Intel details first 12th Gen Core desktop CPUs with new hybrid architecture

Laurent Giret

Intel has shared today all the details about its new 12th Gen Core CPU family, which starts with six desktop processors optimized for Windows 11 including the top-of-the-line Core i9-12900K. These new processors are the first Intel chips to use the company’s new 10nm process named “Intel 7,” as well as a new hybrid architecture that combines performance cores and efficiency cores.

This new “Alder Lake” hybrid architecture is pretty much inspired by what we’ve seen in ARM mobile processors in recent years, and it represents a big paradigm shift for Intel. The new Intel Thread Director technology is capable of helping Windows 11 to “place the right thread on the right core at the right time,” delivering improved single-threaded and multi-threaded performance on Windows 11 PCs.

Intel’s new Core i9-12900K CPU comes with no less than 16 cores (8 performance cores and 8) efficiency cores, with 24 threads and a max turbo boost speed of up to 5.2 Ghz. The 12th Gen Alder Lake desktop family also includes the less powerful Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K CPUs, and these two models plus the Core i9-12900K are also available in slightly cheaper “KF” variants that drops the integrated Intel UHD Graphics.

In addition to the expected performance boost for content creation and gaming scenarios, Intel’s new processors also bring support for the new PCI 5.0 standard, as well as DDR5 memory at up to 4800MT/s. However, Intel’s latest desktop CPUs will require consumers to get new motherboards using Intel’s modern Z690 chipsets.

Intel’s first 12th Core desktop processors are available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping on November 4. Prices start at $264 for the Core i5-12600KF (with no integrated Intel UHD Graphics), while the high-end Core i9-12900K is priced at $589. “The full 12th Gen Intel Core family will include 60 processors, set to power more than 500 designs from a broad set of partners,” Intel said today.