Intel's 12th Generation Alder Lake processors will soon see the light of day this Fall 2021. It appears that the flagship Core i9-12900K (via HXL) may give AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X a run for its money in gaming, according to the latest Ashes of the Singularity benchmarks. The hybrid chip had previously bested the Ryzen 9 5950X in Geekbench 5, too.
Thanks to early retailer listings, the Core i9-12900K's specifications are already out there. The Alder Lake processor is expected to wield 16 cores in total, eight high performance Golden Cove cores and eight energy-efficient Gracemont cores. The 125W chip's other specifications include 30MB of L3 cache, a 3.2 GHz base clock and 5.2 GHz boost clock.
AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X, on the other hand, sports 16 Zen 3 cores with simultaneous multithreading (SMT) at 3.4 GHz with a boost clock speed of 4.9 GHz. The 105W processor also has 64MB of L3 cache at its disposal. On paper, AMD's chip seems to have the advantage since it's working with full-fledged Zen 3 cores whereas the Core i9-12900K has to work with just eight Golden Cove cores.
At the time of writing, there were 11 Core i9-12900K submissions in the Ashes of the Singularity database. The benchmark doesn't expose the complete specifications for the graphics card so we're unsure if the Core i9-12900K and GeForce RTX 3080 waere overclocked or whether they were under exotic cooling or not. Take the results with a pinch of salt. Furthemore, we don't know whether the user tested on Windows 11. Remember that Microsoft's next-generation operating system comes with an improved scheduler that's particularly optimized for Alder Lake.
The Core i9-12900K with a GeForce RTX 3080 scored 14,000 points with the High 1440p preset. By contrast, the Ryzen 9 5950X and a GeForce RTX 3080 scored 10,100 points with the same graphics preset and resolution. The Core i9-12900K outperformed the Ryzen 9 5950X by 38.6%. Both systems were using version 3.10.191346.0 of the benchmark tool so it should be a fair apples-to-apples comparison. Nevertheless, we have to highlight that fact that it's improbable that both users are using the same GeForce RTX 3080 so the actual performance margin between the Core i9-12900K and Ryzen 9 5950X could be bigger or smaller.
Despite its heterogeneous nature, the Core i9-12900K appears to pack a punch. However, Ashes of the Singularity is just one benchmark so it's too early to declare a winner. It'll be interesting to see whether the Core i9-12900K can recover the gaming throne for Intel as AMD practically has the best CPUs for gaming right now.
Gaming is good and all, but the Core i9-12900K has a tougher job ahead of it. The Alder Lake chip will have to prove whether it can hang with AMD's Zen 3 core-heavy Ryzen desktop chips in terms of application performance, which is more important for many consumers.
Alder Lake will launch this Fall 2021, but there are strong rumors that an announcement is allegedly scheduled for the Intel Innovation event, which runs from October 27 to 28.