Best CPUs for Gaming: Holiday 2021
In our series of Best CPU guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended Gaming CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing. Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP.
CPU Market Overview, Holiday 2021
The launch of Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors has shaken up the market in the eternal battle of red vs blue, with seemingly a good number of processors to go around. The main limitations are still graphics cards for gaming, but also those looking for DDR5 are having to scout around as the dreaded ‘supply chain’ has limited how many modules have come to market. Nonetheless, platform costs aside, stock of both AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors seems to be healthy, and both are aggressively priced.
A short overview of the best sellers updates:
AMD still holds the top 7 spots, with the four Ryzen 5000 processors based on Zen 3 taking four of the first five: the best seller since our last guide this time around is the Ryzen 7 5800X, which is around the $342 as this is being written. All of these parts seem to be sold at or below MSRP, and the range of supported motherboards in the ecosystem is healthy and varied.
The Top 10 looks like this:
Just below our top five are two of the Zen 3 APUs with built in Vega graphics, with AMD able to keep them in supply priced around the same as the non-APUs, exchanging a bit of that L3 cache for integrated graphics. The popular non-Zen 3 parts are also appearing on Amazon’s Top 50, with the Ryzen 5 3600 taking #3, priced well at $220, and even the Ryzen 3 1200 is at #28 for $140.
Intel’s best seller is one of the new Alder Lake entrants, the Core i9-12900K. Despite some of the online reviews preferring the i7-12700K (#13) or the i5-12600K (#31), it seems the Core i9 was the one that was able to keep supply and sell well. The current listed $798 price is well above MSRP, and it’s likely that Amazon is waiting on more stock and this is just the low stock price. The KF variants without integrated graphics, while cheaper in most cases were lower down the order (i9-KF at #23, i7-KF at #32).
For the rest of Intel’s hardware, we’re seeing the slow demise of 11th Generation Rocket Lake. Despite some big gainers (i5-11600K up 38 places), the 10th Generation hardware has almost double the number of entrants in the list, and even 9th Gen hardware has more CPUs in the top 50. It looks like a number of users are happy to invest in a cheaper Intel ecosystem or upgrade their mid-range 9th generation platforms for something more agreeable, and stay in the LGA115x form factor where Z series motherboards are cheaper and B-series motherboards are around. The 10th generation Comet Lake has four processors in the top 20, even if prices are actually slightly worse month on month. By comparison, 11th Generation hardware is 5-10% cheaper across the board. We might see a small balance shift here as we go through the holiday season.
As for banger deals, it’s going to be interesting to look day-to-day over the next couple of weeks in case someone offers an extra $50 here or there, or bundles in a good cooler. I will say this though – the first generation Threadripper 1900X (8-core) appears back on our list at #36 for $150. That’s higher than most of the Rocket Lake processors. Perhaps the recent news about mining on AMD CPUs is also enticing some older Threadripper action.
Best CPUs for Gaming Holiday 2021
Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we’ve got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews.
|AnandTech Gaming CPU Recommendations
(Prices correct at time of writing)
|The Future Proof Smart Money||AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (8C)
Intel Core i5-12600K (6+4C)
|The Smart-Budget Option for Today||AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (6C)||$240|
|Budget-No-Object||Intel Core i9-12900KF||$662|
|For Everything Else||Get a Console|
|On The Horizon||AMD V-Cache
Intel Alchemist (GPU News!)
AMD Zen 4 / Intel Raptor Lake
|To see our Best CPUs for Workstations Guide, follow this link:
The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well.
You can find benchmark results of all of our CPUs tested in our benchmark database:
The Future Proof Smart Money
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (8-core, $342)
Intel Core i5-12600K (6+4core, $320)
Regardless of the current graphics situation right now, a significant question on all system builders’ minds is if what they buy will last into the future, whether that’s gaming at 1080p or all the way up to 4K with high refresh rates. The best thing about the gaming market is that as you push higher and higher resolutions, the CPU matters less and less, but ultimately it still matters enough to get some minimum performance.
There is also often a discussion about how many cores make sense for gaming – depending on who you talk to, it’s either 4-core, 6-core, or 8-core, or even more, but as always the answer is not always as clear cut as that. Is that processor being suggested meant to only cater for this year, or next as well? Both what you’re playing now and predicting the requirements of future games is tough.
Most modern games can easily chew through four cores, and take advantage of six. When we’re getting up to that level, it also matters about single core performance too, and so trying to build in some headroom with what you can buy today obviously matters. But when buying, you also have to think about what’s coming up, and if you’re planning to upgrade or completely change systems. Something future proof has to work today, tomorrow, but also give options when tomorrow comes.
This is why we’re recommending two options here. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is a great processor that will power your workloads today, using fast Zen 3 cores, and offers an AM4 system that can be upgraded to a 16-core 5950X, or later down the line when AMD announces the V-cache processors on AM4, those as well. You can buy most of the hardware you need today, for that eventual end-game.
It has eight high-performance Zen 3 cores, peaking around 4.7 GHz and all-core around 4.3 GHz depending on your cooling and settings. It has more than enough cores for today’s games, some headroom for the future, and the single-core performance is mighty fast. Users looking for some more grunt for non-gaming workloads that can chew through cores can spend an extra $160 and get an extra four cores, especially if they want to couple gaming with streaming on the same system, however for most the Ryzen 7 5800X is a good spot for a future-proof system. There is also some room for minor overclocking, if the lifespan needs a little more.
Alternatively, DDR5 is just around the corner. Intel’s launch of the 12th Generation Alder Lake processors shows some impressive gains when using those efficiency cores and performance cores together, along with a nice bump in raw single core performance which lots of games love – especially those that are CPU bound or driving higher refresh rates. Something like the Core i5-12600K we’re recommending today, with six performance cores and four efficiency cores, will go great with gaming but also put the user in the driving seat for the 2023 processor launches. If you’re able to invest in the LGA1700 and DDR5 ecosystem today, those will all be ready to drop in Intel’s next generation hardware (on the relatively safe assumption that Raptor Lake will be socket compatible and Intel historically supports two generations per socket). The only issue here is that Z690 and DDR5 is a bit of an upfront outlay, and some users might want to wait until prices come down. Heading for DDR4, as our review showed, does stunt some of the performance benefits of Alder Lake. DDR4 will be around a while, but as far as new generations of hardware are concerned, it is now end of life, hence we recommend DDR5 in this instance. DDR5 price parity with DDR4 isn’t expected for another couple of years (2H 2023), so bear that in mind if you end up looking at 12th Gen + DDR4.
The Smart Options for Today
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (6C/12T, $240, with Vega Graphics)
If the budget doesn’t stretch as far as the $300 processor suggested, then stepping back to something more comfortable for today’s workloads brings us to the Ryzen 5 5600G, currently available for $240. Featuring six of AMD’s high performing Zen 3 cores, this is one of AMD’s processors with integrated graphics, and it surprises me that these are so high on the best seller list. But it also doesn’t surprise me, as these processors are a great way to get into a gaming system with a crazy GPU market right now. Users that want something fast and to play some easy games on without a GPU, but still have the trajectory to put in a beefy card or upgrade on the line, then the 5600G is a good entry point. It also comes with its own cooler, and it’s fairly good for this sort of APU, so no worries there.
The benefit the Ryzen 5 brings to a system and the reason why it gets a recommend here is that AM4 is so abundant right now. Compared to an Intel offering, which requires good cooling and a high-end motherboard to get the most out of it, pairing a Ryzen 5 5600G with a B550 around $100 and 16/32 GB of memory, an SSD, and you’re almost there for something that will run for years or look good with a big GPU in it later on. Make sure you spec out the power supply for that GPU though.
The Budget-No-Object Gaming CPU
Intel Core i9-12900KF (8+8c/24T, $662)
Regardless of your personal budget, there is always going to be another user with $6k burning a hole in their pocket ready to splash out on the best system available. At this price point there’s already a big GPU purchase coming, and so the rest of the system has to match, and it has to be the best. Some users might be inclined to go down the high-end desktop route, which is great if you need the PCIe lanes, but the launch of Intel’s Alder Lake has completely changed our recommendation here. What was the Ryzen 9 has now turned into the Core i9, simply because it offers the best gaming performance, and assuming your budget goes to DDR5 and a massive GPU with a high-refresh rate monitor, the Core i9 is the only way to go. We’re technically recommending the KF based on pricing today, although that might be subject to change.
With 8 performance cores running peak at nearly 5 GHz sustained, 5.2 GHz single core, and 8 efficiency cores which kick in for background tasks, as long as you can deal with the 220W-260W all core, Intel’s 12th Gen offers the best gaming performance at high refresh rates right now. When it comes to a workload-oriented setup, then in a lot of circumstances having the 12 or 16 performance cores on the AMD Ryzen might be better, although this is why Intel wants future products with efficiency cores – streaming and other features can run on those, while the performance cores focus on the heavy lifting.
For Everything Else
Upgrade what you have, or get a console, if you can
Unfortunately the market is still in shambles when it comes to graphics. Couple the manufacturing issues with the most recent shipping issues, and it’s hard to tell just how many graphics cards are currently sitting in container ships off the coast of California. Users are either holding onto their graphics cards and upgrading everything around them, or are looking to pre-built machines that offer reasonable value to which this guide would be useless anyway.
But if you already have a machine, that’s in reasonable shape, it might be cheaper to hold on to what you have, for now. For those with an older Haswell or Skylake system, perhaps going for the better CPU and selling on your old one is a minor enough upgrade to make a system feel better, and if that nets some extra performance, that could translate into your gaming. It won’t be earth-shattering, but there’s no point plumbing for a new LGA1200 or AM4 system right now only to be left with a mid-range CPU/GPU combination, especially for anyone looking to build brand new for under $1000. A good $1000 system is likely to end up with an 8-core Ryzen APU and no discrete graphics, while waiting for another $1000 for that graphics card.
For everyone else, the days of buying $600 gaming systems is pretty much gone. In this instance, if you can find a console, that’s our recommendation. Until this global situation with the semiconductor shortages, raw material prices, and shipping issues solves itself, we might never return to $600 gaming systems ever again, especially as developers want to put more and more features into their titles.
On The Horizon: Alder Lake and AMD V-Cache
Intel’s launch of Alder Lake has book-ended the year when it comes to end-user desktop processors. Off the back of AMD Zen 3 at the end of 2020, in March Intel showcased the retrofitted 11th Generation Rocket Lake. In August we saw AMD’s Zen 3 APUs, only two models, hit the shelves. Then at the end in November, Intel brings to market its 12th Generation Alder Lake – while this was only the K/KF hardware, it marks the first time in a long while that Intel has launched two generations in the same year (I’m not counting Broadwell/Skylake; that was a joke at the time). As a result, we need to look forward to 2022. We already have some interesting tidbits of information indicating that it’s going to be a fun processor year as we look at new microarchitectures and new packaging.
To start, we’re expecting as early as CES 2022 in January for AMD to announce its consumer Ryzen processors built on Zen 3 cores with V-cache enabled. We were teased its new V-Cache technology back at Computex — this stacked silicon technique allows AMD to add 64 MB of L3 cache per chiplet, allowing for a total of 192 MB on a ‘Ryzen 9 6950X’ equivalent. AMD stated that production would start in Q4 this year, which would usually lead to a Q1 launch. We expect these to be AM4 socket compatible, and AMD is showcasing a ~15% increase in gaming performance.
Shortly thereafter, while not a CPU, in the gaming world we’re expecting Intel’s discrete graphics card to come to market in the first few months of the year. Built on TSMC’s N6 process, a number of analysts are expecting Alchemist to help alleviate some of the constraints around the pricing and availability of hardware in the graphics market. It will be interesting to see how the hardware performs, where it will be priced, and in what quantities Intel and partners will create. Some are suggesting that to generate market share, the first hardware might cut in pricing just to get it into the hands of users. Intel does have sufficient capital to make it happen if it wants.
Fast forward through most of the year, and come the end of 2022, both Intel and AMD are expected to bring new generations of processors into the market.
AMD has already confirmed that Zen 4 will be available by the end of 2022, and we’ve seen a small glimpse of Zen 4 at AMD’s Data Center event when it disclosed slightly more information about a 96-core EPYC Zen 4 processor ‘Genoa’ and 128-core EPYC Zen 4c processor ‘Bergamo’, coming in late 2022/early 2023 respectively. We’re also expecting it to come to Ryzen by the end of the year, with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, built on TSMC N5 with a new IO die, although estimates still put it as a 16-core processor, unless AMD is able to put three chiplets in there, taking another 50% of the silicon budget with it.
On Intel’s side, early in 2022 we should see the rest of the Alder Lake desktop family (Non-K, Core i3, Celeron) come to market, as well as notebook processors. Reports and rumors have been surfacing that an update to Alder Lake, called Raptor Lake, will be seen by the end of 2022. We’re not expecting new cores under the hood, however an optimized design, new power delivery, and some suggestions that Intel is going to focus on cache as well. To date all expectations are that Raptor Lake will still be built on Intel 7 and be a monolithic CPU with the same core counts as Alder Lake, or maybe more efficiency cores, but still within the same LGA1700 socket. It’s all still very unconfirmed from primary sources right now, although some direct Intel details have been spotted.
The AnandTech CPU Coverage
Our big CPU reviews for the last 12 months have covered all the launches so far, and are well worth a read.
Choose the Best Intel and AMD CPUs for Gaming [2022 Update]
- Partition Wizard
- Partition Manager
- Choose the Best Intel and AMD CPUs for Gaming [2022 Update]
By Linda |
Do you want to choose the best CPU for gaming? This post from MiniTool Partition Wizard tells you what you should pay attention to when you choose a gaming CPU and lists the best performance and budget Intel/AMD CPUs for you.
The Importance of CPU for Gaming
As we all know, the CPU is very important for gaming. Most games offer you high, middle, and low configuration options. The high configuration will bring you a fuller, more realistic experience and a finer level of detail.
However, to enable these high-end settings, you need to have good hardware configuration, especially CPU and GPU. The settings related to pictures require a good CPU while the settings related to calculations like drawing distance, cloth simulation, destruction physics, and so on require a good CPU.
Some games directly abandon the picture quality and mainly require a good CPU. These games are mostly strategy and sandbox games.
CPU VS GPU: What’s the Difference Between Them? A Guide for You!
How to Choose the Best CPU for Gaming
When you choose the best CPU for gaming, you need to take the following factors into consideration.
Factor 1. Performance
A high-performance CPU will bring a smooth gaming experience. Fortunately, some websites have tested most CPUs and ranked them for you. For reliability, I recommend you refer to the CPU hierarchy made by Tom’s Hardware.
In addition, when you choose a CPU for gaming, you need to pay attention to the core number and clock speed.
- Core Number: The more cores the processor has, the more tasks a computer can do at once. According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: April 2022, most gamers use CPUs with 6 or 4 physical cores.
- Clock Speed: Higher clock speed means tasks instructed by the CPU can be completed faster, giving you a seamless experience while reducing the wait time to connect to apps. In general, the clock speed is more important than the core number for gaming, and clock speeds of 3.5 GHz to 4.0 GHz are generally considered ideal for gaming.
Factor 2. Compatibility
When it comes to compatibility, I mean Intel vs AMD CPUs. To seize more market shares, Windows and Intel have been working closely together. Most games are running on Wintel PCs (Windows PCs with Intel CPUs).
Therefore, when it comes to compatibility with Windows and games, Intel CPUs are better than AMD CPUs.
Factor 3. Budget
Undoubtedly, the higher the CPU performance, the higher the price. If your budget is limited, you need to sacrifice some performance.
In addition, the Intel CPUs are generally more expensive than AMD CPUs when they have the almost same performance. If your budget is limited, to get better performance, I recommend you choose AMD CPUs.
Best Gaming CPUs
The best gaming CPU is usually the CPU with the fastest chip and the most cores in your price range. You can refer to the following items:
- Intel Core i9-12900K (the performance best Intel CPU for gaming)
- AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (the performance best AMD CPU for gaming)
- Intel Core i5-12400 (the budget best Intel CPU for gaming)
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (the budget best AMD CPU for gaming)
If you think the Intel Core i5-12400 and the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X are still expensive, you can consider the entry-level gaming CPU AMD Ryzen 5 5600G or other better CPUs.
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Intel 12th gen processors launching globally today, you can read our guide to the best 12th gen Intel processors, and also check out our guide to Z690 motherboards and DDR5 RAM .
If you’re looking for the best 12th Gen Intel processor for your needs, look no further. The release date for Intel 12th gen processors is coming soon for us, and we’ve compiled a list of the best Alder Lake processors for every type of consumer with all the information currently available: budget, gaming performance, and more. and workstation performance.
Please be aware that 12th generation Intel processors were developed with Windows 11 and require the new Windows operating system to get the most out of their performance. Also keep in mind that if you’re considering buying an overclockable 12th Gen Intel processor for just this purpose, you’ll need to buy a Z690 motherboard to unlock this feature.
Be sure to review the «Things to Look for When Buying an Intel 12th Generation Processor» section below for more information on the above and other considerations to consider before purchasing an Alder Lake processor.
12th Gen Intel Gaming Performance
Although Intel has faced stiff competition from AMD for the title of best gaming processor lately, they have traditionally managed to dominate this area due to the superior overclocking potential of their processors. The latest leaks have shown that Intel may have managed to regain its dominance in gaming performance, though we’ll have to wait for more thorough independent testing after the 12th Gen release date to find out more.
12th Gen Intel Workstation Performance
Early signs of leaked performance data seem to indicate that the flagship 12900K processor has significantly improved multi-core performance, an area AMD has dominated for years, at least in more expensive SKUs. The AMD Ryzen 5950X offers a multi-core middleman between flagship gaming processors and professional-grade workstation/server processors like AMD Threadrippers and Intel Xeons, and it looks like Intel may be trying to compete at that level with Intel Core right now. i9-12900.
Table of Contents
- Best 12th Gen Intel Processor at a Glance
- 1. Most Powerful 12th Gen Processor
- 2. Best Choice 12th Gen CPU for Enthusiast Gamers
- 4. Reliable mid-range gaming processor with overclockability
- What to look for when buying an Intel 12th gen processor
- CPU cores and threads
- What is the big.LITTLE architecture? What are P and E cores?
- Processor clock speed
- What does K mean for Intel processors?
- Intel K vs. KF: What does F mean for Intel processors?
- What type of 12th generation socket?
- Best 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake Processors
- 1. Most Powerful 12th Gen Processor
- 2. Best Choice 12th Gen CPU for Enthusiast Gamers
- 3. Best 12th gen CPU for gaming and light workstations
- 4. Reliable mid-range gaming processor with overclockability
3. CPU 9002 12th gen for gaming and light workstations
Best 12th gen Intel processor at a glance
1. Most powerful processor 12th Gen
Intel Core i9-12900K
Editor Rating — 4.9/5 brand; Intel Core i9-12900K is our top choice for those who can afford it. Creme de la crème when it comes to both gaming and multi-core heavy workflows.
2. Best Choice 12th Gen CPU for Enthusiast Gamers
Intel Core i7-12700KF
Editor Rating — 4.8/ 5
Intel0 Core i7-127 can’t get the most powerful Intel0 Core i7-127 processor award 12th generation, but we recommend it to most gamers. This version of the KF Intel Core i7-12700 offers overclocking enthusiast gamers who want to get the most out of their games, but saves money by going without an iGPU, which means it’s listed for the same MSRP as the nearest AMD processor it’s on. aimed. to surpass.
3. Best 12th gen CPU for gaming and light workstations
Intel Core i7-12700K
Editor Rating — 4.8/ 5
Intel Core i7-12700K offers both overclocking capabilities an integrated GPU for a little more money than the Intel Core i7-12700KF, but you can use it as a backup to your dedicated graphics card and to support certain workstation processes that require one. Like the Intel Core i7-12700KF, it will deliver a hefty amount of power that should be more than enough for most gamers.
4. Reliable mid-range gaming processor with overclockability
Intel Core i5-12600KF
Editor’s rating — 4.7/ 5
the cheapest 12th gen processor at the time of writing, the Intel Core i5-12600KF is the option we recommend if you want the cheapest Alder Lake processor right now and can’t wait for the Intel Core i5-12600 or the supposed Intel Core i5 -12400 later in 2022.
What to Look for When Buying an Intel 12th Generation Processor
Before deciding which Intel Alder Lake processor is best for you, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the key factors that determine processor performance and various other features , which are key to understanding how it will work, so how best to choose the one that suits your needs. Even if you’re already familiar with how processors work, we suggest you take a quick look at the following points to refresh yourself.
CPU cores and threads
One of the most important characteristics of a CPU is the number of cores and threads. The core is the physical processor inside the CPU, which can be seen on the chip itself. On the other hand, a thread is a virtual core (essentially a section of the physical core) designed to help the processor perform multiple tasks.
Generally speaking, more cores are important for workstation tasks such as rendering, 3D modeling, and other things that require multiple calculations to be processed simultaneously. If you’re streaming while playing on the same device, it can also help you run both processes efficiently at the same time. Ultimately, this is useful for any kind of multitasking on your PC. If you’re just a gamer with no interest in streaming, you can usually get by with fewer cores if the clock speed is high enough (see below for an explanation of clock speed).
There is a minimum number of cores required to play the most demanding games at the highest settings. The following recommendations are generally recommended when buying a new processor:
- 4 cores — general use, light browsing and very light gaming
- 8 cores — Decent for gaming, moderate multitasking and all general purposes
- 12 cores — minimum requirement for gaming enthusiasts who want to run the latest games at the highest settings.
- 16 Cores+ — Handles just about anything you can throw at it. Very well suited for rendering, multitasking and other CPU-intensive processes, as well as gaming.
What is the big.LITTLE architecture? What are P and E cores?
The Big/Little architecture, also stylized as the big.LITTLE architecture or in various other forms, is a CPU architecture designed by ARM Holdings to maximize the efficiency of computer processors that is used in the Intel Alder Lake processors. In layman’s terms, there are two distinct types of cores in a CPU: P or performance cores (large) and E or efficiency cores (small). P-cores typically have two threads per core, while E-cores typically only have one thread.
P-cores are more powerful and better at heavy processing tasks (such as games), while E-cores deal with smaller, simpler, and faster processes, freeing up P-cores to deal with what they can do. The electronic cores are more power efficient and take up less space on silicon, making this structure advantageous, and the architecture around the cores is designed to most efficiently assign tasks to the cores best suited for solving them.
The Alder Lake processor architecture was designed with Windows 11 in mind, and early testing has shown that the performance of 12th Gen big.LITTLE processors is significantly improved in Windows 11 as the kernel scheduler can allocate resources much better. between the main types.
Processor clock speed
Next is clock speed, which is the most important factor for gaming performance. Clock speed (or sometimes cycle rate) refers to how many cycles the core will execute every second. This is the physical speed of your processor and is measured in gigahertz (GHz), that is, in millions of cycles. So, a 3.6 GHz processor performs 3.6 million cycles per second.
Many modern processors have two separate clock speeds, base and boost. This means that a particular processor can automatically overclock its core(s) to that particular speed for optimal performance. This usually occurs in high CPU usage scenarios such as gaming.
Another factor to consider when considering clock speed is the overclocking that only certain processors are capable of (and the same goes for the motherboards they pair with). This increases the stock clock speed, usually by changing settings in the PC’s BIOS, but extra care should be taken when overclocking, as it comes with certain risks.
Whether you’re gaming or doing intensive work, you always want the highest clock speed your budget can afford.
What does K mean for Intel processors?
The «K» at the end of an Intel processor model means it can be overclocked. If the processor does not have the letter K at the end of the model name, overclocking is not possible. So, for example, take 12900 and 12900K, these two processors will be very similar, except for the fact that 10900K can be overclocked, while 10900 cannot.
For Intel 12th generation processors, if you buy a K series processor, you will definitely need to pair it with the Z69 motherboard0 because they are the only ones that support overclocking; you will still be able to use the CPU with other 12th gen motherboards, but the extra money you pay for the K model will be wasted.
Intel K vs. KF: What does F mean for Intel processors?
An «F» at the end of an Intel processor model name indicates that it does not have an integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) built into the processor. If you have a dedicated graphics card, like most gamers or people interested in buying a powerful processor, you technically don’t need the integrated graphics that an iGPU provides, so you can save some money by buying the cheaper F variant. However, integrated graphics are useful have as a backup in case your primary graphics card fails or if you’re between updates. In addition, we advise anyone who will be using their PC for workstation applications, especially within the Adobe suite, to avoid Intel F processors as some of these software products rely on integrated graphics to operate. Finally, integrated graphics will consume much less energy than a dedicated graphics card, so if you’re interested in limiting power consumption when you’re not gaming, an iGPU you can switch to is a good thing.
What type of 12th generation socket?
All Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake processors use the LGA 1700 socket type, which follows Intel’s tradition of introducing a new socket type with every generation. For those who don’t know, a socket is a mounting point on the motherboard that holds the processor in place. This is one of the most important factors when connecting a processor to a motherboard, since each socket is unique and does not support other types, so make sure you have a match!
Best 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake Processors
Most Powerful 12th Gen Processor
Intel Core i9-12900K
- Total cores/threads — 16/24
- P-cores — 8
- E-cores — 8
- Socket — LGA 1700
- Overclockable — yes
than before) aimed at really competing with AMD for the crown of the best gaming processor. According to Intel press releases (confirmed by some early leaks) Intel Core i9The -12900K performs 0-30% better than the Ryzen 9 5950X in games but at a very reasonable $589 MSRP compared to the slightly cheaper AMD Ryzen 9 5900X at $549 and the $800 5950X. 36% cheaper and up to 30% more performance sounds good to us if these numbers are to be believed. The i9-12900KF model (no integrated graphics) promises to be $25 cheaper, although we personally will spend a little more and choose the iGPU option solely for its use in GPU failure scenarios.
Note that these performance figures are based on the stock 5.3GHz boost clock that the Intel Core i9-12900K ships with in the box (compared to the 5950X at 4. 9GHz and the 5900X at 4.8GHz ). One area where Intel processors have traditionally excelled is overclocking, so this could give the i9-12900K an even bigger edge over the competition when paired with a Z690 motherboard.
It also seems that with the Intel Core i9-12900K, the blue team is aiming not only to try and beat AMD in gaming, but to take them on in multi-core workstation tasks, which has traditionally been an area AMD has dominated. Number of cores and threads for 12900K has doubled the 11900K to 16/24, meaning it matches the AMD Ryzen 5950X in terms of core count (with fewer threads due to half of those cores being «small» E-cores). Of course, these competing processors have a completely different architecture, AMD Ryzen 9 has a smaller 7nm process size compared to 10nm Alder Lake processors, so there is no way to know how it actually works until extensive testing is done.
Intel’s previous generation flagship had its L3 cache reduced to 16MB, but recent news indicates the 12900K will ship with a whopping 30MB L3 cache, 14MB L2 cache, and 1. 4MB cache L1. How this affects actual performance in games and workstations remains to be seen, especially as we don’t know how the kernel scheduler in the OS will interact with the large and small 12th gen CPU architectures in regards to caching: perhaps it will whether to distribute it differently between the main types? Overall, however, this would mean that the CPU might be better able to handle many simultaneous, multi-tasking workloads, which could mean smoother performance on a workstation as opposed to just heavy processing like gaming.
All in all, the Intel Core i9-12900K becomes the most powerful gaming processor on the market, not just the best of Intel’s 12th Gen lineup.
2. Best Choice 12th Gen CPU for Enthusiast Gamers
Intel Core i7-12700KF
Hello everyone! Today’s review will focus on the best processors for gaming! I picked some cool options from both the Intel and AMD camps! Of course, in the TOP there will be models for more budget assemblies and stones for the most powerful gaming systems!