One of the best things about the CPU war between Intel and AMD is how it’s encouraging both companies to really up their games, and a new benchmark leak for Intel’s upcoming Core i9-12900K 12th generation Alder Lake processer suggests Team Blue could be on to a winner.
The benchmarks, which were posted on Twitter (see below) and reported by Toms Hardware, apparently show the Intel Core i9-12900K, paired with an Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card, quite comprehensively beating the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, AMD’s flagship consumer processor that will be the i9’s chief competitor, which is paired with an AMD Radeon RX 5700XT GPU.
A 12900K (at higher preset) + 3080 obliterating a 5950X + 5700XT. https://t.co/vDxKzxzbnK pic.twitter.com/a3lx1pMQb7September 20, 2021
From this screenshot, it shows the Intel Core i9-12900K system scoring a lot higher than the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. In other results posted online for the Ashes of The Singularity benchmark running at 1440p resolution, where both the Intel Core i9-12900K and AMD Ryzen 9 5950X were paired with an RTX 3080 GPU, the Intel setup scored 14,000, whereas the AMD setup scored 10,100 – a difference of around 38.6%.
That’s a pretty huge difference in performance, and if the results are real (which is a big ‘if’ at the moment, as these results are for a CPU that’s not been released, and have not been verified), it means the Intel Core i9-12900K could crush the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X without breaking a sweat – which is good news for Intel, and bad news for AMD.
A pattern emerges
This isn’t the first time leaked benchmarks have shown the Intel Core i9-12900K besting the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, with Geekbench results also pointing to a hefty performance advantage for Intel’s Alder Lake chip.
Another Twitter user also pointed out another Ashes of The Singularity benchmark leak that showed the Intel Core i9-12900K with an RTX 3080 GPU beating the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X with an RTX 3090 GPU. This is particularly interesting at it shows that even with the advantage of a much more powerful GPU, the AMD chip was unable to beat the Intel Core i9-12900K.
A 12900K (at higher preset) + 3080 obliterating a 5950X + 3090. #SiliconGang https://t.co/75BI7u0DIHSeptember 20, 2021
A clear pattern is emerging, then, of the Intel Core i9-12900K easily outperforming the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, which could give Intel a big boost in many people’s estimations, as AMD has recently been the flavor of the month for many people thanks to its popular Ryzen 5000 series of processors.
Analysis: Game over for AMD? Not quite
If these benchmarks are accurate, then Intel could have a real hit on its hands with the Intel Core i9-12900K, and the rest of the upcoming Alder Lake lineup, and it could mean it once again has the best performing CPU for gamers.
This is the kind of positive news Intel needs, as it has been losing both market share and mindshare to AMD, after its rival had a series of well-received launches.
While this points to a resurgent Intel, it’s not all over for AMD just yet. Pricing will be key to Alder Lake’s success, and if Intel makes its CPUs too expensive, it could eliminate any potential performance benefits for many people – and AMD has traditionally been stronger when it comes to its price versus performance offering.
A recent price leak pointed to the Intel Core i9-12900K costing $610 (about £440, AU$830), which is certainly pricey for a CPU, and it’s an increase on the $549 (about £396, AU$748) suggested price for the Core i9-11900K it's replacing.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, meanwhile, launched at $799 (around £620, AU$1,100), which is far higher. However, as it’s been out for a while, there have been some price cuts, though the global chip shortage and pent-up demand have meant prices have fallen slower than usual.
Those same factors could also mean that when the Intel Core i9-12900K launches, it will actually sell for higher than the price suggested in the recent leak.
This may lead to a situation where the Intel Core i9-12900K and AMD Ryzen 9 5950X will cost around the same amount. If that happens, then thanks to the performance advantage that the leaks are pointing to, Intel could really be putting the pressure on AMD with Alder Lake.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.