Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Excellent CPU for high-end gaming

Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Excellent CPU for high-end gaming

Intel’s new Alder Lake processors have shown a significant performance improvement over their last-gen counterparts, and the new Core i7-12700 is no different. This is essentially a locked version of the Core i7-12700K CPU, but it offers almost the same level of performance as the fully unlocked part. For $350, the Intel Core i7-12700 is, without a doubt, one of the best options out there right now for high-end gaming rigs.

You can easily pair it with, say, a good-quality B660 motherboard and walk away with that package for less than $500. That’s less than what you’d spend for buying just a Ryzen 9 or an equivalent processor. The Core i7-12700 is an excellent chip and I highly recommend considering it over the 12600K or even the 12700K if you’re not interested in overclocking. Pair it with a potent CPU cooler as I did, and it’ll come close to matching the general performance of even the Core i9-12900K in many applications without breaking a sweat.

    The Intel Core i7-12700 is a fantastic CPU that's worth considering over both the Core i5-12600K and the Core i7-12700K.




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Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Pricing & Availability

  • The Intel Core i7-12700 is priced at $350 and is now available to purchase.

The Intel Core i7-12700 went on sale earlier this year along with a bunch of other new desktop parts from the Alder Lake family. The Intel Core i7-12700 is priced at $350, putting it slightly above the Core i5-12600K unlocked CPU. If you are going to use a discrete GPU, then we recommend picking up the Core i7-12700F variant of the chip, which is essentially the same as the 12700, except this one has no integrated GPU. Both variants of the processor are readily available on the market right now. You can also buy the Core i7-12700K if you want to overclock to get more performance out of your CPU.

Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Specifications

Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Intel Core i7-12700 processor:

Specification Core i7-12700
Lithography Intel 7
Total cores (P + E) 12 (8 + 4)
P-core Frequency 8
E-core Frequency 4
Cache 25 MB Intel Smart Cache
L2 Cache 12MB
Base power 65W
Turbo power 180W
Max Memory Size 128GB
Memory Types Up to DDR5 4800MT/s
Up to DDR4 3200MT/s
Number of memory channels 2
Max Memory Bandwidth 76.8 GB/s
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770
Graphics frequency 300Mhz to 1.5GHz
Execution units 32
Max resolution
  • HDMI: 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz
  • DP: 7680 x 4320 @ 60Hz
  • eDP: 5120 x 3200 @ 120Hz
Number of displays supported 4
PCIe Revision 5.0 and 4.0
PCIe configurations Up to 1×16+4, 2×8+4
Max number of PCIe lanes 20
Socket LGA1700
Price $339.00 – $349.00

As a part of the new Alder Lake family, the Intel Core i7-12700 requires a new motherboard with an LGA1700 CPU socket and Intel’s 600 series chipset. You can either pick up one of the more expensive Z690 motherboards like the Gigabyte Aorus Pro or choose to go with one of the newer B660 mainboards to trade some features for a relatively cheaper price. Either way, you’ll definitely need a new motherboard to use any of these new 12th gen Intel Core processors.

That being said, let’s now take a quick look at the test rig that I put together just in time to review this particular processor:

Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Test Rig

Part Model
CPU Intel Core i7-12700
GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super FE
CPU Cooler ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360 AIO
RAM 16GB ADATA XPG Gammix D30 DDR4-3200Mhz
Storage 500GB WD SN550 Blue NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
PSU Gigabyte GP-P750GM
Motherboard ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4

The Intel Core i7-12700 processor is bundled with one of the new Laminar stock CPU coolers. However, Intel shipped a review sample of the Core i7-12700 without the stock cooler which is why I was only able to test the performance of the CPU with an aftermarket cooler. While the general performance of the processor with the stock CPU cooler may vary slightly, I think it’ll be just fine if you choose to use the bundled cooler. The Core i7-12700 is a locked CPU which means you’ll only be running it at the stock frequency at any given point. It’s relatively easier to cool the non-K version of these processors than the fully unlocked ones.

Intel Core i7-12700 Review: Performance

  • The Core i7-12700 comes close to the general performance of the fully unlocked Core i9-12900K.
  • Offers better multi-core performance than a 12600K, that too at stock settings and while consuming significantly less power.
  • Impressive benchmark scores overall.

While the Intel Core i7-12700 supports DDR5 memory, we’ll only be looking at the processor’s performance coupled with a DDR4 RAM kit. This, however, shouldn’t really be an issue considering the fact that the new memory standard doesn’t offer a significant improvement over the older one. You can learn more about the performance difference between the two in our DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM comparison.

Core i7 12700 specifications

But besides that, the test rig that I managed to put together for this review is quite powerful. The specifications are more in line with what most people will have in mind for a high-end gaming rig with a Core i7-12700. I managed to run a long list of tests on this particular rig, although I’ll only be producing a few important results for the sake of keeping this review short and simple. That said, I’ve added some performance numbers from our Core i5-12600K and Core i9-12900K review to give you a better understanding of where this particular CPU stands.

Starting off with the Cinebench R23 test, the Core i7-12700, as you can see, performs better than the Core i5-12600K in the multi-core test. Well, that’s not really a surprise because we’re looking at more cores and corresponding threads to do the heavy lifting for the 12700. But what’s more impressive about the Core i7-12700’s performance is that it comes close to the general performance of the Core i9-12900K, especially in the single-core test.

I noticed this behavior across the board and even inside some applications and gaming workloads. The performance number drops across the board for the Core i7-12700 when you enforce the 65W spec, but that’s understandable given how little power it consumes at 65W in comparison to these fully unlocked chips. Also, here’s a quick look at the PCMark 10 score of the Core i7-12700:

Intel Core i7-12700 PCMark 10 Benchmark score

Here’s a quick look at some other benchmark numbers of the Core i7-12700 processor:

Test Intel Core i7-12700 Score Intel Core i9-12900K Score
7-Zip File Manager Compression
(Higher is better)
81,293 84,790
7-Zip File Manager Decompression
(Higher is better)
109755 136974
Corona 1.3
(Lower is better)
67 58
CPU-Z Single-thread
(Higher is better)
761 807
CPU-Z Multi-thread
(Higher is better)
8849 11420
PCMark 10
(Higher is better)
8070 8329

I also ran a suite of 3D workloads and benchmarks to see how the CPU was supporting the GPU with graphics. While the graphics performance will largely depend on the discrete graphics card that you’re using, it’s safe to say that the 12700 will not prove to be a bottleneck, even when paired with the most powerful GPUs out there. Even though the Core i7-12700 comes with an integrated GP, it goes without saying that it’s best paired with a discrete graphics card for the best performance. Here’s a quick look at the gaming performance of the Core i7-12700 paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card:

Games Avg Frames Per Second (FPS)
Dying Light 2
(1080p High settings)
God of War PC
(1080p Ultra settings)
Forza Horizon 5
(1080p Ultra settings)
Halo Infinite
(1080p Ultra)
Apex Legends
(1080p Ultra settings)
Far Cry 6
(1080p Ultra settings)

The Core i7-12700 runs slightly hotter than the Core i5-12600K at stock settings. That being said, it’s still under acceptable limits and it’s not particularly difficult to cool this processor. My test sample with a 360mm AIO didn’t even cross the 80-degree mark, even under heavy load, so it’s safe to say that the included Laminar cooler should be able to do the trick. I’ll try to revisit this particular review if/when I get my hands on the included stock cooler and add some performance numbers to give you a better idea. Although the general performance of the processor should remain pretty much the same.

Intel Core i7 12700 CPU temperature

Is it worth buying?

The Intel Core i7-12700 is one of the best CPUs out there right now, and I highly recommend it. But as is the case with every other product, it’s not for everyone.

Who should buy the Intel Core i7-12700?

  • If you are someone who’s looking to buy a reliable processor for gaming and isn’t too bothered about overclocking or tweaking the performance.
  • This is a great option to consider if you are looking to build a high-end gaming rig in 2022.
  • Also good for those who don’t want to spend more on an aftermarket CPU cooler.

Who should not buy the Intel Core i7-12700?

  • This isn’t a good option for overclocking.
  • Not the best option for an enthusiast gaming rig.

The Core i7-12700 is looking very promising, especially when you consider the performance going against the fully unlocked parts like the Core i5-12600K and even the 12900K. Sure, you can also buy the 12600K for slightly less money, but the Core i7-12700 offers better multi-core performance, and it does that while running at stock settings consuming relatively less power. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares against the non-K Core i9-12900 considering this was only a tad bit slower on average when compared with the Core i9-12900K processor.

    The Intel Core i7-12700 is a fantastic CPU that's worth considering over both the Core i5-12600K and the Core i7-12700K.




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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