Intel's Core i9-12900KS special edition Alder Lake processor is likely right around the corner. Tech provider Bottom Line Telecommunications (via momomo_us) has listed the Core i9-12900KS for close to $800 on the company's online store.
The boxed (BX8071512900KSP5) and tray version (CM8071504569915) sell for $791.74 and $780.79, respectively, at Bottom Line Telecommunications. For reference, the retailer has the Core i9-12900K up for $628.05, meaning the Core i9-12900KS carries a 26% premium.
The Core i9-12900KS is a close sibling to the Core i9-12900K. The 16-core, 24-thread configuration remains intact. The upcoming Alder Lake processor will offer eight Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemont cores with 30MB of L3 cache. The Core i9-12900KS proudly sports the "S" suffix, being a Special Edition SKU and all. So what's special about it? Well, Intel has binned the 16-core chip for higher clock speeds.
The Core i9-12900KS flaunts a 5.5 GHz single-core boost clock, 300 MHz higher than the vanilla Core i9-12900K. The KS variant also features a 5.2 GHz boost across all cores. In comparison, the Core i9-12900K's all-core boost clock fluctuates depending on the workload. Generally, we see the Core i9-12900K boosting around the 5 GHz mark, so the Core i9-12900KS exhibits a 200 MHz improvement in that area.
Higher clock speeds mean better performance and entail a higher consumption but, more importantly, a noticeable markup. The Core i9-12900KS hasn't hit the market yet, but we've seen it beating AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 5950X Zen 3 processor in some early Cinebench R23 tests. But, of course, we should wait for a thorough review before passing judgment.
The retailer listing shows that the Core i9-12900KS has a 150W PBP (Processor Base Power) rating, which is just Intel's fancy way of referring to the PL1 (power level 1). The regular Core i9-12900K has a 125W PBP, so we're looking at a 20% increase. The MTP (Maximum Turbo Power) for the Core i9-12900K is still a mystery. However, Intel specifies 241W for the Core i9-12900K; therefore, the Core i9-12900KS could probably push the value over 260W.
If we put everything together, the Core i9-12900KS costs 26% more than the Core i9-12900K while commanding a 20% higher PBP for a 4% higher all-core boost clock. The cons overweight the pros, but then again, there's always a niche for chips like the Core i9-12900KS.
The Core i9-12900KS slots into the LGA1700 socket on 600-series motherboards (just like all Alder Lake chips), and manufacturers will likely release new firmware to accommodate the Core i9-12900KS. First, however, you'll probably want to pick up a Z690 motherboard if overclocking is on your agenda and maybe a more beefy cooling solution for the expected increase in power draw.
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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.