Update 3/28: Following Newegg’s flub on Friday, Intel today is now (finally) officially announcing the Core i9-12900KS. The company’s new flagship consumer desktop chip will be going on sale next Tuesday, April 5th, with a recommended price of $739.

In terms of specifications, Newegg’s posting has turned out to be spot-on, with a maximum turbo clock of 5.5GHz and an all-core turbo clock of 5.2GHz. As were the 150 Watt base TDP and 241 Watt turbo TDP. All of which stands to make this Intel’s fastest consumer desktop chip yet, and one of the more power hungry.

It should be noted that Intel typically lists their chip prices in quantities of 1000 units. So while Intel’s official $739 price tag is lower than the $799 price in Newegg’s initial listing, it’s very likely that the retail price for the chip will land near or at $799 anyhow – though we’ll know for sure come April 5th.

Finally, availability for the i9-12900KS should be better than past Intel special edition chips (e.g. 9900KS). In our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

The rest of the original story, updated with final figures and prices, follows below.

March 25th

Long expected from Intel, the Core i9-12900KS is now out of the bag thanks to an apparently accidental listing from Newegg. The major PC parts retailer listed the unannounced Intel chip for sale and began taking orders earlier this morning. pulling it a couple of hours later. But with the scale and popularity of Newegg – as well as having the complete specifications posted – the cat is now irreversibly out of the bag.

The Core i9-12900KS, where the S stands for Special Edition, pushes the standard 12900K to new frequency highs. The processor is in an 8P+8E configuration, with the key data points being the 5.5 GHz Turbo frequency across two cores, and 5.2 GHz Turbo frequency across all cores – and like the other K parts, with sufficient cooling this chip has an unlimited turbo period. Given the extreme clockspeeds, this is going to be a ‘thin-bin’ part, which means that Intel is going to need to do extra binning to bring these processors to market in sufficient quantities with the characteristics determined by the bin.

Intel 12th Gen Core, Alder Lake
AnandTech Cores
iGPU Base
i9-12900KS 8+8/24 2500 4000 3400 5500 770 150 241 $739
i9-12900K 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 770 125 241 $589
i9-12900KF 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 - 125 241 $564
i7-12700K 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 770 125 190 $409
i7-12700KF 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 - 125 190 $384
i5-12600K 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 770 125 150 $289
i5-12600KF 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 - 125 150 $264

Compared to the regular Core i9-12900K, this new processor adds +100 MHz on the E-core and P-core all-core turbo frequencies, but +300 MHz on the top turbo. Meanwhile base clockspeeds are going up slightly as well, to 2.5Ghz for the E-cores and 3.4GHz on the P-cores – though given the high-end nature of the chip, the 12900KS is unlikely to spend much (if any) time not deep into turbo.

TDPs have also gone up slightly to support the higher clockspeeds; while Turbo power remains at 241 W, base power is now 150 W, up from 125W for the normal 12900K. Rounding out the package is support for DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800, and integrated UHD 770 graphics.

Intel has launched ‘Special Edition’ models before. The most recent was the Core i9-9900KS, an updated version of the i9-9900K. The KS was the first model to have 5.0 GHz across all eight cores, however supply was limited and it was hard to get hold of. Though in our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

Some of the 12900KS details were leaked even before today's quasi-launch, with some commentary about how this extra frequency is readily available on the standard 12900K with a little overclocking. The difference here is the guarantee of that frequency without needing to overclock – the same argument as it was before with the 9900KS vs 9900K. To a number of users, that’s a useful guarantee to have, especially with pre-built systems and system integrators.

Intel’s main competition comes in the form of two AMD processors. For overall multithreaded throughput, the existing 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X remains AMD's top chip. Meanwhile on the gaming front, competition comes from AMD’s forthcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which is an 8 core processor with an extra 64 MB of L3 cache to help with gaming. AMD is claiming +15% gaming performance over the Ryzen 9 5900X, and 0.98x to 1.2x over the 12900K at 1080p High settings, so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Neither Intel nor AMD have access to each other’s chips right now, so a direct comparison using both sets of data is likely to be inconclusive right now.

Top Tier Processor Options
AnandTech Cores
i9-12900KS 8+8 3400 5500 30 150 241 $739
R9 5950X 16+0 3400 4900 64 105 142 $590
i9-12900K 8+8 3200 5200 30 125 241 $610
R9 5900X 12+0 3700 4800 64 105 142 $450
R7 5800X3D 8+0 3400 4500 96 105 142 $449
i7-12700K 8+4 3600 5000 25 125 190 $385

With street pricing on Intel's existing i9-12900K already running at about $610, Intel has upped the ante even further on pricing for the new special edition chip. Officially, Intel is listing the i9-12900KS at $739, and this is almost certainly the company's usual 1000 unit bulk price. Newegg's early listing, on the other hand, was for $799. And while pricing is subject to change (with high-end products it's often decided at the last minute), Newegg's initial price is likely to be at or near the final retail price of the chip once it is released.

Assuming for the moment that Newegg's price is accurate, the $799 price tag represents a further $189 premium for the higher-clocked chip. Suffice it to say, Intel isn't intending this to be a bargain chip, but rather is charging an additional premium for the chart-topping clockspeeds.

What is interesting for gamers is that while Intel has decided to turbo-charge its high-end processor, AMD beefed up one of its mid-range instead. Which means there's a pretty significant price disparity here, reflecting the fact that Intel's top gaming chip is also their top chip for overall multithreaded processing. So depending how performance plays out, Intel may pull off a win here in gaming, but it probably won't do much to move the market share (or dissuade 5800X3D buyers).

It should be pointed out that based on our research, the 12900KS is not a reactionary measure to the AMD chip. AnandTech has seen documents showing that the KS was part of the processor list during Alder Lake development, but has required extra time to mature and finalize – so much so that we wrote up a version of today's article months in advance, expecting an earlier announcement/release date. So Intel's plans up to now have been in flux, and while the company is certainly not above raining on AMD's parade, they also have other ambitions with their 16 core heterogeneous processor.

At the time of writing it's not clear when the i9-12900KS will be formally released. Newegg's early posting had a "first available" date of March 10th, so it may be someone was off by a month there (Update: Intel has announced an April 5th launch date). But we can’t wait to get these chips in for testing.

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  • mode_13h - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - link

    > How dare to you talk about Ian like this?!?

    No one should be above reproach. Ian is a big boy. He doesn't need you to protect him.

    > I’ve never seen such comments from someone.

    Apparently you don't read all the news comments, though? I'm guessing not, because you sound as if you don't ordinarily login to the news comments.

    > You should be ashame of yourself.

    LOL. Everyone is as entitled to their opinions as you are. The best way to counter a claim you disagree with is to cite counter-evidence. Making it personal just antagonizes the recipient and the exchange will likely spiral downward, quickly thereafter.
  • Mike Bruzzone - Thursday, April 7, 2022 - link

    The system of mutually dependent access and allocation typically emphasizes and even exaggerates Intel on production volume value to sales distribution and media sales preview channels, on the shear weight of intel production volume and its financial trickle down potential.

    The system typically underplays and can ignore alternate x86 competitors that can include AMD primarily on AMD slimmer volumes and values it's advantageous to have a lot of options and value types to trade. AMD has more value types than they've ever had currently.

    Ultimately it's all about exchange. Whether Intel or alternate players that have also been restrained and limited, by Intel associate channels primarily, on their limited values to trade.

    Piss off Intel, or piss off AMD, and you lose your access and allocation. It works both ways.

  • biigD - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    It's pretty clear to me that Ian let his enjoyment of feeling 'close' to Intel influence his reviews/interviews. But c'mon, we're not a bunch of rubes. I'm here because I enjoy the deep dives into hardware, and I'm more than capable of filtering the BS from the technical facts and benchmarks. Ian wrote huge, detailed reviews and provided interesting interviews. Did he take it easy on Intel or inject less than objective language from time to time? Yep. Did any of that have any bearing on how I chose to proceed with my next build or how well it might fit my workflow? Not one bit.
  • at_clucks - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    @biigD, your explanation has some merit but let's be real, "the articles are for experts who can discern bias from fact" is one of the most feeble attempts to cover lack of journalistic integrity. Moreover, that "experts would have figured out the bias" would be some very shameful victim blaming, putting it on the "rubes" who foolishly trusted an AT tech writer instead of being experts in the first place.

    The fact of the matter is that Ian applied this bias mainly towards Intel so it's not just his writing stile "to be filtered out", and there's no "only for experts" tag on any of the articles. Ad they are actually open to the whole world which means countless people were mislead by them.
  • biigD - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    Fair enough. Remember that I'm not looking at this through the lens of a journalist, so while I don't condone Ian's bias, it doesn't generate such a visceral response either.
  • WaltC - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    Looks like Ian Cutress is sharing the byline for the article. Is that not true, you're saying?
  • goatfajitas - Monday, April 11, 2022 - link

    Yup, Anandtech really stopped being that great unbiased source for tech reviews before Anand even left.
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    Anandtech is biased towards Intel? Prove it, shill
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    Testing Zen 1 and Zen 2 with JEDEC RAM.

    Only JEDEC.
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, March 25, 2022 - link

    Every CPU tested at JEDEC, Intel or AMD. What's your point? AT has engineers that love the JEDEC data.

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