Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake QS CPUs Already For Sale In China For $1,200

Intel Core CPU
Apparently there is already pent up demand for Intel's upcoming Alder Lake CPUs that are slated to launch by the end of the year. As such, later revision engineering samples (known as qualification samples, or QS chips) are fetching big bucks—up to around $1,200 for the flagship of the bunch, the Core i9-12900K.

It is interesting to see these QS chips sell for so much money. Alder Lake is a major new architecture that brings with it a new platform (600 series chipset), a new socket (LGA 1700), and support for DDR5 memory and PCI Express 5.0. That means interested buyers will need access to a new motherboard and a limited selection of DDR5 memory to actually use the QS chips.

Buyers are not fazed by this, as they are paying big bucks for pre-release hardware...

Alder Lake QS Post

According to YuuKi-AnS, a well known leaker, Core i9-12900K processors are commanding more than a grand in China. Prices are going up, too. Initially, they reported that Intel's flagship QS chip based on Alder Lake was selling for between 6,900 and 7,500 Chinese Yuan, which converts to around $1,060 to $1,150 in US currency.

Then in a follow-up Twitter post, YuuKi-AnS claimed the Core i9-12900K was going for 8,100 CNY, or around $1,250 in US currency, in China. They also added that those chips are "sold out, need to wait until next week" to have a shot at buying one again.

To put that into perspective, Intel's current generation Core i9-11900K processor based on Rocket Lake sells for $550, or about half as much as what late-run Core i9-12900K QS CPUs are selling for. Granted, there is a much larger supply of Rocket Lake CPUs than unreleased Alder Lake chips, but it is interesting all the same.

There is also the cost of a compatible motherboard to consider. Apparently B660 boards are pulling in premium dollars as well, having sold out at 7,400 CNY, or around $1,140 in US currency. So just for the CPU and motherboard, users are looking at almost $2,400.

Alder Lake is intriguing because it represents a shift to a heterogeneous architecture on the desktop. As for the Core i9-12900K specifically, it combines eight high performance Golden Cove cores with Hyper Threading support, with eight lower power Gracemont cores, for a 16-core/24 thread configuration.

The ES chip that is making the rounds features a 5.3GHz boost clock for the big cores, or 5GHz across all eight cores, and 3.9GHz for the small cores, or 3.7GHz across all eight cores. It also features 30MB of L3 cache.

Leaked benchmarks look promising, though we'll reserve judgement for when Alder Lake actually ships and we've had a chance to test it out ourselves.