Intel Core i9-12900K benchmark could be most worrying Alder Lake leak for AMD yet

Intel i9-11900K Processor Shown Back and Front
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Core i9-12900K has been sighted in another leaked Alder Lake benchmark, and this one could be a real worry for AMD.

Prolific hardware leaker Tum_Apisak discovered the Geekbench 5 result and posted it on Twitter (as spotted by VideoCardz).

The Core i9-12900K manages to record a single-core result of 1,893, with a score of 17,299 for multi-core. Remember, this is an 8-core CPU with a further 8 power-efficient cores (to make 24-threads in total). The base clock is read as 3.2GHz, but of course this is a pre-release sample chip, so take that with caution – indeed, the boost clock isn’t even properly recorded here (note that clocks will be different between the two types of cores, but the full-power ones are expected to Turbo to 5.3GHz or thereabouts).

If we compare those scores with the current flagship Core i9-11900K for Rocket Lake, we see that the Alder Lake successor is a touch faster in single-core (2%) but hugely quicker when it comes to multi-core – to the tune of 57%.

On the AMD front, comparing to the Ryzen 9 5950X, the 12900K comfortably outdoes Team Red’s flagship by 12%, and beats it in multi-core, albeit by a small margin of 3.5%.

Analysis: Sleepless nights for AMD engineers?

Naturally, we must be careful around any leaks, so engage skeptical mode as ever with the rumor mill, but taking this at face value, it looks to be an impressive showing for an Intel sample chip.

What’s particularly interesting here is that the benchmark was run on a PC test platform with Windows 11 Pro installed, so this means the efforts of Microsoft’s fine-tuning of its incoming OS should be visible here – with Alder Lake’s built-in hardware scheduler (Thread Director) working in tandem with Windows 11’s thread scheduler, in theory.

That could’ve helped lift the numbers, and remember, this is a sample chip, so the finalized Core i9-12900K should be even faster – plus the release version of Windows 11 should be better tuned for Alder Lake, too. Meaning that the hardware and software synergy here might lead to even more impressive results when the new CPUs (and operating system) are launched later in 2021.

It’s a tantalizing prospect, and one that might well worry AMD, especially given that this isn’t the first seriously promising leaked benchmark for the Alder Lake flagship. We also witnessed the 12900K comfortably getting the better of the Ryzen 5950X in Cinebench R20, winning by 26% in single-core, and 11% in multi-core.

Obviously, we shouldn’t get carried away around leaks, though, but thus far they appear to be building a convincing picture of a big step forward for Intel – which ultimately will be great for the overall level of competition within the desktop CPU sphere.

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).