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Intel Alder Lake CPU Specs Expose 5.3 GHz Boost Clock, 228W PL2

Image of a processor on a motherboard.
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Update 15/07/2021 12:00pm PT: We've independently confirmed the specifications with our own sources. The configurations are spot-on, however, the clock speeds are for the engineering samples (ES) so the final specifications are bound to vary.

Original Story:

A Zhihu forum user (via La Frite David on Twitter) has reportedly posted the specifications for Intel's approaching 12th Generation Alder Lake K-series processors. As with early leaked specifications, it's recommended to treat the information with a lot of caution.

Specifications for normal desktop processors are pretty straightforward, since all of the cores adhere to the same clock speeds. But with Alder Lake, Intel's introducing a hybrid design; That means there is a lot more information for people to digest. You have to look at specifications individually for the high-performance Golden Cove CPU cores as well as the more power-efficient Gracemont cores.

In today's leak, the Zhihu user shared the alleged specifications for the Core i9-12900K, Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K, which are the unlocked models for overclocking. Apparently, the trio of K-series chips share the same power levels. The PL1 (Power Level 1), which is the metric that Intel openly promotes, is rated for 125W. This doesn't come as a surprise as past K-series chips, including Rocket Lake and Comet Lake also sported as 125W PL1 rating. 

It would appear that the real improvement lies with the PL2 (Power Level 2), which corresponds to the maximum power draw when the turbo comes into play. For comparison, the Core i9-11900K and Core i7-11700K Rocket Lake chips are fixed to a 250W PL2. Their Alder Lake equivalents purportedly dropped down to 228W, representing a small 8.8% decrease.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake Specifications

ProcessorGolden Cove / Gracemont CoresGolden Cove 1-2C / 8C Boost (GHz)Gracemont 1-4C / 8C Boost (GHz)L3 Cache (MB)PL1 (W)PL2 (W)
Core i9-12900K8 / 85.3 / 5.03.9 / 3.730125228
Core i7-12700K8 / 45.0 / 4.73.8 / 3.625125228
Core i5-12600K6 / 44.9 / 4.53.6 / 3.420125228

The Core i9-12900K will lead the charge for Intel's 12th Generation and will arrive to replace the Core i9-11900K. Naturally, the Core i7-11700K and Core i5-11600K will pass the baton over to the Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K, respectively. In terms of core count, Alder Lake will be similar to Rocket Lake when it comes to the big cores. However, Alder Lake comes with the addition of the Gracemont cores that will probably make the heterogeneous processors look good on paper for those counting total cores.

The Core i9-12900K features 16 cores in a configuration where there are eight Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemont cores. There's 30MB of L3 cache onboard the Core i9-12900K. The Golden Cove cores feature a 5.3 GHz dual-core boost clock and 5 GHz all-core boost clock. The Gracemont cores, on the other hand, rocks a 3.9 GHz quad-core boost clock and a 3.7 GHz all-core boost clock.

The Core i7-12700K arrives with four fewer Gracemont cores than the Core i9-12900K. The leak points to 12 total cores in a 8+4 setup and a 25MB L3 cache. The dual-core and all-core boost clock speeds for the Golden Cove cores are 5 GHz and 4.7 GHz, respectively. As for the Gracemont cores, they operate with a 3.8 GHz dual-core boost clock and 3.6 GHz all-core boost clock.

The Core i5-12600K is equipped with 10 cores in a 6+4 configuration that's complemented with a 20MB L3 cache. The Golden Cove cores come equipped with a 4.9 GHz dual-core and 4.6 GHz hexa-core boost clock speeds, while the Gracemont cores are limited to a 3.6 GHz dual-core boost clock and 3.4 GHz quad-core boost clock.

The rough time frame for Alder Lake's debut spans between late 2021 and early 2022. We will know soon enough whether Intel's brave bet on a hybrid desktop chip pays off.