Intel and AMD have been at odds since their birth. AMD recently released their first 3D stacking processor, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. Similarly, in response to AMD’s processor, Intel came out with a greater i9-12900KS. Moreover, let’s dive into the Intel i9-12900K Vs. Intel i9-12900KS! In short, what is the difference between the two, and which one is superior? Read on!

To summarize, Intel has always been in the lead with its processors. However, AMD has been closing in on Intel’s single-core performance lead over the last three years.

Nevertheless, the i9 12900KS is Intel’s response to AMD’s 5800X3D, and we love introducing you to the processor. As a result, the 12900KS is an extremely powerful CPU incorporating all the most recent and cutting-edge 12th-generation technologies. Despite this, today, we’ll investigate if the more costly 12900KS is a better investment than its cheaper counterpart, the 12900K.

It’s vital to analyze the on-paper parameters of Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS, before comparing them. The performance of the two components concerning one another will be well-understood.

Can Intel retain its claim for the i9-12900KS to remain the “fastest processor in the world” in the long run? Also, does the 12900KS, which costs $799, live up to its billing?

But on the other side, before Intel released the 12900KS, the i9 12900K was the company’s flagship product. Its remarkable single-core performance maintained its lead in the CPU market for over a year. Then again, how does it measure up to its older sibling, the 12900KS, in terms of performance?

Specifications for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Before we move further into the nitty-gritty of both processors, let’s look at their specifications.

Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS Comparison Table
CPU Name i9-12900K i9-12900KS
Generation 12 12
Memory Speed DDR4-3200, DDR5-4800 DDR4-3200, DDR5-4800
Max Memory 128 GB 128 GB
No. of Cores 16 16
No. of Threads 24 24
Hyperthreading Yes Yes
Overclocking Yes Yes
iGPU Intel UHD Graphics 770 Intel UHD Graphics 770
iGPU Frequency 0.30 0.30
P-Core Base/Boost Clock Speed 3.4 GHz/ 5.2 GHz 3.4 GHz/ 5.5 GHz
E-Core Base/Boost Clock Speed 2.5 GHz/ 4.0 GHz 2.5 GHz/ 4.0 GHz
TDP 125W-241W 150W-241W
Socket LGA 1700 LGA 1700
L1 Cache 80 KB (Per Core) 80 KB (Per Core)
L2 Cache 1.25 MB (Per Core) 1.25 MB (Per Core)
L3 Cache 30 MB (Shared) 30 MB (Shared)
Release Date 04/2021 02/2022
Launch Price $599 $739
Current Price $590 $750

Intel i9 12900K Background

To clarify, an extremely powerful central processing unit (CPU) for desktops, the Intel Core i9-12900K, uses the Alder Lake design. The 12900K is an 8-core processor with eight efficiency cores, initially announced in November 2021.

Performance (P) cores utilize hyperthreading, resulting in 24 threads that the processor can handle simultaneously. Regarding speed, Turbo Boost Max 3.0 allows the performance cores to run up to 3.9% faster than their counterparts.

Furthermore, every core can access 30 MB of available smart cache memory. In addition, the memory controller supports up to 128 GB of DDR5 RAM, operating at 4800 MT/s.

Provided that, the OS gets assistance from a hardware component, the “Thread Director.” Subsequently, it allows choosing which thread to run on performance or efficiency cores to achieve the most performance.

In addition, the CPU includes GNA 3.0 and DL Boost to facilitate AI-related activities. As with the Rocket Lake CPUs, Quick Sync 8 offers MPEG-2, AVC, and VC-1 decoding. Alongside that, it also allows for decoding of JPEG, VP8 decoding, VP9, and HEVC in hardware.

All things considered, the graphics chipset, the Intel UHD Graphics 770, uses Xe architecture. The iGPU includes a frequency range from 300 MHz to 1.55 GHz.

Additionally, the basic power consumption of the CPU is 125 watts, with a maximum Turbo power consumption of 241 watts. Above all, Intel utilizes a 10nm process node at Intel 7 to lower its TDP.

Intel i9 12900KS Background

At CES 2022, Intel gave a sneak peek at a future chip it has officially introduced: the Core i9-12900KS. Notwithstanding, the Core i9-12900KS, like the other processors in the Core i9-12900 family, is an unleashed version of the i9-12900K. Also, the 12900KS has 16 cores distributed equally across quality and efficiency clusters.

In addition, the Core i9-12900KS has a maximum turbo frequency of 5.5 GHz, increasing 300 MHz over the Core i9-12900K. Intel’s latest desktop gaming CPU, the Intel Core i9-12900KS, maintains the company’s tradition of pushing the limits on a computer.

Provided that, this CPU comprises Intel’s hybrid architecture and can reach 5.5 GHz on roughly two cores. The architecture adequately allows even the most hardcore gamers to enhance their gaming experience.

Certainly, the i9-12900KS has an increment in Basic Power (PBP) to 150 watts. And to clarify, it’s an increase from 125W, which the i9-12900K and i9-12900KF require.

Despite this, the Maximum Turbo Power (MTP) of the i9-12900KS is identical to its counterparts, at 241 watts. Similarly, the i9-12900KS keeps the same 14 MB of L2 cache and 30 MB of L3 cache as its predecessors. Additionally, it has a UHD Graphics 770 iGPU. Furthermore, the 12900KS also accommodates 4800 MHz of DDR5 RAM.

Gaming Benchmarks of Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Usually, when analyzing two different hardware, we conduct benchmarks to figure out which is better. For the same reason, let’s conduct various tests on the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Doing so will provide us with information to know which processor to buy. TechArc has conducted these gaming benchmarks.

Test Rig for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

While TechArc has not mentioned their complete rig in the video, we can assume their overall components. The 12900K and 12900KS use the LGA 1700 socket, so they don’t need separate systems. With this in mind, we suppose TechArc has used a Z690 motherboard with 16-32 GB DDR5 RAM.

Also, TechArc mentions that they are conducting the gaming benchmarks with an RTX 3080 on 1080P resolution. Although, again, we have no clue what kind of cooling is present in the system. But, we do assume that they are using a high-end CPU cooler. It could be a Noctua NH-D15S, for all we know.

Lastly, TechArc most likely has an SSD along with a more spacious HDD to store all their games. So now, with specifications out of the way, let’s look at the games and how both processors fare.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance for the i9 12900K Vs. i9 12900KS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Firstly, let’s discuss Lara Croft’s adventures in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider. At first glance, we can see both processors giving us similar FPS. Secondly, the Core i9-12900KS is only ahead by one FPS. Likewise, we understand that the GPU is giving its all in the game and isn’t bottlenecking.

However, because there is a slight difference between both processors, the FPS is a bit different. To clarify, this has most likely happened thanks to the difference in TDP. Due to this, the 12900KS can squeeze out some more power. As a result, you see the extra frame by the i9-12900KS.

Now, the FPS difference can also be possible because separate tests show there’s a negligible discrepancy. Overall, the i9-12900K and the i9-12900KS show extremely similar results in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 performance for the i9 12900K Vs. i9 12900KS
Red Dead Redemption 2 performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Moving on, we have Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2. As many might already know, the game doesn’t have great optimization. Still, it pushes processors and graphics cards to their utmost limits. Also, there are complaints by gamers stating that their CPU usage was at 100% while their GPU wouldn’t max utilization.

Therefore, using Red Dead Redemption 2 for a processor benchmark test is a good choice. Although, as you can see, the result is similar to the previous game. Again, the i9-12900K and i9-12900KS have identical FPS with a single frame difference. Nevertheless, we can assume that the additional frame results from the extra 300 MHz on the 12900KS.

All things considered, there are no significant FPS changes from either the i9-12900K or the i9-12900KS. So, to sum up, it’s another tie if we only consider raw performance. However, if we consider value for money, the 12900K seems to win pretty easily, at least for now.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 performance for the i9 12900K Vs. i9 12900KS
Far Cry 5 performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Further, we now have Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5. In addition to the game being famous for its story, its graphics don’t fall behind. Similarly, far cry 5 is an extremely CPU-intensive game. Likely to the point where having a high-end graphics card doesn’t matter much. Then again, no one builds an entire PC just for one game, right?

To sum up, the FPS of the i9-12900K and i9-12900KS are indistinguishable. It seems that there isn’t much of a difference between either of the processors. All we’re seeing is an overall FPS boost or drop, depending on the game. Other than that, nothing is changing.

Overall, in terms of performance-per-dollar and TDP, the 12900K is destroying the 12900KS. Also, it does signify that we’re seeing a $600 processor be on par with a $750 processor.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal performance for the i9 12900K Vs. i9 12900KS
Doom Eternal performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Now, let’s take a look at the not-so-heavy Doom Eternal. Provided that doom eternal has a 2020 release date, it’s a rare triple-A game that does not require high-end computers. Furthermore, the game leverages a higher core processor. So, that is one of the reasons why the 12900K and 12900KS have similar FPS in this title.

While there isn’t any difference between the FPS, the 12900K is better. Unless you don’t care about prices and only want the highest-tier processor you can get. In that scenario, looking at the Ryzen 9 5950X would do you good.

In conclusion, doom eternal did not manage to lengthen the 1 FPS gap either. Moreover, it seems Intel launched an i9-12900K, renaming it the i9-12900KS. So far, it doesn’t look like the 300 MHz boost is helping the 12900KS a lot. But you never know; maybe it’ll do much better in the productivity tests.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

When discussing high-end processors and GPUs, it is almost mandatory to mention Cyberpunk 2077. In any case, CD Projekt Red took some time to launch the game but has done so with high-end requirements. It is equally important to remember when benchmarking a CPU; your GPU should not be getting bottlenecked.

What’s more, using an RTX 3080 is a good option. Although, what we see in terms of performance is that the GPU is most likely bottlenecking the CPU. In comparison, there was at least one FPS differential in the previous games. However, in cyberpunk 2077, both processors’ FPS is the same. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the game’s optimization capabilities are causing this discrepancy.

Without a doubt, it seems that the 12900K and 12900KS are uncannily similar. It is important to realize the price-per-performance ratio should be your first ideal. On the contrary, we see customers going for raw performance mostly.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive performance with Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Lastly, we have Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the last game in this benchmark. While it’s not exactly a “modern” game, it’s still extremely popular worldwide. Due to the game’s nature, it is naturally more CPU intensive. But rather than leaning toward a greater core count, CSGO needs greater core frequency.

In this situation, we finally see some difference between the 12900K and 12900KS. Additionally, the 300 MHz on the P-Cores weren’t just for show. Still, however, there’s only a ~1.75% difference between the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Therefore, the i9-12900KS might be more appealing if you play games requiring a greater core frequency.

Overall, you’re seeing a max ~2% performance uplift for ~27% extra price. Not too economical, now is it? Concluding, the i9-12900KS isn’t a bad processor; its pricing is. Certainly, if Intel thought this through, the 12900KS could have become even better.

Gaming Benchmark Remarks for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

To begin with, out of six games, the i9-12900K has a total FPS score of 1643 and the i9-12900KS, 1659. Summing up, that’s merely a ~1% performance boost for the i9-12900KS. So, a processor that costs 27% more to have a 1% greater performance isn’t too pleasing.

Furthermore, the 12900K has a lower TDP than the 12900KS. To explain, lower TDP means that a processor consumes less wattage and is more efficient. At least in terms of power, that is. Now, one can expect efficiency to be greater with higher prices. However, for Intel, that’s not the case.

All-in-all, if you’re looking to buy a processor for gaming purposes only, the 12900K is the way to go. Not only will you save money, but you’re also getting a similar FPS to the 12900KS.

Productivity Benchmarks for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Computers have progressed a lot in the past decade. But processors have come an even longer way over the years. In particular, desktop consumer processors. In general, back in the day, running software was incredibly difficult. However, you can now easily run even the heaviest software with a consumer processor.

Be that as it may, the Intel i9 12900K and Intel i9 12900KS fall in this category. And for that reason, it is important to conduct productivity benchmarks to know which processor is better. These tests are by TechArc, the same person who also did the gaming benchmarks. With that said, the testing rig will also remain the same.

Cinebench R23 Multi-Core

Cinebench R23 Multi-Core scores. Higher is better

Firstly, let’s look at the Cinebench R23 Multi-Core benchmark test. To explain, Cinebench is an amazing software that utilizes Cinema 4D to create 3D objects. Furthermore, processors render these objects through which we get the scores.

Above all, processors use all of their cores and threads for the multi-core benchmark test to render each frame. The less time it takes, the greater the score is. In light of this explanation, we see that the i9-12900KS has a greater score. Moreover, by about ~3.3% at that. Of course, it’s not an extremely high uplift, but it’s there. The performance boost is likely thanks to the added base clock in the i9-12900KS’ P-Cores.

Cinebench R23 Single-Core

Cinebench R23 Single-Core scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Higher is better

In addition to Cinebench R23 Multi-Core, there is a single-core test too. Unlike the multi-core test, in the single-core, processors only utilize one core to render frames. Obviously, due to Intel’s big.LITTLE architecture, only a P-Core is used. But you can test with an E-Core as well.

For this single-core test, however, a P-Core has been used. Consequently, the i9-12900KS has a greater score than the i9-12900K again. Also, the 12900KS is about ~6% faster than the 12900K in a single-core test. To emphasize, this shows that the 12900KS targets productivity rather than gaming. With this in mind, single-core tests are more important for software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Cinebench R20 Multi-Core

Cinebench R20 Multi-Core scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Higher is better

To clarify, Cinebench R20 is a roll-back to the Cinebench R23. Subsequently, the Cinebench R20 test was the most accurate CPU benchmark test at its release time. Provided that, the Cinebench R20 uses Cinema 4D to create 3D objects as well. Furthermore, the processor uses all of its cores and threads in the multi-core test to render these frames.

To that end, looking at the Cinebench R20 multi-core test results, we see that the i9-12900KS is ~4.9% faster. Without a doubt, the Intel i9-12900KS shines during production and not gaming. It would be a good substitute against AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X, an amazing gaming and production processor.

Cinebench R20 Single-Core

Cinebench R20 Single-Core scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs 9 12900KS. Higher is better

Along with that, we have a Cinebench R20 Single-Core test too. While the multi-core test utilizes all cores and threads, the single-core test only uses one core. Moreover, a single-core test is useful for determining how a processor might fare with image processing software. Therefore, such tests are important for image editors.

In addition, the i9-12900KS is ~5.26% faster than the i9-12900K. Although the performance isn’t too high once again, it does exist. Nonetheless, for a processor that costs ~27% more, a 5% performance uplift isn’t much of a gain. Overall, if you’re someone who needs to save as much time as possible, the 12900KS is for you.

Blender Render BMW 27

Blender Render BMW 27 scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Lower is better

Next up, we have a Blender BMW 27 test. For those who don’t know, the Blender test utilizes both CPU and GPU, making it a difficult test to run. For the most part, Blender renders a 3D model or scene using multiple cores. Furthermore, the less time it takes, the faster your processor is.

Likewise, the Core i9 12900KS is ~3% faster in rendering a 3D Blender sequence than the Core i9 12900K. You can see the difference in real-time, with the 12900K taking 92 seconds and the 12900KS taking 89. Then again, if three seconds are worth about $250 for you, then go with the 12900KS by all means.

Corona Render

Corona Render scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Lower is better

Corona Render is another form of 3D modeling render benchmark test. By comparison, Corona Render uses a CPU for its benchmark, while the Blender benchmark can use a CPU and GPU. Having said that, Corona and Blender are pretty similar to each other. While one uses a CPU, the other may also use a GPU. Also, corona render uses multi-cores to render the 3D sequences.

With this in mind, the i9-12900KS is about ~1.65% faster than the 12900K. To sum up, there is only a one-second differential between both render sequences for the 12900K and 12900KS. Therefore, it’s best to consider that both gave almost identical results.

V-Ray 5 CPU

V-Ray 5 CPU score for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Higher is better

Moreover, our next test is on V-Ray 5, a 3D rendering software developed by Chaos. Nevertheless, V-Ray 5 is used for 3D rendering by various artists and designers. Similarly, V-Ray 5 uses a process named hybrid rendering, which uses both CPU and GPU. All things aside, V-Ray 5 is popular because it’s compatible with software such as 3DS Max, Blender, and Unreal Engine.

To conclude, the i9-12900KS is approximately 2.75% faster than the i9-12900K. However, in terms of price-per-performance, the i9-12900K is ahead. There isn’t much difference between both processors in this test either. Although, if you want a top-of-the-line product with no regard for money, then go with the i9-12900KS.

Geekbench 5 Multi-Core

Geekbench 5 Multi-Core scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Higher is better

Geekbench 5 is a productivity benchmark test for processors and RAM. Above all, the benchmark uses core frequency and overall system memory to render frames. Seeing that, the bonus base clock in the 12900KS has helped it reasonably in this benchmark. Be that as it may, the amount of RAM for both tests is the same.

Overall, the Intel i9-12900KS is 8% faster than the Intel i9-12900K. To clarify, we’re seeing this result simply because of the extra 300 MHz in the P-Cores in the 12900KS. Therefore, if you’re using software with greater core frequency, you should go with the i9-12900KS.

Geekbench 5 Single-Core

Geekbench Single-Core test for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS.
Geekbench 5 Single-Core scores for the Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS. Higher is better

Next up, we have the Geekbench 5 Single-Core benchmark test. For the most part, the Geekbench 5 single-core test only uses one core to render frames. Additionally, Geekbench is similar to Cinebench’s performance benchmarking and test methods. Also, Geekbench isn’t too good in real-world scenarios for the most part.

Given these points, the i9-12900KS is about 4.5% faster than the i9-12900K. The difference from the multi-core test has decreased because the base-clock speed has not changed in the 12900KS. Overall, a mere 4.5% performance uplift is not viable on a 27% more expensive product. So, we advise you to stick to the i9-12900K rather than “upgrade” to the i9-12900KS.

7-Zip Compression

7-Zip Compression for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS.
7-Zip Compression scores. Higher is better.

Other than core frequency and single-threaded tests, we also have raw thread performance tests. For that reason, 7-zip tests may be useful. Although 7-zip compression favors thread count over actual IPC, these tests aren’t completely accurate. Also, the 7-zip test provides values in Million Instructions Per Second (MIPS). On that end, the MIPS makes tests inaccurate to an extent.

In this case, the i9-12900KS scores a value of 132,472 MIPS, ~4.8% faster than the i9-12900K’s 126,310. Summing up, the 12900KS has a better score thanks to its faster core. But to repeat, the Intel i9-12900K is still a better value-for-money processor.

7-Zip Decompression

7-Zip decompression for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS.
7-Zip Decompression scores. Higher is better. 

Lastly, we have the 7-zip decompression test. While similar to the above compression test, it’s still important to observe. As shown above, the concept is technically the same. That is to say, the 7-zip decompression test utilizes raw thread count to calculate the total MIPS generated. Most importantly, we should remember that this test isn’t extremely accurate either.

To point out, the Intel Core i9-12900KS scores a total of 154,807 MIPS, 9% higher than the i9-12900K’s 142,118. Although the gap has widened because there are discrepancies in the test, we cannot guarantee how accurate it is. As a result, it’s still safe to assume that the 12900KS is 5-9% faster than the 12900K in compressions.

Productivity Benchmark Remarks for Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS

Firstly, in all the productivity benchmarks, we see the Intel i9-12900KS ahead of the Intel i9-12900K. The gap is lower in a few tests and greater in others. Of course, to clarify, this irregularity is because of how diverse the tests are. However, if we look at the total benchmark results, the i9-12900KS is about ~7% faster than the i9-12900K.

At least these productivity benchmarks weren’t as bad as the gaming benchmarks. Unlike one to two FPS differences, we have seen a greater score uplift. Therefore, if you’re buying a processor for video rendering, 3D animation, or other productivity tasks, then the i9-12900KS is good.

However, whether or not its performance uplift is significant depends on your use-case scenario.

Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS Verdict

Overall, from our assessments, the i9-12900KS emerges as the faster processor. But, the i9-12900K has better performance per dollar. Despite having a slower base and boost clock, it’s the same as the i9-12900KS in all other aspects. As we stated above, in terms of raw performance, the Intel i9-12900KS is around 5% faster than the Intel i9-12900K.

If you are considering upgrading, the i9-12900K is the safer choice in terms of price and performance. On the other hand, if the 5% performance uplift is worth your money, then the i9-12900KS is the better choice.

Lastly, if we had to choose between both processors, we would probably pick the i9-12900K for its value. However, both CPUs are exceptionally well-designed for both hardcore gaming and productivity.

Who Is This Article For?

To begin with, the i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS article is for consumers who want to upgrade their processors. Secondly, the article looks into both processors’ backgrounds, specifications, and overall architecture. Thirdly, we delve into both processors’ gaming and productivity benchmarks to see which is better. Ultimately, we have shared our analysis and verdicts regarding the i9-12900K and i9-12900KS.

Also, when buying these processors, you need to be sure whether you’re buying them for gaming or productivity.

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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.