Intel dropped its overclockable Alder Lake-S desktop processors last year and we had already reviewed its flagship Core i9-12900K and then the market has exploded with its 12th Gen processors occupying the shelves without any stock issues at all.
Now, with double the amount of cores since last year, Intel has played a smart game using its new 10nm process to shrunken the core size and use extra Efficient cores (Gracemont architecture) as a mix to its new Performance cores.
Even though these new P-cores runs at similar clock speeds as the 11th Gen ones, yet, the newer ones give an average of 19% improvement when running at the same frequency against the “Cypress Core” architecture. However, it’s true that Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs are very power hungry and needs proper cooling, especially these overclockable K series chips.
With an attractive price of around Rs.40k, the Intel Core i7-12700KF is a great option for gamers who do not need an iGPU and save some money from the regular Core i7-12700K. So, this 12 core monster caught our eyes and we bought it for review, yes, we are impressed with the performance it offers for the pricing.
- 12 Cores and 20 threads
- Efficient-core Base Frequency: 2.70 GHz and 3.80 GHz boost
- Intel® Core® i7 3.60 GHz processor offers more cache space and the hyper-threading architecture delivers high performance for demanding applications with better onboard graphics and faster turbo boost
- The Socket LGA-1700 socket allows processor to be placed on the PCB without soldering
- 11 MB L2 and 25 MB L3 cache offers supreme performance for computation intensive apps
- 10 nm design offers great efficiency for computing, delivers nimble processing with balanced cost, performance, and power
- Base TDP: 125 W and Max TDP: 190 W
- DDR5 RAM support up to 128 GB and max memory badnwidth of 76.8 GB/s
Test Config Specifications:
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z690 UD AX WIFI Motherboard
- CPU: Intel Core i7-12700KF
- RAM: 32GB (2X16) Corsair Vengeance Performance DDR5 Memory
- Primary SSD: Western Digital SN850 500GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
- Secondary/Game SSD: 480GB Crucial SATA SSD, WD Green 960GB SATA SSD
- Power Supply: Antec HCG-1000-EXTREME PSU
- GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
- CPU Cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX L360 ARGB
- Cabinet: Cooler Master MasterBox K501L
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
I was quite surprised when I reviewed the Core i9-12900K as the 16 core monster manage to beat or equal the flagship Ryzen 9 5950X without any problems (drew more power though). However, I was more excited to try the Intel Core i7-12700KF because it has all the necessary specs to challenge or even beat AMD’s best-selling Ryzen 9 5900X, coming in at a lower price.
The 12 core processor did live up to our expectations and did match the Ryzen 9 5900X calibre performance costing around Rs.10k cheaper as the Core i7-12700KF is now retailing for Rs.35k price range. This is insanely good value as you are getting a flagship-level performance at an upper mid-range price.
In all of the benchmarks below, you can clearly see the stock performance of the Core i7 CPU is soo good that overclocking becomes unnecessary:
As you see in the benchmarks graphs, the Intel Core i7-12700KF comfortably beats or nears the performance of the Ryzen 9 5900X in multi-core while sometimes even competing against the more powerful Ryzen 9 5950X. In single-core performance, there’s no competition at all as the Core i7-12700KF is very fast, inches behind the Core i9-12900K.
All of these scores are even without overclocking this beast, so you can imagine if you can fiddle with this chip carefully you can get insane performance. The best part is the price-to-performance ratio, this Core i7-12700KF is an incredibly powerful yet affordable processor, now with Rs.35k pricing in India, undoubtedly could be your next productivity monster.
Coming to gaming, the strong single-core performance already gave us a hint that this Core i7-12700KF will perform really well in gaming and it did so. What actually surprised me the most this CPU which costs almost 60% cheaper than the current Core i9-12900K simply offers more value to gamers.
It is amazing to see this tiny beast giving a similar performance as its flagship brother and in all games, it easily gives you 60+ FPS with the RX 6900 XT without any hiccups. Here are some of the gaming benchmarks in modern games at different resolutions and settings:
As you see the huge improvements we see with Intel’s Alder Lake processor in single-core helps make these CPUs the best in terms of gaming. Much like the Core i9-12900K, this Core i7-12700KF single-handedly makes a difference and we will bring a separate comparison article on both these flagship CPUs.
However, one thing is clear there’s not much difference in frame rates if the GPU remains the same, so you do not have to spend almost 50% more on a Core i9, whereas a cheaper and more affordable Core i7-12700KF can do the job. Also, say if you do own a GPU, buy the “KF” variant that costs Rs.5k lesser than the one with iGPU.
In terms of gaming performance, you will obviously be satisfied with this 12 core chip that even beats the Ryzen 9 5950X in almost all games at 1440p. At 4K, the difference between the CPU performance is very negligible as it depends more on the GPU side, however, one thing is clear with the Intel Core i7-12700KF, you need not have to pay more to get more performance.
The experience of using the new 12th Gen Intel processors is kind of mixed for me, however, it’s mostly positive. The best thing about Alder Lake is its mix of P-cores and E-cores, however, these efficiency cores are really powerful, so scoring as much as a Ryzen 9 5900X while costing far less than it, is in itself is a major statement from Intel.
Well, in 2022, there are a lot of things to be excited about and if you want to make a Gaming PC, this is finally possible. The ridiculous pricing of GPUs is slightly decreasing as time is flowing and these Intel CPUs have good stock in their market with no price inflation or stock issues, kudos to Intel for that.
However, the key thing you need to note about these new 12th Gen SKUs is that the platform costs of any new Intel CPU are higher. Although it is worth the upgrade as you have the latest specs like PCIe Gen 5 and DDR5 RAM support, still, for an average gamer, it is too expensive to bear.
Also, this Intel Core i7-12700KF based on Intel 7 or 10nm process is still very power-hungry and is not as efficient as Ryzen 5000 series, which have lower platform costs as well. So, it isn’t about getting the processor only and using also keeping in mind the DDR5 RAM costs (if you want one), new socket motherboard, liquid coolers and a lot more.
Still, if you want the best, the Core i7-12700KF for its price is even better value than a Core i9, and if you can smartly make gather components, it’s absolutely worth upgrading! Overall, the Intel Core i7-12700KF, which is readily available, is the most affordable and powerful processor you can buy right now in the Indian market.
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