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Intel's Special Edition i9-12900KS Already in Customer Hands

Intel Core i9-12900K Box
(Image credit: Intel)

NOTE: This chip is now available worldwide, you can read our Core i9-12900KS review here.

Original Article: While Intel has mostly remained quiet on the subject, it appears some customers of Intel's upcoming Core i9-12900KS special edition processor have already received their product. Overclocking reports a user by the name of Daginatsuko shared photos of his 12900KS to the news outlet, proving the chip has already made it to market. (Note that the above image is the Core i9-12900K box, not the 12900KS.)

In the photos Overclocking.com shared, we can see the slight changes made to the CPU's new box. The box is a darker shade of blue compared to the i9-12900K's box. Darker colors — or in the case of some previous Intel CPUs, black boxes — are Intel's symbol for extreme performance. The box also packs "Special Edition" lettering on the box, to prove you're buying the i9-12900KS model.

Intel's Core i9-12900KS is the newest member of Intel's special edition series of CPUs, following in the footsteps of the Core i7-8086K and Core i9-9900KS. Like its older brethren, the 12900KS sports higher core clocks than its 12900K twin, making it the fastest Alder Lake CPU Intel currently makes.

We don't have official specifications yet, but we believe the i9-12900KS will ship with a 3.5GHz base clock and an eye-watering 5.5GHz peak turbo clock. Reports have indicated Intel's new special edition chip can run at 5.2GHz on all cores as well, something the i9-12900K can only do on a single core.

However, these higher boost frequencies won't translate into big performance gains. According to preliminary benchmarks, Intel's i9-12900KS is only 11.6% faster than the 12900K in multi-threaded performance with Geekbench 5's CPU benchmark. In single-threaded testing, that performance gap decreases to 4.1% — hardly anything to write home about.

That's par for the course with Intel's special or limited edition parts. We saw similar behavior with the i7-8086K and i9-9900KS, for example. These parts are more of a statement piece than anything else, representing the best of the best Intel can make with its current CPU microarchitectures.

Pricing was not listed, but reports have indicated the 12900KS could sell well north of $750, making it an even worse buy than its i9-12900K twin if you are looking for a good value. That's always the case with halo products, a classic case of diminishing returns.

Intel says the 12900KS will be released by the end of this month, so it's not too surprising that the chip is already starting to appear at retail. We expect more retailers to begin selling the 12900KS as we get into the final two weeks of March.

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • mdd1963
    If it has already been sold, you'd think one of the Youtube hardware comparison teams would have already borrowed/acquired one and compared it with the latest CPUs to see what sort of gains were to be had over an ordinary 12900K ( in actual gaming....)
    Reply