Intel Core i7 12700k

INTEL CORE i7-12700K Alder Lake CPU Review

With the advent of Intel’s Core i9 brand, Intel’s Core i7 CPUs have often struggled to find their place, and we initially thought the Core i7-12700K would find this tricky, given the awesome performance of the cheaper Core i5-12600K. With its various mixes of performance-focused P-Cores and energy-efficient E-Cores, though, Intel has more ways to differentiate its product stack, and here there are eight of the former in this CPU, plus four of the latter.

This gives it more raw clout than the Core i5-12600K, which only has six P-Cores, but curtails its performance enough compared with the Core i9-12900K, which has an extra four E-Cores. The result is a 12-core Alder Lake CPU with 20 threads and a peak boost frequency of 5GHz, so it’s certainly no slouch.

At a price of $380, though, it has a few competitors from AMD, plus it also has to justify the extra outlay over the Core i5-12600K. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D costs noticeably more money at $430, with its 3D V-Cache offering stunning gaming performance in quite a few games, while the Ryzen 9 5900X costs around the same price, and also has 12 cores plus an extra four threads.

The Core i7-12700K’s P-Cores are quite sprightly too, hitting 5GHz regularly in not just lightly threaded workloads, but in multi-threaded workloads too. This explains the CPU’s stunning performance in our heavily multi-threaded video encoding test, where the 12700K’s result sits between those of the Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X. It does the same in Cinebench too, while massively outstripping the Core i5-12600K as well. Our lightly threaded image editing test also saw it crack 80,000 points, which was again much faster than those three CPUs.

Benchmarks - INTEL CORE  i7 12700k CPU

Conversely, it was noticeably slower than the Core i9-12900K in multi-threaded workloads. For example, in Cinebench, its multi-threaded score of 22,802 compared to 27,579 for the Core i9-12900K. However, in our image editing and game tests, it was practically on par with the Core i9 chip.

There’s some overclocking headroom as well. We hit a 5GHz overclock on the P-Cores, and forcing them to stick at this frequency did result in benefits, with the image editing score rising from 80,885 to 84,450, the video encoding score increasing from 927,289 to 986,910 and the Cinebench multi-threaded score going from 22,802 to 24,19.

This did add nearly 40W to the peak power consumption, though, and didn’t do much for gaming performance.


Base frequency P-Core 3.6GHz, E-Core 2.7GHz
Max boost frequency P-Core 5GHz, E-Core 
Core Alder Lake
Manufacturing process 10nm
Number of cores 8 x P-Cores, 4 x E-Cores 
(20 threads)
IGP Intel UHD Graphics 770
Hyper-Threading Yes
Cache 25MB L3, 12MB L2
Memory controller Dual-channel DDR4 and 
Packaging LGA1700
Thermal design power (TDP) 125W
Features Turbo Boost Max Technology 3, Turbo 
Boost 2, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, 
AVX-512, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, 


Despite AMD’s price jostling over the past few months, the Core i7-12700K remains a force to be reckoned with at its $380 price. It’s significantly faster than the Core i5-12600K, and it outperforms the Ryzen 9 5900X in most tests – you’d have to opt for the Ryzen7 5800X3D or Ryzen 9 5950X to see more performance.

Even then, the former isn’t great in content creation, while the AMD flagship is much slower in games, making the Core i7-12700K a potent all-rounder. It also slots neatly between the Core i5-12600K and the Core i9-12900K, with the latter offering more performance in multi-threaded work, but not much benefit in games and lightly threaded tasks. If your budget is substantial, but not unlimited, this is the sensible but still lust worthy CPU to get for a high-end system.

+ Pros
+ Excellent gaming performance
+ Faster than Ryzen 9 5900X in content creation
+ Well priced

- Cons
- Ryzen 7 5800X3D faster in some games
- Core i9 chips significantly quicker at multi-threaded work
- Core i5-12600K is nearly as fast in games

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