Intel Core i5-12490F 6-Core Alder Lake Black Edition Breaks Cover With Higher Clocks

Intel Core i5-12490F retail box next to a desktop PC
Guess who's back, back again. No, not Eminem (he never left, really), but while you're trying to get his hit single from 2002 out of your head, we'll just give you the answer—it's Intel's somewhat covert 12th Gen Core i5-12490F processor in black retail packaging, and now at a lower price than when it first tipped up in January.

The Core i5-12490F is an intriguing addition to the Alder Lake stack, and also one that is not widely available. Intel never formally introduced the SKU and you'll find no mention of it on any of Intel's domains, including its ARK database.To our knowledge, the Core i5-12490F is exclusive to China. That's too bad because the bang-for-buck factor looks strong with the recent price cut.

It's now listed at for 1399 Chinese Yuan or RMB, which is around $213.63 in US currency. That's down from 1620 RMB (~$254.02).

The Core i5-12490F is a 6-core/12-thread processor that consists entirely of P-cores (there are no E-cores on this model). It also features a 3GHz base clock, 4.6GHz turbo frequency, and 20MB of L3 cache. Those specifications line up with the Core i5-12500, a part that is available in the US, except the Core i5-12490F carries 2MB of additional L3 cache.

That's intriguing because in some workloads (like gaming), L3 cache is king (the very reason AMD released the Ryzen 7 5800X3D with a fat stack of 3D V-cache). A 2MB advantage when everything else is equal may not yield a huge performance advantage, but it should still perform a little better in workloads that favor more cache.

Don't be too bummed out about not having access to the black box SKU, though. It's not the only Alder Lake CPU to see a price cut. The same is true of the Core i5-12500, which is now available for $199.99 on Amazon (save $48.76 over list price).

I'd probably still shell out the extra $13 for more cache if the Core i5-12490F was available in the US, but it's nothing to lose sleep over if this is the price range you're shopping in. Additionally, the Core i5-12500 has an IGP, which can serve as a backup in case your discrete GPU bites the dust. There's also the Core i5-12400 (6C12T, 2.5GHz to 4.4GHz, 18MB L3 cache) that's on sale for $174.99. The Core i5-12490F offers higher clocks than that part and more L3 cache to boot, but the price gap is obviously wider.

The Core i5-12490F is proving popular where available, though, as the listing currently indicates it is sold out.