Intel Alder Lake benchmark gives first look at impressive Core i9-12900 performance

The top and bottom of an engineering sample of an Intel Alder Lake processor
(Image credit: harukaze5719)

A recently uploaded benchmark on an engineering sample of an Intel Alder Lake Core i9-12900 non-K processor is giving us our first look at the new, lower-powered processor – and the results look pretty impressive.

The benchmark showed up on UserBenchmark, apparently from an engineer in Taiwan who might have forgotten to disconnect their system from the internet to prevent benchmarks from being uploaded to the benchmark's database server.

According to the benchmark result, the i9-12900 non-K, which has a reduced TDP of 65W from the Core i9-12900K's 125W TDP, scored 114% overall, with a single-core score of 214 and a 2,510 in its multithread test.

For comparison sake, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X scores an average of 160 and 2,349 in the single-core test and the multithreaded test, respectively.

The system being used for the benchmark could also be throttling the performance of the processor, as VideoCardz notes, so we shouldn't take this as a final performance indicator, and as with any leaks or online benchmarks, we can't say for certain until we get the hardware in ourselves to test, so we advise some healthy skepticism.

Assuming the benchmark is legit though, the Intel Core i9-12900 was running on an ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard with a single module of DDR5 RAM plugged into a 1280x1024 display so not exactly a battle station by any means, but still running on kind of hardware it's going to be working with out in the world when everything is released.

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We also might be getting our first real look at an actual Alder Lake chip too, thanks to Twitter leaker harukaze5719. In a photo they posted to Twitter, an Intel engineering sample with the label QY5U, which indicates it is a qualification version of the Core i9-12900KF. 

There isn't much more info to go along with the photo, but it's nice to actually get to see some of these chips as we get closer to the anticipated late October launch.

Analysis: Don't blow this, Intel

As we get closer to the launch of Intel Alder Lake, we're getting more and more leaks and benchmarks popping up in online databases after testers forget to uncheck the "Upload Benchmark?" box in their toolbox's settings.

The past few weeks have been pretty positive for Intel, which by its own CEO's admission has had a rough couple of years trying to keep up with AMD. Now, it seems, Intel might have a chance to really reclaim its crown as the reigning silicon monarch if Alder Lake turns out to be as good as some of these early benchmarks suggest.

If Intel is able to significantly outperform AMD's latest Ryzen Zen 3 processors heading into 2022, Team Blue might have the entire enthusiast segment to itself as AMD continues to work on its Zen 4 processor series, which it is expected to launch in mid to late 2022. 

That's a long time to win back some disaffected builders who were lured away by AMD in the past few years, especially with PCIe 4.0 and DDR5, while Zen 4 isn't even confirmed to fully support PCIe 4.0 yet.

For better or for worse, it's looking increasingly like Intel could be in the driver's seat in 2022, and they really could use a win. It's Intel's lead to lose.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).