Yesterday, we reported 22 new entrants into the Intel Alder Lake desktop (ADL-S) family. However, one little slice of silicon seems to have slipped through the net, most likely because it appears to be destined to be a China-exclusive. The part in question, the incongruously named Core i5-12490F, was spotted listed at China's JD online retailer by Twitter hardware hound HXL. In brief, as its name would suggest, it is a processor that sits very snugly next to the Intel Core i5-12500.
Summarising the key features of the Intel Core i5-12490F, this is a 6C/12T chip with a base/boost clock of 3.0 / 4.6 GHz and a PBP / MTP of 65 / 117W. So far, those specs are identical to those of the Intel Core i5-12500. However, this purported China-only CPU features 2MB more L3 cache (20MB rather than 18MB) and, as the F-suffix would attest, is a part with its iGPU disabled.
|Processor||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Clocks (GHz)||L3 Cache (MB)||iGPU||PBP / MTP (W)|
|Core i5-12600||6P / 12T||3.3 / 4.8||18||UHD770||65 / 117|
|Core i5-12500||6P / 12T||3.0 / 4.6||18||UHD770||65 / 117|
|*Core i5-12490F*||6P / 12T||3.0 / 4.6||20||N/A||65 / 117|
|Core i5-12400||6P / 12T||2.5 / 4.4||18||UHD730||65 / 117|
|Core i5-12400F||6P / 12T||2.5 / 4.4||18||N/A||65 / 117|
So, you might be asking how the Intel Core i5-12490F came to be. As is often the case in the semiconductor business, the 12490F is probably born of discarded silicon which was re-purposed to become a useful gap-filling product. SKUs above the Core i5-12600 are quite different with their mix of P-cores and E-cores. However, the heftier cache allocation of the Core i5-12490F indicates that it was created using discarded silicon from a chip higher up the ladder than the Core i5-12600 (18GB). We are thus looking at a possible repurposing of a faulty i7-12700/F or higher-end die.
It isn't obvious why this is a China-only SKU, at least for now. The Core i5-12490F would offer appeal outside of China, priced right, but Intel's bean counters and marketers appear to have chosen the country as the sole outlet, doubtlessly by factoring in demand, supply, and other geographic variables.
Last but not least, Intel Core i5-12490F buyers aren't being offered one of Intel's swanky new stock coolers. Its closest relations come in a box with the Laminar RM1, for example. The processor's Chinese retail pricing translates to about $250 in the US, but in the states, you can get the i5-12600 cheaper ($223) or would only need $14 more for the faster P-core base/boost i5-12600KF model with overclocking, and four E-cores at its disposal (i.e. a 10C/16T CPU).
Recently we reviewed the Intel Core i5-12400, which might trail this China-exclusive CPU a little but is only $192. If you are in the market for a CPU, always remember to check out our reviews, as well as our regularly updated Best CPU for Gaming in 2022 article.