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Intel's 5.5 GHz Core i9-12900KS Has Record Max Turbo Power Consumption, Lands in March

Intel
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's upcoming flagship processor Core i9-12900KS promises to offer record performance due to its 'up to' 5.5 GHz boost, but that performance will come at the expense of record power consumption. According to a new leak from @momomo_us, the CPU will consume up to 260W, a record for Intel's mainstream desktop platforms. The CPU will be available in early March, according to a U.S. retailer.

Intel's Core i9-12900KS features high-performance Golden Cove cores clocked at 3.50 GHz to 5.50 GHz and will have a processor base power (PBP) of 150W, which is already 25W higher than the regular Core i9-12900K. Unsurprisingly, the i9-12900KS will also have a higher maximum thermal power (MTP) that stretches up to 260W in max turbo mode, according to @momomo_us, who typically fetches data from various hardware makers. By contrast, the regular model comes with an MTP of 241W.

Intel uses its so-called Enhanced Thermal Velocity Boost (ETVB) technology, which will be exclusively available on this chip, to hit the high clocks. Intel's ETVB is yet another (sixth, to be more precise) adaptive boost level for the company's consumer chips. Although it is reasonable to expect ETVB to be a superset of the company's regular Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) technology (which raises core frequencies when all cores are active and the CPU's temperature is below 70 Celsius), we do not know any particular details about ETVB. Meanwhile, increased MTP can point to voltage increases.

260W is without any doubt higher than 241W and is clearly a record for stock mainstream CPUs. But a 7.8% MTP increase may not be that significant for a special edition processor designed solely for enthusiasts who have expensive motherboards and high-performance liquid cooling systems. 

PriceCores | ThreadsP-Core Base/BoostE-Core Base/BoostTDP / PBP / MTPDDR4-3200L3 Cache
Core i9-12900KS?8P + 8E | 16 Cores / 24 Threads3.5 / 5.5 GHz?150W / 260WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-480030MB
Core i9-12900K / KF$589 (K) - $564 (KF)8P + 8E | 16 Cores / 24 Threads3.2 / 5.2 GHz2.4 / 3.9 GHz125W / 241WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-480030MB
Core i7-12700K / KF$409 (K) - $384 (KF)8P + 4E | 12 Cores / 20 Threads3.6 / 5.0 GHz2.7 / 3.8 GHz125W / 190WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-480025MB

One should keep in mind that while Intel's PBP (power level 1) and MTP (power level 2) are well documented, the actual power consumption with high-end motherboards may be considerably higher. Motherboard makers normally set extremely high TDP limits for a rather long time, and as long as the CPU doesn't hit its TDP limit, it can work at increased frequencies and draw as much power as needed. This allows maximum performance, but also means that the CPU can consume considerably more power than the MTP rating. Keeping in mind that some LGA1700 motherboards can deliver around 1000W to a CPU, one can only guess about the real power consumption of some chips.

As reported earlier this week, Intel's Core i9-12900KS boxed version (BX8071512900KSP5) and tray version (CM8071504569915) are available for preorder for $791.74 and $780.79, respectively, at Bottom Line Telecommunications. The same retailer sells the Core i9-12900K up for $628.05, so the Core i9-12900KS is 26% more expensive. The retailer says that the earliest ETA data for the CPU is March 3, 2022.

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • helper800
    So we looking at a 1200w PSU for one of these and a 3090? Sounds ridiculous that single GPU and CPU consumer systems have gotten so energy intensive at the ultra high end.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Ho'boy....

    So, a push of 51W for MTP to go from the 12700K's 5.0GHz to the 12900K's extra 200MHz... though it also adds 4 more E cores.

    Then push 19W more on top of that to be able to get 300MHz more.

    I mean, I get it, pushing clocks into the "killing your performance/watt to reach some arbitrary performance goal" was practically the raison d'être for Rocket Lake.

    But, do they really need to try to re-live that with the high end Alder Lake CPUs? At which point, I wonder what the purpose of the Efficiency Cores even is. Or, maybe I should wonder how much higher both PTP and MTP would be if they didn't have E-cores.
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    King_V said:
    Ho'boy....

    So, a push of 51W for MTP to go from the 12700K's 5.0GHz to the 12900K's extra 200MHz... though it also adds 4 more E cores.

    Then push 19W more on top of that to be able to get 300MHz more.

    I mean, I get it, pushing clocks into the "killing your performance/watt to reach some arbitrary performance goal" was practically the raison d'être for Rocket Lake.

    But, do they really need to try to re-live that with the high end Alder Lake CPUs? At which point, I wonder what the purpose of the Efficiency Cores even is. Or, maybe I should wonder how much higher both PTP and MTP would be if they didn't have E-cores.

    have you seen/used a rtx 3090 with an unlocked vbios ?
    The thing uses 600w-700w in Quake2 RTX, PortRoyal, etc to hold 2115 freq

    You can just drop 200mhz on the clock to get to 400w... so that extra 70w is nothing
    Reply
  • escksu
    Wow 5.5GHz, its really incredible.
    Reply
  • escksu
    King_V said:
    Ho'boy....

    So, a push of 51W for MTP to go from the 12700K's 5.0GHz to the 12900K's extra 200MHz... though it also adds 4 more E cores.

    Then push 19W more on top of that to be able to get 300MHz more.

    I mean, I get it, pushing clocks into the "killing your performance/watt to reach some arbitrary performance goal" was practically the raison d'être for Rocket Lake.

    But, do they really need to try to re-live that with the high end Alder Lake CPUs? At which point, I wonder what the purpose of the Efficiency Cores even is. Or, maybe I should wonder how much higher both PTP and MTP would be if they didn't have E-cores.

    Thats what overclocks have been doing for decades and are still doing it today. Not everyone is after performance/watt. Anyway 260W TDP is nothing.... Manually overclocked CPUs uses way more power.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    King_V said:
    Ho'boy....

    So, a push of 51W for MTP to go from the 12700K's 5.0GHz to the 12900K's extra 200MHz... though it also adds 4 more E cores.

    Then push 19W more on top of that to be able to get 300MHz more.

    I mean, I get it, pushing clocks into the "killing your performance/watt to reach some arbitrary performance goal" was practically the raison d'être for Rocket Lake.

    But, do they really need to try to re-live that with the high end Alder Lake CPUs? At which point, I wonder what the purpose of the Efficiency Cores even is. Or, maybe I should wonder how much higher both PTP and MTP would be if they didn't have E-cores.
    While Intel calls them efficiency cores, I feel the intention of adding E-cores is not for efficiency, at least not the main reason. Intel likely chose not to (for whatever reasons) to add more P-cores. With only 8 Golden Cove cores, they are clearly at a disadvantage when it comes to multithreaded performance. They may close the gap significantly due to the great performance from the Golden Cove cores, but unlikely to beat say the 5950X with 16c/32t. So to me, the E-cores is meant to address this lack of core issue to beat the competition in multithreading, and not to make the system more efficient. Power saving is likely just a secondary benefit.
    Reply
  • jacob249358
    Wow. Imagine this bad boi and a 3090 ti. You're talking a 1200w or even 1600w if you wanna overclock the snot out of them. Crazy that 2 generations ago the top tier card could run on a $650 watt psu with an overclocked 7700k. I joined this PC community too late. As ridiculous as this sounds apple should get into the custom PC space. Desktop m1 could be a legend. i think they cream intel in performance:watt. Plus they already have the apple bias.
    Reply
  • jp7189
    I have a 12900K that hits 5.6 on 2 cores, 5.3 all core, but it burns 300+watts to do it - making it hard to stay under 100C under water. So I guess the point of the KS binning is less power/heat. (I can't believe i just said that.)
    Reply
  • King_V
    escksu said:
    Thats what overclocks have been doing for decades and are still doing it today. Not everyone is after performance/watt. Anyway 260W TDP is nothing.... Manually overclocked CPUs uses way more power.

    225W was mock-worthy in the FX-9590 days . . and certainly Rocket Lake earned the ridicule it got from its power consumption.

    BUT... I don't know . . This 10% increase in clocks, from the i7-12700 to the i9-12900KS, going from 5.0 max to 5.5 max, results in a MTP increase of 70W... so, going from 190W to 250W is a 31.6% increase in power consumption. To get a 10% increase in clock rates.

    I don't think that when I overclocked my Pentium 133 to 166Mhz, which is a 25% increase in clocks, that it used anything close to that kind of extra power, proportionally speaking.

    What is confounding me, though, is that it seems like the extra E-cores are contributing the bulk of it, moving from the i7... but that seems strange.

    If we look only at the boost rates of the non-KS i9 vs i7, that's a 51W jump, a 26.8% increase in power, for only 200 extra MHz, only a 4% increase in clock speed. BUT . . the i9 has 4 more E-cores.

    Now, the 12900KS vs 12900K... like vs like, that's 260 vs 241W, only a 7.8% increase on power draw, for 5.8% increase in clocks. That's actually not bad.

    So, now I'm wondering if the big jump in power draw vs the i7 isn't as much from turning up the wick, but from having extra E-cores. It seems kind of counter-intuitive to me, though, I think that @watzupken 's explanation probably covers this.
    Reply
  • helper800
    Imagine they dropped the act and just released an 8 P core 0 E core alder lake chip that was as highly binned. It would probably "only" pull 210w. I wonder if anyone is going to deactivate their e cores on the 12900KS to see what the power draw is like "stock?"
    Reply