Here’s something that no one predicted: With the 12th Gen Alder Lake-S processors, Intel is finally allowing users to overclock its non-K SKUs by tweaking the BCLK frequency. In case you weren’t aware, the operating frequency of a CPU is the product of the BCLK and the multiplier (ex: 100MHz x 44= 4.4GHz). With the “K” series processors, the multiplier is unlocked and is used to set the final boost frequency. This multiplier is locked in non-K series chips. However, with Alder Lake-S, the BCLK can be increased to confer significant overclocking advantages to even the non-K SKUs.
Tests conducted by TechPowerUp show the Core i3-12100F comfortably beat not only AMD’s hex-core Ryzen 5 5600X but Intel’s own Comet Lake-S flagship, the Core i9-10900K. The latter features ten Skylake cores, 2.5x more than the quad-core i3-12100F. However, in gaming workloads, the Core i3-12100F (when overclocked to 5.2GHz) consistently beats pretty much every previous-gen AMD and Intel CPU, from the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X to the hex-core i5-11600K, and yes, even the 10-core i9-10900K. It barely falls short of the 11th Gen flagship, the Core i9-11900K by just one percent.
Going by these figures, it would be safe to say that Intel is back on track, and should offer stiff competition to AMD and its upcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D and Ryzen 7000 processors.