Intel Core i9-12900KS could be about to go on sale... with a wallet-destroying price

Intel Alder Lake 12900K shown in motherboard
(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s Core i9-12900KS, the incoming pepped-up version of Intel’s Alder Lake flagship, was spotted on sale at a big US retailer, before the product listing got yanked down – but the price Newegg briefly listed for the CPU is (perhaps predictably) expensive.

The price tag was a hefty $799.99 direct from Newegg (around £610, AU$1,070), although obviously we can’t take it as read that this will be the correct price, given that the listing is no longer there (we’ll discuss that in more depth later).

As well as pricing we also got further spec details on this CPU, as VideoCardz, which spotted this, reports. The maximum boost of the Core i9-12900KS is 5.5GHz (which we already knew), with a base clock of 3.4GHz. Those are the performance cores, with the efficiency cores running at 2.5GHz and boost to 4GHz.

So, compared to the vanilla 12900K, the KS version – which is a higher-binned, or better performing variant – runs 100MHz faster with the efficiency cores across the board, and has 200MHz faster base clocks with the performance cores, plus 300MHz extra boost.

Analysis: Comparing possible pricing to the 12900K and AMD Ryzen rivals

This is an expensive processor, then, if that pricing is correct. Of course, there’s a chance that the price tag could be a placeholder, but there are several reasons why that doesn’t seem likely.

Firstly, we know that the Core i9-12900KS is about to launch imminently, as Intel has told us the chip should be out before the end of March, meaning it’ll theoretically be on sale this week or next. Plus we’ve seen one report of somebody actually buying one of these new flagship CPUs already, with a retailer jumping the gun and selling it early.

The very fact that Newegg published this listing (briefly) is an indication that a launch is about to happen, as it seems the US retailer must have jumped the gun also, but as a high-profile operation it’s unlikely to be far off the mark (you would hope – indeed, there’s a distinct possibility we could see the Core i9-12900KS go on sale later today).

Furthermore, the $800 asking price does line up with what we’ve already heard on the grapevine about the 12900KS weighing in as pricey, and tipping the scales at closing on $800.

We should stress at this point that the Newegg listing is far from any confirmation of intended pricing (which, remember, is likely to be above Intel’s recommend pricing anyway). But it doesn’t look good, and as a broad indication of where things might be pitched, it is 35% more expensive than the base 12900K (and the performance boost does not add up to anything like that, of course).

Never mind comparing to the existing 12900K, though, where things look more worrying is if we consider AMD’s rival chips, and in particular, the new model which Team Red is about to launch – the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. That refreshed processor is expected to be competitive with the 12900K in terms of performance, and might even slightly outdo the Intel CPU – pinches of salt to hand, as that’s AMD’s pre-release assertion – and yet it retails at… wait for it… $449 (around £340, AU$625) when it launches next month (April 20).

That’s a good chunk less than the 12900K, and indeed almost half this purported price for the 12900KS, although there are some major caveats here. Namely that AMD claims the real strength of its 5800X3D is in gaming (where the 3D V-cache tech really excels), and so performance in other areas won’t be anywhere near as good as Intel’s Alder Lake heavyweights. It all depends on what you want to do with your PC, of course, but regardless, that asking price for the 12900KS seems exorbitant, even if only comparing to the existing 12900K.

Particularly when you consider that past KS models (the 9900KS was the last such effort from Intel) haven’t commanded nearly as much of a premium, but then, we’ll have to wait to see the final pricing when the 12900KS is actually on sale before we can really judge the chip’s relative merits, naturally.

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).