AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Battle of the high-end CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Battle of the high-end CPU

Intel may have had a hard time keeping up AMD’s dominance in the CPU market, but things have certainly changed with the arrival of the new Alder Lake chips. All three Alder Lake chips released so far — Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K — look very promising on paper. As detailed in our Alder Lake review, both Core i5-12600K and the Core i9-12900K dominate the competition to become our picks for the best CPUs on the market right now. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs the Intel Core i7-12700K comparison to find out which CPU is best for your next PC build.

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Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Specifications

Before we begin the comparison, let’s take a quick look at the specs sheet to find out what each of these brings to the table:

Specification AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Intel Core i7-12700K
CPU Socket AMD AM4 LGA 1700
Cores 8 12 (8P + 4E)
Threads 16 20
Lithography TSMC 7nm FinFET Intel 7 (10nm)
Base Frequency 3.8GHz 3.60GHz (P-core) | 2.70GHz (E-core)
Boost Frequency 4.7GHz 4.90GHz (P-core) | 3.80GHz (E-core)
Unlocked for overclocking? Yes Yes
L3 Cache 32MB 25MB
Default TDP 105W 125W
Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax) 90°C 100°C
Memory Support DDR4 up to 3200MHz
Up to 128GB
DDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
Integrated Graphics NA Intel UHD 770

The Intel Core i7-12700K being a part of the new Alder Lake CPU family, brings a hybrid core architecture against the standard octa-core Ryzen 7 5800X. The combination of eight performance cores and four efficiency cores will enable the Core i7-12700K to provide a significant performance uptick in high-performance tasks such as gaming and content creation. The new Intel chip, however, uses the new LGA 1700 CPU socket, the implications of which we’ll see later in the platforms and compatibility section of this article.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Performance

A blue-colored retail box of Intel Core i7-12700K

There’s no denying that both CPUs will offer impressive performance in both gaming as well as content creation workloads. We’re looking at two high-end CPUs going head-to-head against each with a solid set of specs on paper. The Core i7’s performance cores have a base clock of 3.60GHz while the Ryzen 7’s standard octa-core configuration enters all guns blazing with a 3.8GHz base clock. When boosted, the Core i7-12700K’s P-cores can hit a boost clock speed of 4.7GHz, while the Ryzen 7 5800X also fires back a max boost clock of 4.7GHz. It helps the Core i7-12700K that it supports Turbo Boost Max 3.0 to hit the 5.0GHz barrier in certain cores for single-threaded tasks.

All these raw numbers favor the Core i7-12700K in real-world benchmarks too. While both CPUs perform exceptionally well across different benchmarks, it’s the Core i7-12700K that offers anywhere between 15-20% better performance compared to the Ryzen 7 5800X. The Intel Core i7-12700K finds a sweet spot to sit between both the Intel Core i5-12600K and the Core i9-12900K in the performance charts. The Core i7-12700K taking a lead to beat the Ryzen 7 5800X isn’t all that surprising considering how the Core i5-12600K itself was enough to match the general performance of the Ryzen 7 5800X in many instances.

From the new Intel 7 process to the company’s new intelligent Thread Director applications, there’s a lot of things working in favor of the Core i7-12700K to yield a solid performance. Both CPUs in this comparison also supports overclocking, which means you can further increase the performance ceiling to push the limits of these chips. Your performance may vary based on a couple of external factors, but the Core i7-12700K is the overall favorite here in this comparison.

Retail box of the Ryzen 7 5800X CPU on a white background

Gaming performance is also in favor of the Core i7-12700k large due to the fact that the big.LITTLE hybrid core design. Being able to prioritize tasks to P-core and E-core allows the 12700K to deliver up to a 10% performance uptick. While the difference between DDR5 and DDR4 systems is fairly low, at least at this point in DDR5’s life-cycle, we’re seeing some impressive results from the 12700K. What’s more impressive in terms of the gaming performance is that the Core i7-12700K comes close to the Core i9-12900K while costing significantly less. The 12900K is bound to be better in handling background tasks due to the additional E-cores, but the P-core performance seems to be more comparable.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Intel Core i7-12700K comes with integrated graphics — Intel UHD 770. The iGPU boasts 32EUs with a base clock of 300MHz and a boost clock of 1,500MHz. The Intel CPU wins the battle over the graphics-less Ryzen 7 5800X if you don’t have a discrete GPU.

The new Intel chips including the Core i7-12700K show a significant improvement in the power consumption department. We think this is largely due to both the new architecture and the Intel 7 process that reduces power consumption and improves efficiency. That being said, it still draws more power than the Ryzen counterpart. AMD’s Ryzen chips have shown a drastic improvement when it comes to power efficiency and they’re still way ahead of the competition. The Core i7-12700K is arguably the better performance CPU here in this battle, but you’ll definitely need a beefy CPU cooler to tame the thermal output of this particular CPU. It is, however, worth pointing out that the new Intel Core i7-12700K is more power-efficient than the outgoing 11700K from the previous generation.

Platforms and Compatibility

The Intel Core i7-12700K adds support for both the new DDR5 memory modules and the PCIe 5.0 standard. The Ryzen 7 5800X, on the other hand, is capped at DDR4 and PCIe 4.0 standard. While this makes the Core i7-12700K a better CPU for the future, none of them have any immediate advantages over the older standard. DDR5 memory is sort of a moot point mainly because the new DDR5 RAM kits are both expensive and hard to buy. Also, we think DDR5 as standard needs more time to mature as we’re not seeing a significant performance uptick compared to the DDR4 memory standard.

The same is the case with PCIe 5.0, at least until the compatible PCIe 5.0 peripherals start to show up on the market. There’s very little in the name of PCIe 5.0 on the market right now, certainly not enough to warrant an immediate jump. That being said, it’s better to build a future-proof machine if your budget allows for it. And in Ryzen’s case, you’ll have to wait at least a year to enjoy the benefits of DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 with the upcoming AM5 platform.

We mentioned budget because building a new PC with an Intel Core i7-12700K is going to cost a lot than a Ryzen 7 5800X-powered PC. While the Ryzen 7 5800X drops in one of the existing AMD motherboards on the market, you’ll have to buy one of the new LGA 1700 motherboards for the Intel chips. Not to mention, you’ll also need more money to splurge on DDR5 memory and a new LGA 1700 CPU cooler for the 12700K. Upgrading to the Ryzen 7 5800X is relatively cheaper, especially if you’re already an AMD user. This comes down to the personal preference of choosing between better performance and future-proofing over budget.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Pricing & Availability

The Intel Core i7-12700K lands with the same $409 price tag as the previous-gen 11700K. The Ryzen 7 5800X is also readily available for around the same price or even cheaper at times, making it a better overall pick when it comes to pricing. The Ryzen chip is more affordable and it also involves less platform entry cost in comparison to the Alder Lake 12700K. Neither of the two is bundled with a stock cooler, so you’ll have to buy one of the best CPU coolers on the market — the beefier the better as far as overclocking is concerned. Luckily, both CPUs are readily available on the market, so you don’t have to worry about running out of stock as you decide which one to pick.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Final Thoughts

All things considered, it’s safe to say the Intel Core i7-12700K with its big.LITTLE architecture and Intel 7 process among many other things, has managed to beat the Ryzen 7 5800X. It will cost you more to buy and build a 12700K-based PC, but it’ll set you up well for many years in the future. We’re talking about some next-gen features including DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support. The Ryzen 7 5800X is also a fantastic option that holds its own against the Alder Lake chip by offering comparable performance while consuming less power. The Ryzen 7 5800X is worth buying if you don’t want to pay a huge platform entry cost to build a powerful rig. You can also check out our Intel Core i9-12900K vs AMD Ryzen 9 5950X comparison if you want to check out the best of both Intel and AMD on the market right now.

    The Intel Core i7-12700K beats the Ryzen 7 5800X to become one of the best high-end CPUs on the market. It also brings support for next-gen features including DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.
    The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X may not be as powerful as the 12700K, but it offers comparable performance while drawing less power to become more power efficient.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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