Twitter user REHWK has shared a screenshot of Intel's unreleased Core i9-12900K alongside some pretty fast DDR5 memory. The 16-core hybrid chip will lead the charge for the chipmaker's 12th Generation Alder Lake army as it takes on the best CPUs.
There isn't much to see from the processor side. The CPU-Z screenshot seemingly confirms that the Core i9-12900K is a 125W chip with a 30MB L3 cache. We've already know these specifications for some time now, but it's always good to get some confirmation. What's also evident from looking at the list of instruction sets is that Alder Lake lacks AVX-512 support. While the Golden Cove cores support AVX-512, the Gracemont cores don't. Therefore, Intel simply disabled the AVX-512 instruction set in the Golden Cove cores on Alder Lake to maintain uniform ISA support.
Alder Lake arrives with native for both DDR4 and DDR5 memory formats. The default supported data rates are DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800, respectively. Therefore, memory that abides by those specifications, including some of the best RAM, is practically plug-n-play on Intel's 600-series motherboards.
The Core i9-12900K in question was tested on Gigabyte's forthcoming Z690 Aorus Tachyon motherboard with matching Gigabyte DDR5-4800 (GP-ARS32G62D5) memory. It's plausible that the screenshot is from an overclocker that's testing the boundaries of the DDR5 memory kit. Therefore, exotic cooling was probably used to push the memory to DDR5-8000.
Natively, the DDR5 memory runs at DDR5-4800 with timings set to 42-39-39-77 at just 1.1V. There are two XMP 3.0 profiles for DDR5-6200. The one with relaxed timings configures the memory to 40-40-40-80 at 1.35V, while the one with optimized timings drops the timings to 38-38-38-76 but bumps the DRAM voltage to 1.5V. Apparently, the memory module also carries a third XMP 3.0 profile for DDR5-6400 with 42-42-42-84 timings, pulling 1.45V.
With Rocket Lake, Intel introduced gear modes, similar to AMD's Infinity Fabric Clock (FCLK) for memory overclocking. In short, gear modes made it possible for the memory controller and memory frequency to run at different speeds. For example, Gear 1 maintains a 1:1 ratio, while Gear 2 cuts the memory controller's frequency down to half, achieving a 0.5:1 ratio. A recent patch to HWiNFO64 implies that Intel will implement the same gear modes in Alder Lake whereas a benchmark leak reveals a potential Gear 4 option to drop the memory controller down to a quarter of the memory frequency.
The overclocker got the memory from DDR5-4800 to DDR5-8000, which represents an impressive 67% improvement. Obviously, the overclocker set the timings to 50-50-50-100. In the screenshot, the memory controller's clocked at 2,000 MHz whereas the memory's at 4,000 MHz. It is pretty remarkable that overclocker managed to hit DDR5-8000 in Gear 2 mode.
Alder Lake has been rumored to launch on November 4, therefore, Intel's 600-series motherboards and DDR5 memory shouldn't be far behind. While DDR5 brings many improvements, it still remains to be seen just how much faster it is when compared to the best DDR4 RAM.
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Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.