Intel Might Release A Binned Core i9-12900KS To Battle AMD's 3D V-Cache Ryzen Refresh

Intel Core i9 Retail Box on a light blue background.
Intel has stepped into the Alder Lake era with the launch of its 12th Gen Core processors, which so far consist of six SKUs (and really three base models, each offered with and without integrated graphics). More models are obviously on the way, and if a fresh rumor is to be believed, one of them could be a specially binned variant of Intel's flagship chip.

As things stand, the Core i9-12900K is the top dog in Intel's Alder Lake family. It is a 16-core/24-thread processor comprised of eight P-cores (Golden Cove) with Hyper Threading support and eight E-cores (Gracemont). The P-cores feature a 3.2GHz base clock, 5.1GHz all-core Turbo frequency, and 5.2GHz single-core Turbo clock.

Cooling obviously plays a role in whether or not the chip can hit its peak all-core Turbo frequency, and for how long. The so-called silicon lottery plays a part as well.

On a similar note, the folks at Videocardz have heard form their sources that Intel is readying a Core i9-12900KS processor, and that it is supposedly being tested by the chip maker's hardware partners right now. These chips would be specially binned silicon capable of a 5.2GHz all-core Turbo frequency. The cream of the crop, in other words.

Intel has done this before, namely with its 9th Gen Core i9-9900KS we reviewed a couple of years ago. The "S" in the designation stands for "Special Edition" to denote the binned status, which are capable of running stable at higher clocks. In the case of the Core i9-9900KS, Intel also increased the TDP, so there's a cost in power delivery.

There have not been any "KS" processors since then, with Intel having gone on to launch Comet Lake and Rocket Lake, and now Alder Lake. So why now? Well, we don't know for sure that a Core i9-12900KS really will manifest. If it does, however, it could be a move to be give Intel some additional benchmarking firepower to counter AMD's upcoming Ryzen 5000 series refresh.

AMD confirmed it is attaching stacked 3D V-cache to its Zen 3 processors, claiming it will deliver a 15 percent performance boost in games. That's a pretty big jump in performance that is not typically seen outside of generational upgrades.

We'll have to wait and see, though maybe not very long. The Consumer Electronics Show is right around the corner, and it's possible both are announced at the event (or around the same time).