The Intel and AMD rivalry has always been spicy. With the release of newer and better processors, consumers enjoy the battle. AMD has developed the new Zen3 processor’s lineup featuring the 5000 series Ryzen processors. However, Intel has also released its all-new Alder Lake processors to take over the market.Users have been debating which CPU to buy with the release of new processors from both of the market’s major giants. Gamers, in particular, have found it difficult to pick amongst the top CPUs. Today, we’ll test Core i9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X, two behemoths from the new Alder Lake and Zen3 Ryzen 5000 series lineups. These CPUs are absolute beasts in terms of performance, but how much do they differ, and is the price difference worth the performance boost? To have this question answered we have to test both the CPUs in many different scenarios but before we go into Benchmarks, we need to grasp the fundamentals.

Processor
Intel Core i9-12900k
Ryzen 9 5900x
Model
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Company
Intel
AMD
Price
$598.99
$387.98
Cores
16
12
Threads
24
24
Overclocking
Yes
L3-Cache
30MB
64MB
Release Date
November 2021
November 5, 2020
Base Frequency
3.20 Ghz
3.7 GHz
Maximum Turbo Power
241W
4.8 Ghz
Ratings
Processor
Intel Core i9-12900k
Model
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Company
Intel
Price
$598.99
Cores
16
Threads
24
Overclocking
L3-Cache
30MB
Release Date
November 2021
Base Frequency
3.20 Ghz
Maximum Turbo Power
241W
Motherboard Compatibility
Cooler Compatibility
Ram Compatibility
Ratings
Processor
Ryzen 9 5900x
Model
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Company
AMD
Price
$387.98
Cores
12
Threads
24
Overclocking
Yes
L3-Cache
64MB
Release Date
November 5, 2020
Base Frequency
3.7 GHz
Maximum Turbo Power
4.8 Ghz
Motherboard Compatibility
Cooler Compatibility
Ratings

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications

Before we get into the Gaming and Performance benchmarks for both CPUs, we should know a few things. Starting with the specifications will help us comprehend both CPUs much better.

Related Reads: i9-12900k vs i7-12700k

Intel Core i9-12900K Specifications

  • Cores : 16
  • Threads : 24
  • Base Frequency : 3.2Ghz
  • Turbo Boost Frequency : 5.2Ghz
  • L1 Cache : 64K (per core)
  • L2 Cache : 14MB (shared)
  • L3 Cache : 30MB (shared)
  • TDP : 125W
  • Max Temp : 100 Degree (Celcius)
  • Integrated Graphics : Intel UHD Graphics 770

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Specifications

  • Cores : 12
  • Threads : 24
  • Base Frequency : 3.7Ghz
  • Turbo Boost Frequency : 4.8Ghz
  • L1 Cache : 64K (per core)
  • L2 Cache : 512K (per core)
  • L3 Cache : 64MB (shared)
  • TDP : 105W
  • Max Temp : 90 Degree (Celcius)
  • Integrated Graphics : N/A

The Intel Core i9-12900K has 12 cores, including 8 Performance (P) Cores and 4 Efficient (E) Cores. The Ryzen 9 5900X, on the other hand, has a total of 12 cores and 24 threads; the number of threads on both CPUs is the same. With four more cores than the Ryzen 9 5900X, the i9-12900K is one of the most powerful CPUs available.

The Core i9-12900K has a TDP of roughly 125W and a CPU temperature limit of 100 degrees Celsius, whereas the Ryzen 9 5900X has a low TDP of 105 and a temperature limit of 90 degrees Celsius. The new hybrid technology allows the i9-12900K to achieve a Turbo Boost frequency of 5.2GHz, compared to the 4.8GHz Turbo Boost frequency of the Ryzen 9 5900X, while Ryzen does take the lead in the Base frequency, being over 0.5GHz faster.

One of the most significant advantages of Intel CPUs is integrated graphics. The Intel i9-12900K comes with the newest Intel UHD 770 Graphics, which are more than enough for most users, although not the greatest. However, all Ryzen CPUs are available without integrated graphics, necessitating the usage of a Graphics Card. In terms of cache, the Ryzen 9 5900X maintains its advantage, but when considering the Hybrid technology of E and P cores, the Intel i9-12900K is difficult to surpass.

Architecture

What’s new in the Alder Lake Processors?

Intel has been talking about the Alder Lake CPUs for over a year before they were released; the buzz was high, as were the expectations. The new generation of Intel CPUs brings not just a significant increase in performance but also some significant architectural improvements.

The new 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs offer a wide range of processors, from the low-end 2 core Celeron G6900T to the high-end 16 core Intel Core i9-12900K. The true game-changer, though, is the new hybrid technology. Intel has introduced Performance (P) Cores and Efficient (E) Cores in the new Alder Lake processor range. However, keep in mind that not all Alder Lake CPUs use hybrid technology. The new hybrid technology is expected to enhance Intel CPUs’ hyperthreading department.

The major focus of Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs has been gaming. The latest Alder Lake CPUs improve gaming performance by 28% in titles like Hitman 3. Along with gaming, Intel has worked on multitasking performance. The new Alder Lake CPUs’ multitasking performance is outstanding, especially for Streamers who frequently run intensive games alongside other apps. To summarise, the new Alder Lake processors are intended for everyone, including editors, gamers, and streamers.

Intel has also switched to the new Z690 chipset, which uses the LGA 1700 socket. The new 10nm manufacturing method has proven to be extremely effective, concentrating on high-frequency, single-threaded performance. Other features included the latest Gen PCIe technology, as well as DDR5. Making the new Alder Lake series a serious contender for the Ryzen 5000 CPUs.

What’s new in the Zen3 Architechture?

AMD announced their all-new 5000 series CPUs based on the Zen3 architecture two years ago; AMD introduced the initial Zen architecture in 2017. AMD’s new 5000 series CPUs are a successor to the existing 3000 series; however, with the 5000 series’ improved performance and efficiency, the Ryzen 3000 series would be left out with no pals. Even Intel fanatics will be thrilled with their top-tier Ryzen 9 5950X CPU, which has 16 cores, 32 threads, and a TDP rating of just 105 watts.

AMD’s new Zen3 architecture aims to bring the 5000 series CPUs ahead of Intel. Multitasking performance on the new 5000 series processors is far superior to its competitors, owing to the scalability capabilities of the Zen3 architecture, which allows for the placement of many cores in small spaces. The new Zen3 architecture is also expected to be less expensive than the Intel Alder Lake line-up, cementing AMD’s position as a fan favorite.

The new Zen3 architecture improves single-core performance while also improving power efficiency and core-to-core latency. AMD has long been recognized for superior single-threaded performance, thanks to its many cores. With the Ryzen 9 5950X in the team, AMD is undoubtedly able to overtake Intel.

Memory Specifications and Expansion Options

In terms of connectivity, the Intel i9-12900K offers a significant advantage. Both CPUs handle up to 128GB of memory, but when Intel introduces DDR5, the game changes. The Intel i9-12900K supports DDR4-3200 or DDR5 up to 4800Mhz, superior to the Ryzen 9 5900X, which only supports DDR4-3200.

In terms of memory lanes and PCIe, the Alder Lake CPU unlocks 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes in addition to 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes, outperforming the Ryzen 9 5900X in M.2 storage, which only supports PCIe 4.0. Editing and rendering times are drastically decreased by PCIe 5.0, which can achieve rates of up to 64GB/s, providing Intel users with a significant performance improvement. With PCIe 5.0, you’ll be able to meet the new Z690 chipset for Alder Lake CPUs; the board is pricey, but given the expansion choices, it’s worth it.

When it comes to the new Intel LGA socket, the LGA 1700, customers using earlier chipset motherboards will not upgrade to the Alder Lake CPUs. On the other hand, AMD consumers have access to a wide choice of Ryzen CPUs via a single chipset. Cooling choices for Intel users will change as socket versions update. Purchasing the new Intel i9-12900K might be costly because earlier coolers may not be compatible with the new socket; however, manufacturers such as Noctua and Corsair have introduced upgrade kits for prior coolers allowing users to use older coolers with the new LGA 1700 sockets. Here you can check our list for the Best LGA 1700 CPU Coolers.

Intel Core i9-12900K Memory and Expansion Specs:

  • Max Memory Size: 128 GB
  • Memory Support: DDR4 and DDR5
  • Memory Transfer Rates: DDR5-4800MT/s, DDR4-3200MT/s
  • Number of Memory Channels: 2 (dual channel)
  • DMI (Direct Media Interface) Version: 4.0
  • Maximum Number of DMI Lanes: 8
  • PCI Express Revision: 4.0 and 5.0
  • PCI Express Configurations: Up to 1×16+4, 2×8+4
  • Maximum Number of PCI Express Lanes: 20

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Memory and Expansion Specs:

  • Max Memory Size: 128 GB
  • Memory Support: DDR4 
  • Memory Transfer Rates: DDR4-3200
  • Number of Memory Channels: 2 (dual channel)
  • DMI (Direct Media Interface) Version: 
  • Maximum Number of DMI Lanes: 
  • Maximum Number of PCI Express Lanes: 24

Gaming Benchmarks

Below, we compare Ryzen 9 5900X vs Core i9-12900K vs to see which processor performs better in gaming and application benchmarks. Other factors, such as electricity use and expenses, are also compared. Let’s see how these chips stack up. We put the CPUs through their paces with an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU, G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6000 CL36 RAM and an MSI Z690 Unify motherboard.

Test Rig:

  • CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K, AMD R9 5900X
  • Motherboard: MSI Z690 Unify
  • RAM: G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6000
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

Gaming can be very useful in finding the best performer in a rigorous performance review. These CPUs are extremely powerful, with just a little difference in gaming performance. We’ll now look at several benchmarks from other games.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege:

i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x Rainbow Six Siege
All Images Via Hardware Unboxed

The graphics settings are set to Ultra, starting with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. As can be seen, the 12900K with the latest DDR5 RAM leads AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. With DDR4 RAM, the Core i9-12900K falls behind Ryzen 9 5900X. The margins aren’t very noticeable, though.

Age of Empires IV:

i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x Age of Empires

Next up is Age of Empires 4, where we noticed a significant performance boost from the Core i9-12900K over the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. This translates to an almost 25% improvement in performance. The i9-12900K performed better with DDR4 RAM than with DDR5 RAM, with a 6% gain.

Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy:

i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x Marvels Guardians
Marvels Guardians

With Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy, a GPU-bound result is obtained across the upper end of the board. This type of benchmark was included since it gives a realistic depiction of the bulk of today’s games. Even though the resolution was reduced to 1080p, the GPU is a limiting factor when dealing with high-end CPUs.

Watch Dogs Legion:

i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x Watch Dogs Legion
Watch Dogs Legion

Finally, we have Watch Dogs: Legion, which produced some notable outcomes. This is the first instance where DDR5 performed admirably. The Core i9-12900K outperformed the Ryzen 9 5900X by 15%.
Although the 5900X performed similarly to the 12900K with DDR4 RAM, the margin widened to over 15% with DDR5 RAM, with the 12900K outperforming the 5900X.

 Application Benchmarks

After we finish with the gaming benchmarks, we will look at the application benchmarks because a major fraction of these chips is used in professional occupations that need a range of software. These apps are performance-hungry, and they test the limits of these high-end CPUs while providing us with meaningful data.

Corona 1.3:

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k Corona 1.3:

Starting with Corona Renderer, a high-performance photorealistic renderer that may be used with Autodesk 3ds Max, MAXON Cinema 4D, or as a standalone tool.
The 12900K is approximately 8% quicker than the 5900X, i.e., the render time of the 12900K is approximately 8% less than that of the 5900X. Moreover, we can see that the 12900K with the DDR5 RAM is about 4% faster than with DDR4 RAM.

Adobe Premiere Pro 2021:

Adobe Premiere Pro is a comprehensive video editing software package used to edit films, commercials, and other cinema, television, and web video projects.
As can be seen from the graph, the 12900K leads the 5900X with both the DDR5 and DDR4 RAMs. The 12900K performed about 7 to 11% faster than the 5900X depending on the type of RAM paired with the chip. Using the DDR5 RAM allows for about a 4% increase over the DDR4 RAM.

Adobe Photoshop 2022:

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop

Next up, we have Adobe Photoshop, which is a popular piece of software for raster image manipulation. It employs layering to create depth and versatility in the design and editing processes and powerful editing tools that, when paired, are capable of almost anything.
The same pattern follows here as well; the 12900K outperforms the 5900X and is about 12 to 18% faster depending on the type of RAM paired. With DDR5, the 12900K performs about 6% faster as compared to DDR4

Adobe After Effects 2022:

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k
Adobe After Effects

Moving on to Adobe After Effects, a piece of animation software used for animation, visual effects, and film compositing.
The 12900K performs exceptionally well here and outperforms the 5900X by a margin of around 14 to 20%, depending on whether DDR4 or DDR5 RAM is used. DDR5 RAM paired with 12900K is about 6% faster than DDR4 RAM. This is by far the largest performance leap we have seen since the previous application benchmarks.

Similar Comparisons: i7-12700k vs i5-12600k

Factorio:

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k
Factorio

Next up is a game named Factorio, which is a construction and management simulation game. You’ll be wondering why a game is included among the application benchmarks. We will be looking at the time taken per 1000 updates instead of the frames per second. This is a single-thread test that is driven by cache capacity.
12900K outperforms the 5900X by a considerable margin of about 26 to 28% depending on the type of RAM paired with it. With DDR5 RAM, the 12900K sees a 2% increase in performance compared to DDR4.

Blender Open Data:

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k Blender
Blender

Finally, we have Blender, a free and open-source 3D modeling and animation program. It covers the complete 3D production, including modeling, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and game development.
When coupled with either DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, we can see that the 5900X is around 10% slower than the 12900K. This is the only game in which the 12900K performs practically identically when coupled with DDR5 RAM.

Power Consumption and Temperatures

Core i9-12900K is a powerful CPU; however, it comes at the cost of very high power consumption. The total system draw, with 5900X, consumed about 242 watts, while the 12900K power draw was over 350 watts. This translates to about a 30% increase in total system power draw, which is an enormous difference.

Ryzen 9 5900x vs i9-12900k Power Consumption
Power Consumption

In terms of temperatures, the 12900K peaked at 82 degrees Celsius during gaming, whereas the 5900X stayed at 71 degrees Celsius, which is amazing on AMD’s part.
Temperatures for the 12900K during stress testing do not appear particularly good. The 12900K reached 101 degrees Celsius, but the 5900X stayed at 65 degrees Celsius, lower than the gaming temperatures stated before.

This is due to the 12900K’s massive power demand; greater performance equals more power, which ultimately means more heat.

Ryzen 9 5900X vs i9-12900k – Which One is Better?

Now that we have discussed the benchmarks, the question arises: What processor should you go for? To answer that question, we will need to go through some stuff to decide the clear winner.

Firstly, consider the features and specs provided by both CPUs. The addition of P-Cores and E-Cores and the existence of the integrated UHD 770 Graphics engine provide it a significant advantage over the 5900X, which is essentially graphics-less. If you’re searching for a CPU and don’t want to deal with an additional GPU, the 12900K is a good option.

Moving on to the gaming benchmarks, we discovered that the 12900K surpasses the 5900X by an average of 10% in 1080p gaming. With increased resolution, the GPU becomes the limiting element, substantially reducing the gap between the processors. As a result, we may reasonably infer that the 12900K outperforms the 5900X in gaming.

Additionally, considering the power consumption, efficiency, and cooling. Although the 12900K has substantially improved on its predecessor, the 11900K, the same cannot be said for performance in terms of power consumption. However, AMD continues to lead in efficiency and power consumption; in fact, the Ryzen 5000 series are the most efficient CPUs ever tested. This directly impacts the amount of heat produced by these chips. Higher temperatures result from increased power use.

The last point of interest that we will be looking at is the pricing of both these chips. The 12900K is priced at 598$, which is higher than that of 5900X, priced at 549$. And as we observed earlier, the 12900K outperforms the 5900X entirely; however, we also saw that the margins were small, but the margins grew even smaller when paired with DDR4 RAM.

Related: Ryzen 5 5600x vs i5-12600k

The present market position for DDR5 is crazy; it is currently quite pricey; we shall see what the future holds. The 12900K computers with DDR5 memory will cost a premium, which is just not worth it given the tiny performance boost over DDR4.

The new Z690 platform’s added capabilities, together with the performance increases of the 12900K (with DDR4 RAM), give an overall advantage over a 5900X build for a little price difference, making it an excellent pick.

Based on the foregoing facts of i9-12900k vs Ryzen 9 5900x, we may conclude that Intel’s Core i9-12900K is the better option for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is i9-12900K Better than Ryzen 9 5900X?

Yes, the i9-12900K is better than the Ryzen 9 5900X due to more cores and better multi-tasking abilities.

What is the difference between i9-12900K and Ryzen 9 5900X?

The i9 12900K is a high end processor in the Intel Alder Lake S series having a total of 16 cores, whilst the Ryzen 9 5900X is one of the high end processors in the AMD Zen3 series. Both the processors differ by alot, the DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 gives the Intel i9-12900K a huge performance boost over the Ryzen 9 5900X.

Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.