Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake: Everything you need to know about Intel’s next-gen processors

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake: Everything you need to know about Intel’s next-gen processors

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake chips arrived late last year, creating huge waves in the CPU space. The Alder Lake desktop lineup, lead by the flagship Core i9-12900K, ushers a new era of Intel chips with a hybrid architecture. The chips now offer a mix of high-performance Golden Cove cores (P-cores) paired with smaller high-efficiency Gracemont cores (E-cores). Together, this combination allows the new CPUs to beat AMD Ryzen chips in their own stomping grounds. Both the Intel Core i5-12600K and the Core i9-12900K are the top picks in our collections of the best CPUs and the best gaming CPUs on the market right now.

As expected, Intel brought its hybrid architecture to more mainstream models this year. This, in fact, is one of the major announcements coming out of the CES 2022 show floor. Intel’s Alder Lake is now a strong family of processors including options for the next generation of desktop and mobile computers.

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Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processor Family

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake family is going to have both desktops as well as mobile chips for laptops. It’s also no secret that the company will use the hybrid architecture that combines both P-cores and E-cores on Alder Lake CPUs except on entry-level and low-powered SKUs. According to Intel, the Alder Lake family will go by Alder Lake-S and Alder Lake-P processors. Here, check it out:

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake

The Alder Lake-S, as you can see, is home to all the desktop CPUs. This includes everything ranging from the high-end Core i9-12900K to relatively low-powered units like the Core i5-12400(F). The enthusiast processors in the Alder Lake-S lineup will feature up to 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores as seen on the Core i9-12900. Additionally, the Alder Lake-S lineup will also include mainstream and low-powered CPUs that only have P-cores like the Core i5-12600. The 32EU count is from the integrated graphics engine with up to 32 execution units.

The Alder Lake-P, on the other hand, will include all mobile SKUs including the ones that fall under the umbrella of H and U subfamilies. The H-series processors, as we already know, are high-end units with up to 6 P-cores and 8 E-cores. In addition to this, the Alder Lake-P lineup will also include low-powered CPUs for ultraportable machines with up to 2 P-cores and 8 E-cores like the Core i3-1220P mobile CPU. These processors are also paired with an Iris Xe graphics engine with up to 96 execution units.

Intel Thread Director

Intel tackled the software challenges for the release of Alder Lake CPUs with the new Thread Director. This new technology is responsible for scheduling different tasks based on priority. The Intel Thread Director is essentially a hardware-based tech that provided telemetry data to Windows 11. This ensures the applications are intelligently scheduled to either P-cores or E-cores. The Thread Director technology collects low-level telemetry data within the processor to then feed it to the OS. It informs the scheduler about a couple of different CPU metrics, including it the state of its cores, thermals, and more.

Intel Thread Director for Alder Lake CPUs

Intel has worked with Microsoft to implement Thread Director in Windows 11. That being said, the new Alder Lake chips will also work with Windows 10 system, just not as well. With an older version of Windows 10 OS, you’re bound to miss out on some of the newer, enhanced capabilities of task scheduling with Intel’s Thread Director.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake-S Desktop Processors

Intel 12th-gen Core processor in LGA 1700 socket

The Intel Alder Lake-S processors include all the desktop SKUs including the newly announced Alder Lake-based Pentium Gold and Celeron processors. The Core i9-12900K is the show-stopper for the Alder Lake-S processor lineup. It’s the one that’s leading the charge with a total of 16 cores (8P+8E) and 24 threads. According to Intel, the Core i9-12900K is the ‘world’s fastest gaming processor’, providing an average of up to 13-percent generational leap in gaming performance.

Upon testing the Intel Core i9-12900K, we were able to conclude that it easily beats the general performance of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. It’s also faster for playing games, streaming, and other content creation workloads. Notably, the Core i9-12900K also offers plenty of headroom to boost performance with overclocking. The performance uptick easily puts it ahead of the AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs. We encourage you to check out some of these comparison articles listed below to see how the Alder Lake processors stack up against some of the best AMD CPUs on the market right now:

Intel's core i9 and Ryzen 9 5950X CPUs next to each

Now that we’ve seen exactly how powerful the Alder Lake desktop CPU can be, we think it’s a good time to check out all the available options in the Intel 12th Gen lineup. Let’s take a look:

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake-S Desktop Processor Specifications: All SKUs

Intel has finally introduced us to the full 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processor family. We’re now looking at a full stack of CPUs with ultimate scalable power and performance gaming, content creation, and more. The Intel Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K CPUs arrived as the torchbearers for the Alder Lake lineup. These unlocked parts are currently the top CPUs on the market.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake-S Unlocked SKUs

SpecificationIntel Core i5-12600KIntel Core i7-12700KIntel Core i9-12900K
Cores10 (6P + 4E)12 (8P + 4E)16 (8P + 8E)
Base Frequency3.7GHz (P-core) | 2.8GHz (E-core)3.60GHz (P-core) | 2.70GHz (E-core)3.2GHz (P-core) | 2.4GHz (E-core)
Boost Frequency4.9GHz (P-core) | 3.6GHz (E-core)4.90GHz (P-core) | 3.80GHz (E-core)5.1GHz (P-core) | 3.9GHz (E-core)
L3 Cache20MB25MB30MB
Default TDP125W125W125W
Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax)100°C100°C100°C
Unlocked for overclocking?YesYesYes
Memory SupportDDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
Integrated GraphicsUHD Graphics 770Intel Graphics UHD 770Intel UHD 770

The new Alder Lake-S processor introduced as a part of Intel’s CES 2022 announcement includes 22 new SKUs. The new list of processors includes both 65W and 35W CPUs. From the Intel Core i9-12900 (non-K) variant to the new Alder Lake-based Pentium Gold CPUs, there’s a new CPU option for everyone in the series. Some of these processors, as we mentioned earlier, only have P-cores. The Intel Core i5-12600 (non-K) is a great example of that. It brings 6 P-cores with a P-core turbo max frequency of up to 4.8GHz. Not having dedicated E-cores allows Intel to retain a similar level of performance with the P-cores.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake-S mainstream (non-K) SKUs

SpecificationIntel Core i9-12900Intel Core i7-12700Intel Core i5-12600Intel Core i5-12500Intel Core i5-12400Intel Core i3-12300Intel Core i3-12100Pentium Gold G7400Celeron G6900
Cores16 (8P + 8E)12 (8P + 4E)6 (6P + 0E)6 (6P + 0E)6 (6P + 0E)4 (4P + 0E)4 (6P + 0E)2 (2P + 0E)2 (2P + 0E)
Base Frequency2.4GHz (P-core) | 1.8GHz (E-core)2.1GHz (P-core) | 1.6GHz (E-core)3.3GHz3.0GHz2.5GHz3.5GHz3.3GHz3.7GHz3.4GHz
Boost Frequency5.0GHz (P-core) | 3.8GHz (E-core)4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.6GHz (E-core)4.8GHz4.6GHz4.4GHz4.4GHz4.3GHzN/AN/A
L3 Cache30MB25MB18MB18MB18MB12MB12MB6MB4MB
Default TDP65W65W65W65W65W60W60W46W46W
Memory SupportDDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
Integrated GraphicsUHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 710Intel UHD Graphics 710
RCP Pricing$489$339$223$202$192$143$122$64$42

Rounding off the list, we also have the low-powered CPUs in the list that top out at 35W base power. We’re, once again, looking at a combination of both P+E cores for a couple of CPUs. The Intel Core i9-12900T can take advantage of the available max turbo power to push up to 4.9GHz. The lowest-end CPU in the Alder Lake-S lineup is the Celeron G6900T. It’s a dual-core processor running at a base frequency of 2.8GHz with a max power limit of up to 35W. Here, take a look at the entire lineup below:

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake-S mainstream (low-powered) SKUs

SpecificationIntel Core i9-12900TIntel Core i7-12700TIntel Core i5-12600TIntel Core i5-12500TIntel Core i5-12400TIntel Core i3-12300TIntel Core i3-12100TPentium Gold G7400TCeleron G6900T
Cores16 (8P + 8E)12 (8P + 4E)6 (6P + 0E)6 (6P + 0E)6 (6P + 0E)4 (4P + 0E)4 (6P + 0E)2 (2P + 0E)2 (2P + 0E)
Base Frequency1.4GHz (P-core) | 1.0GHz (E-core)1.4GHz (P-core) | 1.0GHz (E-core)2.1GHz2.0GHz1.8GHz2.3GHz2.2GHz3.1GHz2.8GHz
Boost Frequency4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.6GHz (E-core)4.6GHz (P-core) | 3.4GHz (E-core)4.6GHz4.4GHz4.2GHz4.2GHz4.1GHzN/AN/A
L3 Cache30MB25MB18MB18MB18MB12MB12MB6MB4MB
Default TDP35W35W35W35W35W35W35W35W35W
Memory SupportDDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200 | DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
Integrated GraphicsUHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 710Intel UHD Graphics 710
RCP Pricing$489$339$223$202$192$143$122$64$42

Platform & Compatibility: Alder Lake Motherboards, DDR5 Memory & PCIe Gen 5

On top of the dominating performance in benchmarks, Intel’s new Alder Lake CPUs also brings support for next-gen features like DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0. It’s worth highlighting that these Alder Lake CPUs are the only ones to support these new features in the Intel family. This is a huge advantage over the Ryzen chips in the desktop space. AMD doesn’t have an answer to this yet as the DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support is coming later this year with the new chips based on the AM5 platform.

RAM modules shown on a Gigabyte Aorus Pro Z690 motherboard

All Alder Lake chips, including the newer ones, support both DDR4 as well as DDR5 memory. That being said, the new 600 chipset-based motherboards on the market support either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, not both. That’s right, you’ll have to buy a board based on the memory type you choose to stick with since both types aren’t supported on any given board. All the premium Z690 motherboards only support DDR5 because, you know, the best hardware needs the best components to pair with for the best results. A lot of mid-range Z690 motherboards or even the newer H670, B660, or the H610 motherboards will come in both DDR4 as well as DDR5 flavors.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs have new memory controllers that support four types of memories:

  • DDR5-4800
  • DDR4-3200
  • LP5-5200
  • LP4X-4266

A reinforced PCIe slot on Aorus Pro Z690 motherboard

When it comes to PCIe 5.0 supports, we’re looking at 64GB/s throughput across an x16 lane connection. The high-end AlderLake-S chips support an x16 PCIe 5.0 connection along with an additional x4 PCIe 4.0 connection. The low-powered units, on the other hand, will support an x12 PCIe 4.0 connection paired with an x16 PCIe 3.0 connection. PCIe 5.0, just like the DDR5 memory modules, is still in its infancy. We won’t see much use for PCIe 5.0 until it matures with more supported peripherals on the market. A bunch of manufacturers including Samsung have already started showcasing what PCIe 5.0 SSDs will look like, so it’ll be interesting to see how things will change as new AMD chips also become available.

Intel’s new 600-series chipset: Z690, B660, H670, & more

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs were introduced to the world alongside the company’s new Z690 motherboard chipset. These boards are now available in abundance, albeit a bit expensive. Carrying the new LGA 1700 CPU socket for the new Alder Lake chipset, the Z690 boards were the only available option on the market for those looking to upgrade to the new Intel CPUs. While that’s changed now with the arrival of newer 600-series motherboard chipsets, we think the Z690 will continue to remain on the top for the high-end builds.

Intel Z690 chipset block diagram

One of the most significant advancements from the previous generation of chips is that the new 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs include a hybrid PCIe lane. A total of x16 PCIe 5.0 lanes from the CPU are now set aside for graphics. In addition to this x16 or x8/x8 configuration for graphics, there are four additional PCIe 4.0 lanes dedicated to storage devices. Another noteworthy improvement is seen in the form of a new PCIe 4.0 x8 DMI link between the CPU and the Z690 chipset. This DMI link has been upgraded from a PCIe 3.0 x8 uplink on the previous-gen Z590 motherboards.

The new 600 series chipset motherboards announced at CES 2022 will also be made available in both DDR4 and DDR5 flavors. Intel has announced the launch of three new 600 series motherboard chipsets — H670, B660, and H610. The H670 is what stands closer to the Z690, while the B660 can be considered for budget Alder Lake builds. All the 600 series motherboard chipsets besides the H610 support memory overclocking via XMP 3.0. The H670 chipset features PCIe 5.0 slots and along with a 4.0 x8 DMI link. The B660 and the H610 chipsets, on the other hand, features a single PCIe 5.0 slot and carry a 4.0 x4 DMI link to the chipset. Both H670 and B660 chipset motherboards carry PCIe 4.0 lanes, but you’ll have to settle for PCIe 3.0 lanes with the H610.

Intel 600 series chipset details

All these new 600 series chipset motherboards, especially the H610, will be more affordable than the existing Z690 motherboards. This will further reduce the overall platform entry cost, thereby making the Alder Lake chips more accessible in the market. We’ll have more to talk about these motherboards once we get our hands on them for some in-house testing. In the meantime, you can check out our collection of the best LGA 1700 motherboards if you’re looking to build a high-end Alder Lake build.

CPU Coolers for Alder Lake

Intel’s new Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs demand a new motherboard. The new chips drop on LGA 1700 CPU socket which was only exclusive to the Z690 motherboards until the new chipsets were announced today. A new CPU socket also means new CPU coolers. The LGA 1700 is physically different from the older LGA 1200 CPU socket for the Rocket Lake CPUs. The new socket has different dimensions that render your older CPU coolers useless without a dedicated mounting bracket. Our detailed essay on LGA 1700 CPU cooler will help you get a better understanding of the cooler situation. It’s safe to say that you will not be able to carry your existing CPU cooler for the new Alder Lake build without a supporting bracket.

A black colored Intel CPU cooler with blue LED lights on top with an Intel logo

Thankfully, Intel is making things a little easier for those who’re looking to buy one of the mainstream 65W CPUs from the Alder Lake lineup. The 65W Alder Lake desktop CPUs will be bundled with one of the new Intel Laminar Cooler. Depending on the CPU, you’ll either get the Laminar RH1, the Laminar RMI, or the Laminar RS1 CPU cooler. The new coolers have an entirely new design and they look, well, quite different from anything we’re used to seeing from Team Blue. You can always pair your CPU with a third-party CPU cooler too. We recommend checking out our collection of the best CPU fan coolers and even the best AIO liquid coolers if you’re rocking one of the high-end unlocked chips.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Mobile Processors

With the new Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake mobile processor family, it’s safe to say that Intel is firing all cylinders to go against the fierce competition from the likes of AMD and Apple in the mobile CPU space. The company’s Tiger Lake mobile processors had a pretty good run in the laptop space, but it was due for an update more so than ever after the arrival of Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Well, the much-needed update is now here in the form of Alder Lake-P mobile processors.

Intel Alder Lake Mobile procesor family

The Alder Lake mobile processor family includes three different sets of chips, spanning across different laptop segments. The next generation of high-performance enthusiast notebooks for gaming and content creation will be fueled by the Alder Lake H-series chips. The H-series processors have unlocked CPUs including the Core i9-12900HK, and other high-performance chips with a 45W base power. The Alder Lake P-series and the U-series, on the other hand, will be powering the next generation of Performance and modern thin & light notebooks on the market. A lot of manufacturers including Dell, HP, MSI, etc. have already announced new laptops powered by the. Alder Lake mobile processors, and it’s only a matter of time till these new machines become mainstream.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake H-series mobile processors

Intel Alder Lake mobile chip die

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake H-series mobile chips bring the big.LITTLE hybrid architecture we saw in the Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs to the laptop space. According to Intel, the new H-series has the fastest mobile processor ever in the form of the Core i9-12900HK, beating the likes of the Apple M1 Max and the Ryzen counterparts. Intel is claiming some big numbers in the battle of Core i9-12900HK vs Apple M1 vs Ryzen 9 5900HX. The 12900HK is touted to be the better processor of the bunch, although we’re are yet to put this theory to test.

The new H-series processors also support the latest in tech including features such as Killer WiFi 6E support, Thunderbolt 4, Intel Deep Link for power-sharing, AI encoding, and more.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake H-series Processor Specifications

The Alder Lake H-series lineup includes as many as eight SKUs with a 45W base power across the board. Each chip in the series, as we mentioned earlier, is based on the new hybrid architecture with the combination of P-cores and E-cores. The Core i9-12900HK is the leading charge with 14 cores and 20 threads. Let’s take a quick look at all the available Alder Lake H-series SKUs to power the next-generation of high-end gaming laptops and content creation notebooks in 2022:

SpecificationIntel Core i9-12900HKIntel Core i9-12900HIntel Core i7-12800HIntel Core i7-12700HIntel Core i7-12650HIntel Core i5-12600HIntel Core i5-12500HIntel Core i5-12450H
Cores14 (6P + 8E)14 (6P + 8E)14 (6P + 8E)14 (6P + 8E)10 (6P + 4E)12 (4P + 8E)12 (4P + 8E)8 (4P + 4E)
Base Frequency2.5GHz (P-core) | 1.8GHz (E-core)2.5GHz (P-core) | 1.8GHz (E-core)2.4GHz (P-core) | 1.8GHz (E-core)2.3GHz (P-core) | 1.7GHz (E-core)2.3GHz (P-core) | 1.7GHz (E-core)2.7GHz (P-core) | 2.0GHz (E-core)2.5GHz (P-core) | 1.8GHz (E-core)2.0GHz (P-core) | 1.5GHz (E-core)
Max Turbo Frequency5.0GHz (P-core) | 3.8GHz (E-core)5.0GHz (P-core) | 3.8GHz (E-core)4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.7GHz (E-core)4.7GHz (P-core) | 3.5GHz (E-core)4.7GHz (P-core) | 3.5GHz (E-core)4.5GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.5GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)
L3 Cache24MB24MB24MB24MB24MB18MB18MB12MB
Default TDP45W45W45W45W45W45W45W45W
Max Turbo Power115W115W115W115W115W95W95W95W
Processor Graphics96EU96EU96EU96EU64EU80EU80EU48EU

The Intel Core i9-12900HK is touted to be more powerful than Apple’s new M1 Max chip. The relative performance curve shows that the 12900HK is capable of delivering more performance per watt compared to the Apple silicon. When compared to the outgoing 11900HK mobile processor, the new flagship chip is up to 28% faster for gaming. It also performed significantly better than AMD’s Ryzen 5900HX CPU when paired with the same GPU.  Intel also says its new chip is superior to existing options on the market for content creators. Initial benchmarks look very promising, but we’ll reserve our judgments for later when we get a chance to test the new laptops.

Intel 12th-gen H-series mobile chip performance

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake P-series mobile SKUs

Joining the Alder Lake-P mobile processor family alongside the new H-series processors are Intel’s new P-series mobile chips. The P-series meant for the Performance Thin & light notebooks tops out at Core i7-1280P. This particular chip, however, carries the same number of cores and threads, including the same distribution for P-cores and E-cores. The general performance, however, is going to be vastly different due to the different base power. The P-series processor has less allotted power window, thereby making them more suitable for slim enclosures. We expect to see plenty of ultrabooks powered by this particular chip in 2022.

SpecificationIntel Core i7-1280PIntel Core i7-1270PIntel Core i7-1260PIntel Core i5-1250PIntel Core i5-1240PIntel Core i3-1220P
Cores14 (6P + 8E)12 (4P + 8E)12 (4P + 8E)12 (4P + 8E)12 (4P + 8E)10 (2P + 8E)
Base Frequency1.8GHz (P-core) | 1.3GHz (E-core)2.2GHz (P-core) | 1.6GHz (E-core)2.1GHz (P-core) | 1.5GHz (E-core)1.7GHz (P-core) | 1.2GHz (E-core)1.7GHz (P-core) | 1.2GHz (E-core)1.5GHz (P-core) | 1.1GHz (E-core)
Max Turbo Frequency4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.6GHz (E-core)4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.5GHz (E-core)4.7GHz (P-core) | 3.4GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)
L3 Cache24MB18MB18MB12MB12MB12MB
Default TDP28W28W28W28W28W28W
Max Turbo Power64W64W64W64W64W64W
Processor Graphics96EU96EU96EU80EU80EU64EU

The P-series Alder Lake mobile chips, as you can see, are capable of hitting a turbo frequency of 4.8GHz under favorable conditions. Despite being at the bottom of the barrel, the Core i3-1220P is capable of operating at 64W to hit a turbo frequency of 4.4GHz on the performance cores for high-priority tasks.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake U-series mobile SKUs

Lastly, we have the U-series chips that’ll power some of the modern slim notebooks. There are a total of seven SKUs in the U-series, each with its own hybrid architecture. We’re looking at a Core i7-1265U on the top with 10 cores and 12 threads. Those leaning towards an entry-level low-powered laptop can pick up the variant with Intel Celeron 7305 with a 48U graphics processor. Here’s a quick look at all the Alder Lake U-series (15W) mobile SKUs that’ll power some of the thin and light notebooks in 2022 and beyond:

SpecificationIntel Core i7-1265UIntel Core i7-1255UIntel Core i5-1245UIntel Core i5-1235UIntel Core i3-1215UIntel Pentium 8505Intel Celeron 7305
Cores10 (2P + 8E)10 (2P + 8E)10 (2P + 8E)10 (2P + 8E)6 (2P + 4E)5 (1P + 4E)5 (1P + 4E)
Base Frequency1.8GHz (P-core) | 1.3GHz (E-core)1.7GHz (P-core) | 1.2GHz (E-core)1.6GHz (P-core) | 1.2GHz (E-core)1.3GHz (P-core) | 0.90GHz (E-core)1.2GHz (P-core) | 0.90GHz (E-core)1.2GHz (P-core) | 0.90GHz (E-core)1.1GHz (P-core) | 0.90GHz (E-core)
Max Turbo Frequency4.8GHz (P-core) | 3.6GHz (E-core)4.7GHz (P-core) | 3.5GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)4.4GHz (P-core) | 3.3GHz (E-core)N/A
L3 Cache12MB12MB12MB12MB10MB8MB8MB
Default TDP15W15W15W15W15W15W15W
Max Turbo Power55W55W55W55W55W55W55W
Processor Graphics96EU96EU80EU80EU64EU48EU48EU

Both the Intel Alder Lake P-series and the U-series mobile chips will be replacing the existing set of low-powered Tiger Lake chips on the market. A lot of manufacturers have already announced the launch of their thin & light notebooks based on the new Alder Lake mobile CPUs, with more to follow soon through the rest of 2022. Intel has also announced the third generation of its Evo platform. We’ll start seeing new notebooks on the market with the Evo branding that’ll use these new Alder Lake chips. The new generation of Intel Evo notebooks will also be required to meet a specific set of requirements to get the Evo certified badge.

New Intel Evo brand badge

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processor Release Date

The first set of Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs entered the market in November last year. The original release included three popular SKUs including the Core i5-12600K, the Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K. The rest of the Alder Lake-S desktop family was introduced at CES 2022 show alongside the Intel 12th-Gen mobile processors. Not all Alder Lake CPUs are readily available on the market right now, but we’ll update this space with more info as we get more information.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Processor Price & Availability

Intel’s Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs start for as low as $42 for the Celeron G6900 and go all the way up to $589 for the top-of-the-line chip. You can check out the specs sheet above to find the price of each chip in the desktop line. The Intel Core i5-12600K is priced at $289 while the Core i7-12700K costs $409. The flagship Core i9-12900K is the most expensive CPU this generation with a price tag of $589. You can also buy variants of each of these CPUs without integrated graphics. They’re denoted with the suffix F, and each of them shaves off a few dollars from the full MSRP. The Intel Core i5-12600KF, Core i7-12700KF, and the Core i9-12900KF are priced at $264, $384, and $564, respectively.

    Intel Core i5-12600K CPU

    The Intel Core i5-12600K is currently our pick for the best CPU you can buy on the market.
    Intel Core i7-12700K CPU

    The Intel Core i7-12700K sits in a sweet spot between the 12600K & the 12900K to offer a good value for money.
    Intel Core i9-12900K CPU

    The Core i9-12900K handily beats the Ryzen 9 5950X to become one of the best-performing CPUs on the mainstream market.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake processors

As you can see, there’s a lot of information to process while discussing the Alder Lake CPUs. We’ve managed to put together an ever-evolving list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help answer some queries below:

Can I use Intel 12th Gen with my existing socket?

No, the new Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs demand a new CPU socket named LGA 1700. This means you’ll have to buy one of the compatible Z690, H670, B660, or the H610 motherboards with an LGA 1700 socket to use these new CPUs.

What's the release date for Intel 12th-gen laptops?

We expect to see Intel 12th-gen laptops in the market in a couple of months as more manufacturers are ready with their new laptops powered by the Alder Lake chips. A lot of manufacturers have already announced the launch of their new laptops with Intel’s new chips, and they’re expected to go on sale as early as next month. 

What's the power consumption of Intel 12th-gen processors?

The power consumption depends on the processor you pick. The base TDP of Alder Lake desktop CPUs ranges from 35W to 125W. Unlocked/overclocked CPUs tend to consume more power too. When it comes to mobile processors, the base power consumption varies from 28W to 45W depending on the SKU.

Can I run Linux with Intel 12th-gen?

Yes, you can run Linux with Intel 12th-gen but Intel is yet to add all the drivers and optimization for the Linux kernel. The may lead to performance differences.

Is Intel 12th-gen a 10nm chip?

Yes, the Intel 12th-gen CPUs are 10nm chips. They’re based on Intel 7 lithography, not to be confused with Intel 4, which is its 7nm node.

Which motherboards can I use with Intel 12th-gen processors?

The Intel 12th-gen processors are compatible with Z690, H670, B660, and H610 motherboards. These boards carry the compatible Intel 600 series chips along with the new LGA 1700 CPU socket.

Is Intel 12th-gen good for gaming?

Yes, the Intel 12th-gen processors are good for gaming. In fact, we think these new Intel 12th-gen chips are some of the best CPUs you can buy right now. Intel has made significant progress when it comes to the overall performance of its new Alder Lake CPUs.

Do Intel 12th-gen processors have integrated graphics?

Yes, the Intel 12th-gen processors have integrated graphics. However, there are some variants of 12th-gen desktop CPUs that don’t have integrated GPUs. These CPUs are denoted with the suffix F. For instance, the Intel Core i9-12900K has integrated graphics, but the Intel Core i9-12900KF does not

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Suggested Reading Links

Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs are still relatively new to the market and it hasn’t been that long since the arrival of the first Alder Lake CPUs. However, we’ve already covered a wide variety of topics around these new CPUs including our full review of the unlocked Alder Lake CPUs below:

Well, that wraps up pretty much everything there is to know about Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors. Intel, as we mentioned earlier, has done a fantastic job of making powerful CPUs. Not only do these new chips perform better than the competition, but they also support next-gen features including PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory. We’ll continue to test as many SKUs as we can to see how each of these stacks up against AMD and Apple’s silicon.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs

Intel may have been an underdog in the past, but don’t sleep on the new Alder Lake CPUs for your next build.

In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions about the new Alder Lake CPUs. You can let us know by dropping a line in the comments below. We also encourage you to join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss Alder Lake and many other computing topics with the experts in our community.

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.