, the deltas are even slimmer. The 12900KS is 1% and 8% faster than the 12900K and Ryzen 9 5950X, respectively. Compared to the $384 Core i7-12700K, you’re looking at 3% more performance (for an additional $360).
The power consumption charts make the Core i9-12900KS look even worse. It ends up drawing twice as much power as the Ryzen 9 5950X when overclocked, roughly 54W more than the 12900K. This shows that Intel has really pushed the Alder Lake flagship to its limits to meet the 5.5GHz boost clock.