Intel Alder Lake Core i5-12400F Breaks Cover In Leaked Benchmark With Just 6 P-Cores

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Intel's 12th Generation CPUs, code-named "Alder Lake," represent a major break from the traditional PC processor paradigm by including CPU cores from two different microarchitectures on the same chip. While those of us who are willing to strap 14-cm tower coolers to our CPUs have had the ability to build PCs around top-end Alder Lake CPUs for more than a month now, the general PC purchasing audience looking for more mainstream 12th Gen processors hasn't had the option.

That's likely to change before long. Rumor has it that Intel will reveal the rest of "Alder Lake" at CES 2022, starting two weeks from today on January 5th. We've already seen most or all of the laptop chips appearing in Geekbench results, and earlier today we showed you quickly-removed Best Buy listings for the desktop parts. Those chips can't be far off given these leaks.

Some folks have been concerned about the potential performance of lower-power Alder Lake processors given the high peak power consumption of the Core i9-12900K. That power consumption doesn't hold when doing lightly-threaded tasks, though, and likewise, the Core i5-12600K—which ships with a much lower power limit by default—is also quite efficient.

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CPU-Z single-threaded benchmark results. (click to enlarge)

Well, if you were one of the fretful few you can worry a bit less, because frequent leaker TUM_APISAK is back with a CPU-Z validation for a Core i5-12400F CPU slotted into an MSI MAG B660M MORTAR motherboard. Even saddled with slower DDR4 memory (compared to the DDR5 that Alder Lake was designed for), the Core i5-12400F puts up some high CPU-Z numbers. The single-threaded score puts it ahead of a Core i9-11900K and Ryzen 9 5950X, while the multi-threaded score has it well ahead of the Core i5-11600K and the Ryzen 5 5600X.

The single-threaded score isn't a big shock, but it's promising. The Golden Cove architecture that Alder Lake's P-cores use has already shown itself to be quite potent. The multi-threaded score is encouraging, too, though. In fact, the multi-threaded score puts it just behind a Ryzen 7 5800X when running with 12 threads—a CPU with 14 MB more L3 cache and two extra, unused cores to manage background tasks during the benchmark. The superior single-threaded performance means that this six-core speedster might just end up being the new top of the gaming performance-per-dollar stack.

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CPU-Z benchmark with twelve threads. (click to enlarge)

There are a a couple of curiosities to note here. The Core i5-12400F is apparently a 65-Watt CPU, and it's running at a toasty 66°C despite the light load; that's possibly the fault of whatever cooler was used during these tests. Also, at least as tested by CHOLOTECH PERU (the submitter of the CPU-Z validation), it doesn't report support for AVX-512. Perhaps it simply needs said support switched on in the firmware; Intel may have mandated that motherboard vendors can't supply such a switch, but that doesn't rule out a third-party mod to do the same.

As for the chip's total lack of E-cores, we could take this release as a tacit acknowledgement that the E-cores don't really offer a lot for many desktop workloads. It's no particular surprise to see processors without the little Gracemont-based CPUs; we first heard back in October that this would be the case for lower-end models, and saw leaks corroborating it earlier this month. We're eager to get our hands on these chips and see how they perform for ourselves.

Thanks to TUM_APISAK on Twitter for pointing out this validation result.