Intel has previously countered AMD’s secret weapon CPU with 3D V-cache.

Intel has previously countered AMD's secret weapon CPU with 3D V-cache

Intel revealed at CES 2022 that a supercharged version of the Alder Lake flagship desktop CPU would be released by the end of Q1 2022 and that it will ship by the end of the year.

Last month, a leak hinted at the existence of the Core i9-12900KS, and then Team Blue teased (on Twitter) a CPU capable of boosting to 5.5GHz – but now the chip has been officially unveiled.

This speedier version of the current Core i9-12900K was revealed as part of Intel’s CES 2022 announcements, with the 12900KS guaranteed to turbo up to 5.5GHz — on only one performance core. The all-core boost is 5.2GHz, with Intel saying that the CPU can maintain 5GHz speeds across all performance cores for an extended period of time. (As we’ve previously stated, the 12900K runs at 4.85GHz to 4.9GHz across all cores at stock speeds, at least according to measurements in reviews.)

According to PC Gamer, Intel exhibited the Core i9-12900KS running Hitman 3 with HWiNFO, which showed the 8 performance cores clocked at 5.2GHz and the efficiency cores at 4GHz (the latter is 100MHz faster than the vanilla 12900K).

As previously stated, the CPU will be available by the end of Q1, which means March (or perhaps before if we’re lucky).

Intel’s response to AMD’s 3D V-cache in the CPU refresh warfare

This appears to be a nice increase for the 12900K, and the ‘KS’ flagship chip – effectively a pre-binned (high-quality) 12900K capable of being pushed to greater clock rates – follows Intel’s usual plan for keeping a generation of silicon powered up going ahead. However, this is the first time we’ve seen a variation like this since the Core i9-9900KS two years ago (neither 10th or 11th-gen chips got the KS treatment).

Given that AMD just revealed their Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor at CES, the first to employ Team Red’s 3D V-cache innovation to increase performance even further with that 8-core CPU, Intel undoubtedly felt compelled to push for a power gain.

At CES, AMD said that the 5800X3D will outperform the 12900K — a very broad statement, given that relative frame rates will certainly vary from game to game, and we’ll have to test these chips ourselves. When it comes to a CPU’s big unveiling, internal testing by its creator should always be taken with care, since it tends to create the best possible picture for obvious reasons.

The 5800X3D is the ‘fastest gaming CPU in the world,’ according to AMD, and it’ll be available in spring 2022. With the Core i9-12900KS expected to arrive around the same time – maybe just before the Ryzen offering – we’ll have a duel between these two new top-end CPUs fairly long.

In reality, if you run any of them, you won’t be unhappy with the performance, and they’ll most likely be in close vicinity in terms of gaming frame rates.

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