Leaked Intel Core i9-12900KS 5.5GHz Benchmark Foreshadows Significant Performance Lift
Competition is a good thing, especially when it results in healthy back-and-forth between the competitors. AMD and Intel are duking it out in the CPU space once again, and given that gaming is one of the primary purposes for which anyone is purchasing PCs right now, both companies are keen to claim the title of "fastest gaming CPU."
Intel's head had grown heavy with the weight of its long-held crown, and AMD snatched it away with the release of its Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 processors. Intel took it back right after, of course, but AMD's as-yet-unreleased Ryzen 7 5800X3D might make another grab for the top spot on the charts.
Perhaps to preempt that release, Intel announced the Core i9-12900KS back at CES 2022. This processor is functionally identical to the Core i9-12900K that we reviewed back at the start of last November, just with a healthy juice to its clock rate. According to Intel, the chip tops out at 5.5 GHz, and it will do 5.2 GHz on all eight of its Golden Cove P-cores simultaneously.
The new halo part hasn't hit the market yet, but as usual, benchmark leaks are already finding their way out into the wild. Today's leak comes courtesy once again of the BenchLeaks bot on Twitter. That sharp-eyed automaton found a result in the GeekBench 5 database for the Core i9-12900KS, although as of this writing there are actually three results that seem to be consecutive test runs on the same machine.
Whoever was running the benchmarks did their testing using an ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-F GAMING motherboard and 32GB of DDR5 memory running at 4800 MT/s. The relatively modest memory speed could be why the 12900KS "only" scores 2101 for its highest single-core score and 19010 for its highest multi-core score.
Based on our own testing, we got a single-threaded score of 2004 and a multi-threaded score of 18534 for the Core i9-12900K. Comparing those numbers to the leaked benchmarks for the Core i9-12900KS, we come out to a 5% gain in single-threaded performance and about 3.5% gain in multi-threaded performance.
Don't get it twisted—these are fantastically-high results, and among the very highest results in the entire Geekbench 5 database. They're still not as high as some of the results we've seen from machines using extant 12900K CPUs, though.
As a single example, the result above scores higher on both single- and multi-threaded tests despite running at a lower CPU clock rate. We'd reckon that system's ultra-fast DDR5-6200 memory probably has something to do with that. Other interesting results include this Core i5-12600K result (2096 ST!) and this bus-overclocked Core i5-12400.
We already knew that the Core i9-12900KS is functionally an overclocked Core i9-12900K—the only difference is the increased clock speed. As a benchmark, Geekbench is pretty sensitive to memory and bus speed, so it may not be the best representation for the benefits of a pure CPU clock bump like you get with the Core i9-12900KS. We'll have to see how games respond to the extra speed when it hits the market in the not too distant future.