Down With TDP
Intel's Thermal Design Point (TDP) has never been meant to be a one-to-one measure of power consumption (it is a measure of the cooler's capacity to dissipate heat energy), but it has served as a 'good enough' proxy. However, when combined with Intel's boost tech and different power specs, it has become a confusing and often misleading array of metrics, some of which Intel hasn't previously shared on its specification sheets.
As such, Intel is changing its nomenclature and adding a new parameter to its spec sheet. It is also changing the default boost duration setting.
Intel has long listed the TDP of a processor as its guaranteed rating at base frequencies, also known as PL1. However, the chip can also opportunistically (meaning this isn't guaranteed) boost to higher frequencies and thus consume far more power, but only if it is safely within certain power, temperature, and current limits. This is called the PL2 power state, and Intel hasn't included this metric on its standard spec sheets.
All of that changes now, as Intel has redefined its power nomenclature to have a 'Processor Boost Power' (PBP) value representing the guaranteed base performance level (PL1). This replaces TDP.
In addition, Intel will also now list a 'Maximum Turbo Power' (MTP) specification that quantifies the power consumption during Turbo Boost, also known as PL2. That means you'll no longer see a TDP rating on the spec sheet. Instead, there will be two values that more accurately reflect both sides of the equation.
Intel's processors have a 'Tau Duration' setting that dictates how long the processor can stay in the boosted MTP state (PL2) before it drops back down to the PBP state (PL1 – base power). Intel has specified this Tau duration as 58 seconds for Rocket Lake chips, but this is only a guideline. Motherboard vendors are free to alter this value to any length of time if their motherboard can handle the power delivery required to sustain the boost. As shown in the graphic above, most motherboard vendors change the Tau setting to infinite to stay within boost for an infinite amount of time.
Given that Intel's Tau settings are only recommendations, the chip remains inside of the warranty regardless of boost duration. As an infinite Taue is a common practice on nearly every enthusiast motherboard, Intel will now set the Tau to a default of 'infinite' for all of its K-series (overclockable) models but retain the same 58-second duration for its locked chips.
This means that the Core i9-12900K's MTP (PL2) is now the same as its PBP (PL1). In other words, the chip will always operate at 241W.