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Intel i9-12900K Vs. i9-12900KS [Gaming & Productivity]

My Intel i9 12900K Vs. Intel i9 12900KS guide is here to help you get the best processor for your needs.

Expert Verified By

Intel Core i9-12900K

Rated: 8.4/10

Intel Core i9-12900KS

Rated: 8.2/10

Pros & Cons

i9-12900Kβœ… Cost-effective choice for gamers
βœ… Lower Thermal Design Power (TDP) for power efficiency
βœ… Comparable gaming performance with i9-12900KS
❌ Lower productivity performance
❌ Limited boost clock speed on P-Cores
❌ Lower overall productivity speed
i9-12900KSβœ… Slight 5% performance boost in productivity tasks
βœ… Marginally higher boost clock speed on P-Cores
βœ… Suitable for users focused on productivity
❌ Higher price compared to i9-12900K
❌ Higher TDP, potentially generating more heat
❌ Incremental performance gain may not justify the cost
Key Takeaways
  • The i9-12900K outperforms the i9-12900KS by 1% in FPS despite being 27% pricier, with lower TDP, offering similar gaming performance and cost savings.
  • In terms of power efficiency, the i9-12900K has a lower TDP than the i9-12900KS, making it a more power-efficient option.
  • The i9-12900KS shows a 27.5% price difference compared to its MSRP, while the i9-12900K exhibits a 24.6% difference.
  • The i9-12900KS is faster, but the i9-12900K offers better performance per dollar.

Comparison Table

iGPUIntel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 770
SocketLGA 1700LGA 1700
Memory SpeedDDR4-3200, DDR5-4800DDR4-3200, DDR5-4800
L3 Cache30 MB (Shared)30 MB (Shared)

Architectural Differences

  • Core/Thread Counts: The Intel i9-12900K and i9-12900KS both have 16 cores and 24 threads, delivering strong processing power for multitasking and parallel computing.
  • Clock Speeds: Both processors have the same base and boost clock speeds for their E-Cores, running at 2.5 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost. However, the i9-12900KS outshines the i9-12900K with a higher P-Core boost clock of 5.5 GHz compared to 5.2 GHz.
  • Memory Support: Both CPUs support DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 memory, allowing users to choose their preferred type. With a maximum memory capacity of 128 GB, users can harness the benefits of high-speed memory for improved overall system performance.
  • TDP (Thermal Design Power): The i9-12900K has a TDP ranging from 125W to 241W, while the i9-12900KS has a slightly higher TDP of 150W to 241W. This means the i9-12900KS might produce more heat and need better cooling for top performance.

Get ready for a showdown between Intel’s heavy hitters – the i9-12900K and its newer sibling, the i9-12900KS. Is the 12900KS worth the extra bucks compared to its predecessor, the 12900K? We’ll break down the on-paper specs and dive into the real-world performance.

Gaming Benchmarks

Let’s compare the Intel i9 12900K and the Intel i9 12900KS through various tests at 1080P resolution with ultra settings.

Testing Rig

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Separate tests reveal negligible distinctions, showcasing the i9-12900K and i9-12900KS with remarkably similar results in Shadow of the Tomb Raider for 252 vs 253 FPS.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Red Dead Redemption 2 performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t well-optimized. The i9-12900K(113 FPS) and i9-12900KS show similar FPS, with a slight edge to the 12900KS at 114 FPS due to its extra 300 MHz.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Far Cry 5 (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5, despite having a high-end graphics card, is very CPU-intensive. The i9-12900K, at 177 FPS, and the i9-12900KS, at 178 FPS, show no significant FPS difference.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Doom Eternal (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Doom Eternal fails to widen the 1 FPS gap. Both CPUs, the i9-12900K at 310 FPS and the i9-12900KS at 311 FPS, demonstrate no significant difference in FPS.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Cyberpunk 2077 (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Both processors in Cyberpunk 2077 perform similarly. The 12900K and 12900KS achieve 118 FPS, prioritizing price-per-performance, although customers often prefer raw performance.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  • Comparing the 12900K’s 683 FPS to the 12900KS’s 695 FPS reveals a slight gap. If you seek high core frequency for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the i9-12900KS could be your option.

Overall Gaming Performance

ProcessorAverage FPS
i9-12900KπŸ“ˆ 301.83
i9-12900KSπŸ“ˆ 303.17
Winner: Intel i9-12900KS

The percentage difference between the average FPS of the i9-12900K and i9-12900KS is approximately 0.44%. Judging by this difference, the i9-12900KS is marginally better in average FPS than the i9-12900K.

Price And Availability

CPUMSRPCurrent Price
Price Difference24.6%27.5%

The i9-12900KS shows a 27.5% price difference compared to its MSRP, while the i9-12900K exhibits a 24.6% difference. While the i9-12900KS may offer slightly better performance, the significant increase in price raises questions when compared to the more economical i9-12900K.

What Do We Recommend?

Intel Core i9-12900K: The 12900K is cost-effective for gamers. It offers comparable gaming performance with lower thermal design power (TDP) for power efficiency. It suits those looking for good gaming performance without breaking the bank.

Intel Core i9-12900KS: The 12900KS provides a slight 5% performance boost in productivity tasks and features a marginally higher boost clock speed on its performance cores. It’s ideal for users focused on productivity who are willing to pay extra for incremental performance gains.

Consider the i9-12900K for better price and performance, while the i9-12900KS offers a 5% boost for those willing to invest. Overall, the i9-12900K stands out for its value in gaming and productivity.

Common Questions Answered

Which processor is better for gaming on a budget: i9-12900K or i9-12900KS? 

i9-12900K offers similar gaming performance at a lower cost.

Is the 5% productivity boost in i9-12900KS worth the higher price over i9-12900K?

i9-12900KS has a slight productivity edge, but assess if it justifies the cost.

Which CPU is more power-efficient for cooler systems: i9-12900K or i9-12900KS?

i9-12900K has a lower TDP, making it more power-efficient with potentially less heat.

More From Core i9-12900KS:

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