Intel's Alder Lake is one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry, at least in terms of final specifications, but today we may have learned the one critical missing piece: pricing.
Given that the chips are obviously on the cusp of release, several European retailers listed pricing today, but now we have US pricing, too. As with all early listings, take the pricing with a grain of salt as it may merely be a placeholder. However, the pricing does land within our general expectations. European retailers that listed Intel's 12th Generation Core 'Alder Lake-S' processors earlier today also confirmed their general specifications as well as ordering codes. The general consensus is that Intel plans to begin selling Alder Lake-S for desktops sometime in October.
As expected, Intel will first offer six 12th-Gen Alder Lake-S processors with an unlocked multiplier designed for enthusiasts. The list of these CPUs includes the Core i9-12900K, the Core i7-12700K, the Core i5-12600K, and their 'F' variants that lack integrated graphics.
|Core i9-12900K / KF||$705 (K) - $674 (KF)||8P + 8E | 24 threads||3.20 ~ 5.30 GHz||30MB||BX8071512900K/BX8071512900KF|
|Core i9-11900K||$549||8P | 16 threads||3.50 ~ 5.30 GHz||16MB||-|
|Ryzen 9 5950X||$799||16P | 32 threads||3.40 ~ 4.90 GHz||64MB||-|
|Core i7-12700K / KF||$495 (K) - $464 (KF)||8P + 4E | 20 threads||3.60 ~ 5.0 GHz||25MB||BX8071512700K/BX8071512700KF|
|Core i7-11700K||$409||8P | 16 threads||3.60 ~ 5.0 GHz||16MB||-|
|Ryzen 7 5800X||$449||8P | 16 threads||3.80 ~ 4.70 GHz||32MB||-|
|Core i5-12600K / KF||$343 (K) - $312 (KF)||6P + 4E | 16 threads||3.70 ~ 4.90 GHz||16MB||BX8071512600K/BX8071512600KF|
|Core i5-11600K||$272||6P | 12 threads||3.90 ~ 4.90 GHz||12MB||-|
|Ryzen 5 5600X||$299||6P | 12 threads||3.70 ~ 4.60 GHz||32MB||-|
We're comparing alleged retail prices against recommended prices, but it's clear that Intel's 12th Generation Core processors are going to be more expensive than the company's 11th Gen-Core CPUs, largely because they have more cores and should be significantly faster than their prior-gen counterparts. Meanwhile, we can make some interesting observations. The flagship Core i9-12900K is not going to be as pricey as AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X, but both Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K will be more expensive than AMD's competing chips.
You should also take Intel's pricing for the graphics-less KF models into account, too. These chips come without graphics, just like AMD's competing Ryzen models, but at a lower price point than their standard counterparts.
Intel's rather aggressive core count, particularly as far as high-end and performance-mainstream parts are concerned, also draws the eye. While it was pretty reasonable to expect Intel to offer a 16-core CPU as its flagship Alder Lake-S SKU, a 10-core performance-mainstream SKU is a surprise.
Other things worth considering are of course huge cache sizes. Even the Core i5-12600K has a 16MB L3 cache, whereas the flagship Core i9-12900K has a massive 30MB L3 cache.
Last but not least are the high clock rates of the upcoming 12th Generation Core CPUs. Despite the significantly increased complexity of Alder Lake-S chips when compared to Rocket Lake-S processors, Intel has managed to sustain rather frequencies that its latest CPUs are known for.
The processors will be the company's first desktop chips featuring a hybrid architecture that embraces Golden Cove performance cores (P cores) and Gracemont energy-efficient cores (E cores). Intel's next-generation desktop CPUs will use an LGA1700 form-factor and will support 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes, four PCIe 4.0 lanes, and a memory controller that supports LPDDR4, LPDDR5, DDR4, and DDR5. The CPUs are made using Intel's 7 fabrication process previously known as 10nm Enhanced SuperFin (10ESF).
Intel traditionally does not comment on the specifications or pricing of unreleased products. While specs come from multiple sources and presumably originate from Intel's own documentation, they are not official, so take them with a grain of salt.