Intel could have a supercharged Core i9-12900KS CPU to combat AMD’s Ryzen refresh

Promotional Graphic For Intel's Core Series Processors
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel could be set to offer a new version of its flagship Alder Lake processor which reaches a higher boost speed across all its cores than the existing Core i9-12900K, or so the rumor mill has it.

This would theoretically be the Core i9-12900KS, and according to sources who spoke to VideoCardz, it’ll be a pre-binned version (high-performing 12900K chips capable of reaching higher clocks speeds above the guaranteed baseline performance) of the CPU capable of reaching an all-core boost of 5.2GHz rather than the 5GHz of the current 12900K.

As VideoCardz points out, though, the 12900K’s all-core Turbo is obviously workload dependent, and generally at stock clocks, the CPU hits around 4.85GHz to 4.9GHz across all cores going by the majority of reviews. So we could reasonably expect the 12900KS (if it comes to pass) to reach just over 5GHz, or maybe 5.1GHz typically. That’s across all 8 performance cores, of course.

Issuing a KS variant of its flagship is not a new thing for Intel, although the chip giant didn’t do so with its previous two generations of processors. The last time it happened was with the Core i9-9900KS, two years back, although a 10900KS was briefly speculated about for Comet Lake (a Rocket Lake take on ‘KS’ wasn’t rumored, but then, the 11th-gen had a relatively short amount of time in the spotlight).

VideoCardz claims that the purported Core i9-12900KS is undergoing testing by motherboard makers right now.

Analysis: Could the 12900KS be Intel’s answer to AMD’s rumored CES launch?

If the 12900KS really is being tested as suggested, then presumably a release won’t be far off, and as VideoCardz theorizes, maybe we are looking at a reveal of the CPU at CES 2022.

Whether this supercharged flagship variant turns up, we’ll obviously just have to wait and see, but further remember that AMD is rumored to be preparing to launch refreshed Zen 3 CPUs boasting 3D V-Cache (or vertical cache) tech. And so this could potentially be Intel’s answer to those revamped Ryzen processors – just maybe Team Blue is getting a little concerned that those new AMD CPUs could steal some of Alder Lake’s current thunder?

AMD is promising ‘up to’ 15% performance improvements in gaming with 3D V-Cache-toting CPUs, but we won’t know how realistic these claims are until the new Ryzen chips are actually out and benchmarked across a range of games, 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).