After more than 7 years of producing 14nm desktop processors … Intel has finally launched their 10nm processor, the 12th Gen Alder Lake designed for DIY and desktops PCs. We ask the question … which is the best one for you? Will it be the 10th Gen Comet Lake (14nm), the 11th Gen Rocket Lake (14nm), or the newest 12th Gen Alder Lake (10nm).
With some many different types of Intel processors (plus motherboards) to choose from, one can easily get lost or confused. Right now, you have a choice between Intel’s 10th Gen, 11th Gen and now 12th Gen processors. Each generation of processor will need a correct and compatible motherboard.
For example … choose a 10th Gen processor, then you need the Z490 motherboard (400-series or higher). For 11th Gen processor, then you’ll need a Z590 motherboard (or lower). A finally, for the latest 12th Gen processor you can ONLY use the newer Z690 motherboard, as the chip uses a LGA1700 socket which is incompatible to the Z490/Z590’s LGA1200 socket. See, I told you it was confusing!
The general rule is … for each new generation of processors, you’ll need to use a new motherboard that will support their new technologies, such as PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 found on the newer Z690 motherboards.
OK, I’m not going to waste time trying to explain the main differences between the 3 processors mentioned above. You can find out more about these processors via Wikipedia or Intel’s website.
So here’s what we’re going to do. We will provide a 3-way comparison of the performance of these processors. Let’s begin with a quick comparison table …
|Core i9-10900K||Core i9-11900K||Core i9-12900KF|
|Generation (Code Name)||10th Gen (Comet Lake)||11th Gen (Rocket Lake)||12th Gen (Alder Lake)|
(8 Performance-cores/8 Efficient-cores)
|Default Base clock rate||3.7 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.2 GHz (P-core)|
|Max Turbo Boost||5.3 GHz||5.3 GHz||5.2 GHz|
|Cache||20 MB||16 MB||30 MB|
|Intel UHD||Intel UHD 630||Intel UHD 750||N/A|
|PCIe/DDR support||PCIe 4.0 / DDR4||PCIe 4.0 / DDR4||PCIe 5.0 / DDR4 / DDR5|
|Current Price from Amazon (Dec 2021)||USD $482||USD $489||USD $699|
We prepared 3 test rigs with the configuration as per below.
|Processor||Core i9-10900K||Core i9-11900K||Core i9-12900KF|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z490 Steel Legend||ASRock Z590 PG Velocita||ASRock Z690 Steel Legend|
|Ram||16GB Thermaltake Toughram RGB DDR4-3200||Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-4400 16GB Kit||16GB Adata XPG Spectrix D60G DDR4-3600|
|SSD NVMe M.2||Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 500GB SSD||Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 500GB SSD||Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 500GB SSD|
|Graphics Card||Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP||Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP||Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP|
|PSU||Thermaltake ToughPower 1275W||Thermaltake ToughPower 1275W||Thermaltake ToughPower 1275W|
|Cooler||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML 240||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML 240||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML 240|
|Drivers||Latest Game Ready Drivers from Nvidia||Latest Game Ready Drivers from Nvidia||Latest Game Ready Drivers from Nvidia|
|OS||Windows 10||Windows 10||Windows 10|
Installation and BIOS
All BIOS settings were at default, with XMP profiles enabled. Graphics resolution set to 1920×1080 (HD 1080p). High or Ultra settings enabled.
Benchmarks (Part 1)
I’ll let the numbers do all the talking … 1st column is Core i9-10900K, 2nd column is Core i9-11900K, while the 3rd column is the Core i9-12900KF
PCMark 10 is the latest in our series of industry standard PC benchmarks. Updated for Windows 10 with new and improved workloads, PCMark 10 is also faster and easier to use. PCMark 10 features a comprehensive set of tests that cover the wide variety of tasks performed in the modern workplace. With express, extended, and custom run options to suit your needs, PCMark 10 is the complete PC benchmark for the modern office and an ideal choice for organizations that buy PCs in high volumes.
Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers.
3DMark – Port Royal (DXR – Ray Tracing)
Port Royal is a graphics card benchmark for testing real-time ray tracing performance. To run this test, you must have a graphics card and drivers that support Microsoft DirectX Raytracing.
3DMark – Nvidia DLSS Test
Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is an NVIDIA RTX technology that uses the power of deep learning and AI to improve game performance while maintaining visual quality.
DLSS is a post-processing technique that uses a pre-trained deep neural network to extract features of the rendered scene and intelligently construct a high-quality final image.
This feature test helps you compare performance and image quality with and without DLSS.
AIDA64 Memory Test
This benchmark measures the bandwidth and latency of the CPU caches and the system memory. By double-clicking any rectangle, column or row in the window, we can launch benchmarks or benchmark types individually. For example, if we double-click “Memory”, only system memory read, write, copy and latency benchmarks will be run, that is, only the operations in the given row are executed. Similarly, if we double-click “Read”, only read benchmarks will be run on all memory types, that is, only the operations in the given column are executed. If we double-click any rectangle, only the selected single benchmark will be run.
CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X).
A simple-to-configure and portable software program that helps you calculate the pi value for a given number of digits and perform overclocking operations on multi-core machines.
Verdict and Conclusion
As you can see from the above benchmarks and test results, Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake processors do offer increased performance over its predecessor the 10th Gen Comet Lake, and 11th Gen Rocket Lake. What’s interesting is that the older 10th Gen Comet Lake has more cores (total of 10 vs 8) and more threads (20 vs 16) over the 11th Gen Rocket Lake. However having said that, the 11th Gen Rocket Lake does outperform the 10th Gen Comet Lake in general. This is due to the fact that the Core i9-11900K has a higher IPC (Instructions per cycle) than the Core i9-10900K.
And of course, without saying the obvious, Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake takes the crown in all departments both in terms of performance and Core/Thread counts.
One thing you need to be aware of, are the temperatures of these Intel processors! At full load, both the Intel 11th Gen and 12th Gen processors run HOT! I mean really hot! Reaching well above 100 degrees Celsius, while the older 10th Gen faired a little better at 73 degrees Celsius. We highly recommend you invest in a decent AIO liquid cooler for cooling these processors from Intel.
If you’ve got an old PC based on the 9th/10th Gen Intel processor … then it’s time to consider an upgrade to the 12th Gen Alder Lake processor, which means you’ll need a new Z690 chipset motheboard and a new CPU cooler (or upgrade your exisiting cooler with some LGA1700 brackets). And with this new setup, you’ll get the option to run either DDR4 or DDR5 ram, as well as the future support for PCIe 5.0.
For existing PC owners with 11th Gen Intel processors … I recommend holding on until 2022 to see what Intel has in store.
Buy at Amazon
- Intel Core i9-12900KF for USD $699 – Z690 motherboard required (LGA1700) – https://amzn.to/3EqHd9f
- Intel Core i9-11900K for USD $489 – Z590 motherboard required (LGA1200) https://amzn.to/3rCHi63
- Intel Core i9-10900K for USD $482 – Z490 motherboard or higher required (LGA1200) https://amzn.to/3GloLiV
- How to Install Intel LGA1700 Mounting Kit from Cooler Master
- Lexar DDR4-3200 UDIMM 32GB Desktop Memory Kit Review
- ASRock Z690 Steel Legend WiFi 6E Motherboard Review
- ASRock Z590 PG Velocita Motherboard Review
- ASRock Z490 Steel Legend Motherboard Review