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Intel Core i9-12900K Alder Lake and B660 Motherboards Go On Sale in China (Update)

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Update 19/07/2021 8:30am PT: The underground seller (via YuuKi_AnS) has reportedly sold his lot of Core i9-12900K qualification samples. However, he's expecting more samples to arrive next week. The selling price has jumped up to $1,247.98 and varies day by day.

The dealer allegedly sold a B660 motherboard for as much as $1,140.13, although there was no mention of the model or vendor.

Original Story:

According to hardware blogger YuuKi_AnS, who has previously posted pictures and insider info about Intel's Sapphire Rapids, Chinese merchants are clandestinely selling qualification samples (QS) of Intel's Core i9-12900K Alder Lake processor in China. The current asking price is between $1,064.95 and $1,157.55.

While Intel hasn't confirmed the exact date for Alder Lake's launch, the heterogeneous processors are rumored to land in late 2021 or early 2022, barring any setbacks. Additionally, the latest news about qualification samples being sold in the Chinese market suggests that we could see retail availability by the end of the year.

The Core i9-12900K wields 16 CPU cores, consisting of eight Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemont cores. The flagship Alder Lake chip also has 30MB of L3 cache at its disposal. It's a K-series SKU, so the Core i9-12900K will offer an unlocked multiplier for overclocking. However, Alder Lake's hybrid design will surely complicate the overclocking process since consumers would probably want to overclock the big and small cores.

The essence of Alder Lake's existence is to offer better power efficiency. The Core i9-12900K is rated with a 125W PL1 and 228W PL2. The processor shares the same PL1 rating as the existing Core i9-11900K (Rocket Lake), but has a 8.8% lower PL2. In a previous Alder Lake leak, we saw that Golden Cove allegedly offers up to 20% higher single-threaded performance although the PowerPoint slide never mentioned which previous Intel microarchitecture was used for the comparison.

The engineering samples (ES) of the Core i9-12900K feature a 5.3 GHz dual-core boost clock and a 5 GHz all-core boost clock on the Golden Cove cores. As for the Gracemont cores, they operate with a 3.9 GHz quad-core boost clock and a 3.7 GHz all-core boost clock. It's safe to assume that the qualification samples could feature improved clock speeds.

Apparently, the anonymous seller is only willing to sell the Alder Lake qualification samples in bulk — 100 units is the minimum order. However, it would also include older engineering samples as well. As YuuKi_AnS stated, the dealer doesn't want to sell Alder Lake motherboards, though. Since Alder Lake commands a new LGA1700 CPU socket, you can't really drop the chip into any existing motherboard.

Even at $1,000, the selling price for the Core i9-12900K is absurd. Of course, you're paying the premium to acquire an unreleased processor. Nonetheless, no one in their right mind would fork over $1,000 for a chip if you can't even get your hands on a working motherboard for it.

  • RealBeast
    Buy an unreleased CPU with no warranty, no available motherboard, in lots of 100 from China. What could possible go wrong? ;)
    Reply
  • TheOtherOne
    RealBeast said:
    Buy an unreleased CPU with no warranty, no available motherboard, in lots of 100 from China. What could possible go wrong? ;)
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    RealBeast said:
    Buy an unreleased CPU with no warranty, no available motherboard, in lots of 100 from China. What could possible go wrong? ;)
    One alder lake + 99 older samples...
    There is no way one single person got their hands on 100 alder lake samples, even more than one would be a stretch.
    Apparently, the anonymous seller is only willing to sell the Alder Lake qualification samples in bulk — 100 units is the minimum order. However, it would also include older engineering samples as well.
    Reply
  • keith12
    Will be interesting to see hoe the Gracemont cores stack up! At 3.7 all core, that's impressive. Fast enough to do most tasks well, even gaming.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    keith12 said:
    Will be interesting to see hoe the Gracemont cores stack up! At 3.7 all core, that's impressive. Fast enough to do most tasks well, even gaming.
    Gracemont cores are expected to have the IPC of Skylake. With no hyperthreading, to guesstimate performance look at i5 skylakes.
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    I don't think overclocking these new CPUs would be any more complicated than any others, just a matter of separating them in the BIOS. Not sure if the smaller ones would be included in the overclocing capabilities, but either way, just have their own group. I think it's more a matter of how Windows can implement the differences
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    Knowing Intel, and as the upcoming 12900K is a 16 core CPU, that $1000 may not be far from retail prices anyway... :)
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    mdd1963 said:
    Knowing Intel, and as the upcoming 12900K is a 16 core CPU, that $1000 may not be far from retail prices anyway... :)
    16 core on paper, if it uses the small cores for light tasks and big cores for heavy tasks then is it really a 16 core? It better use all the cores when needed.
    Maybe there's a hidden pl3 rated at 300w+ just for that.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    peachpuff said:
    16 core on paper, if it uses the small cores for light tasks and big cores for heavy tasks then is it really a 16 core? It better use all the cores when needed.
    Maybe there's a hidden pl3 rated at 300w+ just for that.
    As already mentioned, the Gracemont cores are equivalent to Skylake cores. Skylake cores have the same IPC as Coffee Lake that is only 3.5 years old. An 8700k isn't exactly a slow CPU today. So while the Gracemont cores are called "little" , that's a bit of a misnomer. Little only compared to Golden Cove cores which are supposed to be huge. The 12900k with 8 large cores and 8 smaller cores will likely double the multithreaded performance of an 11900k, which would be better performance than a theoretical 16 core Rocket Lake.

    Edit, forgot, the 9 series was a Coffee Lake refresh with new security features and higher clocks. Meaning gracemont has basically the same IPC as a 9900k which is still being sold today.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    peachpuff said:
    16 core on paper, if it uses the small cores for light tasks and big cores for heavy tasks then is it really a 16 core? It better use all the cores when needed.
    Maybe there's a hidden pl3 rated at 300w+ just for that.
    That's like saying that a ryzen with two ccxs is only half the cores...
    if ryzen can use cores on a basically completely different cpu for heavy tasks then why wouldn't this where everything is on the same "core complex" .

    Also if you look at it, the 16 core 5950x runs at 5ghz on a single core but on 3.77 on all core so alder lake is at least as much an 16 core as the 5950x.
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/16214/amd-zen-3-ryzen-deep-dive-review-5950x-5900x-5800x-and-5700x-tested/8
    Reply