GuidesComparisonsi9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X:

i9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X: [We Tested Both]

We compare Intel Core i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x in terms of Gaming, Budget, Specifications, Performance Benchmarks, and more factors In 2022.

Expert Verified By

Intel Core i9 12900K

Rated: 8/10

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Rated: 8.5/10

Pros & Cons

Ryzen 9 5900X✅Lower price tag
✅Significantly lower power consumption
❌Slightly lower performance
Core i9 12900K✅Slightly higher performance
❌Much higher price tag

Key Takeaways
  • In our gaming tests at 1080p, the Core i9 12900K was only 3% faster than the Core i7 12700K, which is an unnoticeable difference for even the most avid gamers.
  • Temperatures of the higher-end processor were around 11% higher than that of the i7 12700K, though both operated well within the same limits.
  • As of late January 2024, the price of the Core i9 12900K is around 38% higher than that of the Core i7 12700K.
  • The price increase of the Core i9 12900K does not correspond to its improvements in performance over the Core i7 12700.

Comparison Table

SpecificationsCore i9-12900KRyzen 9 5900X
Release DateNov 4th, 2021Nov 5, 2020
Memory SupportDDR4, DDR5DDR4
Max Memory Bandwidth76.8 GB/s51.2 GB/s
iGPUIntel UHD 770-
Best CPU CoolersBest CPU Coolers For Core i9-12900KBest CPU Coolers for Ryzen 9 5900X
Best MotherboardsBest Motherboards For Core i9-12900KBEST Motherboards For Ryzen 9 5900X
Best MemoryBest RAM For Core i9-12900KBEST RAM for Ryzen 9 5900X

Architectural Differences

  1. Core Count: The Core i9 12900K has 8 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores, which bring the total thread count of this processor up to 24. In contrast, the Ryzen 9 5900X uses 12 performance cores, bringing its thread count to 24.
  2. Clock Speeds: The base clock of the Core i9 is around 3.2GHz, significantly lower than the Ryzen’s base clock of 3.7GHz. As for the boost clock, the Core i9 is also better, with a maximum frequency of up to 5.2GHz, much higher than the Ryzen’s 4.8GHz.
  3. L3 CacheThe Ryzen has a much larger L3 cache than its competitor, with a maximum capacity of 64MB instead of the 30MB of the Core i9 12900K.
  4. Process Node: The Ryzen 9 is based on a more advanced 7nm processing node, while the 12900K uses an older and less efficient 10nm processing node.
  5. Memory: The Core i9 has the option to be specified with either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, while the Ryzen can only work when paired with DDR4 memory.

The Intel vs. AMD rivalry continues with the release of the Zen3 5000 series Ryzen processors and Intel’s new Alder Lake lineup. Gamers facing a tough decision are comparing the Core i9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X. These powerful CPUs promise top-notch performance, but is the price difference justified? 

Gaming Benchmarks

The performance difference between the Core i9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X will be best exemplified in real-world gaming tests. To give both processors a level playing field, we have designed a test bench that allows both CPUs to be the limiting factor. You can take a look at the specs of the test bench below.

Test Rig:

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Both processors were very close to one another in our test of Rainbow Six Siege, with the Core i9 averaging a framerate of 567 FPS on average, while the Ryzen 9 5900X had an average framerate of 564 FPS, giving a minuscule 0.5% win to the i9.
  • The i9 brought its advantage up to 1.1% in the 1% lows, with minimums of 451 FPS against the Ryzen’s efforts of around 446 FPS.

Age of Empires IV

 Age Of Empire IV
Age Of Empire IV @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • The difference in performance became much more significant in Age Of Empires IV, with the i9 averaging a framerate of around 159 FPS, while the Ryzen 9 was 23% slower with an average framerate of 129 FPS. This difference was noticeable, even with these high framerates.
  • The difference in performance swelled up a bit further to 33% in the 1% lows, with the i9 maintaining a framerate of around 128 FPS. At the same time, the Ryzen only managed a minimum framerate of around 96 FPS.

Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy

 Marvel's Guardian of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy brought these chips even closer together, with only a frame of difference between the two chips. The Intel processor had a framerate of around 111 FPS, while the Ryzen got an average of around 110 FPS.
  • The single frame of difference extended to the 1% lows, with the i9 getting lows of 91 FPS, whereas the Ryzen 9 had lows of around 90 FPS.

Watch Dogs Legion

 Watch Dogs Legion
Watch Dogs Legion @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • The difference in average approached 3% in our test of Watch Dogs Legion, with the i9 getting an average framerate of around 142 FPS, while the Ryzen 9 had a framerate closer to 138 FPS.
  • As for the 1% lows, the Ryzen approached 101 FPS, while the i9 had lows of around 102 FPS. This difference was very minor and can be chalked up to the margin of error.

Overall Gaming Performance

 Average FPS
Average FPS @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Average Framerate

There was an overall 4% difference between the performance of these two chips, but the brunt of it came from the Age Of Empire IV. This game was an exception in our short testing, but such exceptions can pop up, so we decided to include it in our evaluation.
The total average framerate of the Core i9-12900K was around 245 FPS, while the Ryzen faired a bit worse with an average of 235 FPS.

1% Lows

The difference in 1% lows approached 5% between the two processors, with the Core i9-12900K maintaining an average framerate of around 193 FPS, while the Ryzen hung closer to 182 FPS. This difference is also large because of the game mentioned earlier.

Overall, the performance of the Intel was significantly better in these compute-demanding games, so we have to give the win to the Core i9-12900K.

Winner: Intel's Core i9-12900K

Power Consumption

Power Consumption
Power Consumption @1080p (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The average power consumption of the Core i9-12900K was around 122 watts in our testing, whereas the Ryzen faired about 12% better with an average power consumption of close to 109 watts. 
For most people, this small difference in wattage would not be significant, but it is something to keep in mind while making your purchasing decision.

Price And Availability

ProcessorMSRPCurrent Price
Ryzen 9 5900X💲549💲296
Core i9 12900K💲589💲375

Though both processors started their life cycle with similar price tags, the Ryzne 9 5900X has dropped more steeply in price than its competitor, at least on the new market. This poses better value for money for the AMD chip, as a 27% difference in price is very significant to most consumers.

What we Recommend

Core i9-12900K: This would not be the obvious choice for most people if your main target is gaming. The processor still poses some benefits for some people, like consumers with existing Intel builds that can reuse all of the same components, but generally, the Core i9-12900K is a worse deal than its competitor.

Ryzen 9 5900X: The Core i9 12900K benefits extend over to the Ryzen 9 5900X but with other advantages on top. You can use this processor if you have a PC with any Zen or Zen2 processor while getting almost the same performance for a much lower price. Additionally, the slightly better power efficiency also gives real-world benefits. All this combined forces us to crown the Ryzen 9 5900X as the winner of our comparison.

To summarize, anyone buying these processors with the intention of gaming at the forefront will benefit more from the Ryzen 9 5900X for a lower price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the Core i9 12900K and Ryzen 9 7900X both use the same socket?

No, the Core i9-12900K uses the LGA 1700 socket, whereas the Ryzen 9 7900X uses the AM4 socket.

Is the Core i9-12900K superior to the Ryzen 9 5900X?

From a pure performance standpoint, yes. Regardless of whether you intend to use DDR4 or DDR5 memory, the Core i9-12900K will yield performance gains relative to the Ryzen 9 5900X, be it for gaming-focused workloads or even productivity tasks.

More From Core i9-12900K

More From Ryzen 9 5900X

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