Intel Alder Lake leak shows retail boxes – with a surprise for Core i9-12900K buyers

Intel Alder Lake leaked image purportedly of retail box
(Image credit: VideoCardz)

Intel’s Alder Lake processors have been spotted and pics of the purported product boxes shared online, with the CPUs also going on sale via the black market in China.

The juicy bit with this latest leakage, however, is those retail boxes, with the obvious caveat that we can’t take it for granted that these are genuine pics – although they look convincing enough, it has to be said.

VideoCardz shared the images of Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 boxes for the 12th-gen processors, and they look neat and tidy, but nothing particularly special; until you get to the next-gen flagship, that is.

Intel’s Core i9-12900K apparently comes in a large box packaged with a mock silicon wafer in all its golden circular glory, which we have to say, looks quite cool.

Intel Alder Lake leaked image purportedly of retail boxes

(Image credit: VideoCardz)

What’s also interesting here is that the images of the Alder Lake range lack a Core i3 box, and that could align with the rumor that these low-end chips are coming later down the line, and may not be arriving with the initial 12th-gen launch supposedly on November 4.

As mentioned at the outset, the other Alder Lake spillage today is that VideoCardz also reports that 2nd-generation engineering samples (purportedly the Core i9-12900K) are being sold on the Taobao second-hand market in China (as originally spotted by @yuuki_ans on Twitter).

These chips are likely to be very flaky, of course, as they’re effectively unfinished products (just test chips, with slower clock speeds to boot), so buyers – who are apparently forking out to the tune of $700 (around £520, AU$970) – will have to take their chances.

You may recall that early Alder Lake sample chips have supposedly been out there to purchase in China since July, but those transaction were on closed (not public) forums, which is the main difference here. That and the fact that these are much more recent engineering samples, so closer to the final product, of course.

Analysis: Should 12th-gen CPUs be renamed Alder Leak?

Intel’s Alder Lake processors might just be the chip giant’s leakiest CPU release ever, given that we’ve already had spilled pricing details, alongside plenty of benchmarks, a supposed firm launch date – and specs, of course, as ever – and now this sighting of the retail boxes, which as mentioned, looks genuine enough.

We think the wafer inclusion with the 12900K package is a nice touch, but that’s likely to be a subjective thing. Doubtless others will feel it’s gimmickry that is wholly unnecessary, and/or a waste of packaging resources. (Though if it’s not going on your bedroom wall, you could always reuse it maybe as a frisbee, or a large coaster).

Whether you like the idea or not, it’s certainly different, and will make the 12900K stand out from the CPU crowd.

As for the Alder Lake engineering samples available on the Chinese black market, seeing as the processors launch in a month anyway – or should do, and even if that’s wrong, it likely won’t be much further out than the rumored launch date of November 4 – it’s difficult to see why you wouldn’t wait for a finished product at this point. Particularly given that you’ll need an Alder Lake compatible motherboard, and those aren’t available on the black market.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).