First look at Intel’s new processor – it’s so fast

There is a lot that is new and interesting with Intel’s new Alder Lake processors and the Z690 chipset. Not only is it a new processor, faster clocked and more cores than previous Core models, but it is also built in a completely new way. For the first time, Intel is adopting a processor design that combines fast and slow cores.

In the new top processor Core i9-12900K, it means eight cores with top performance and eight extra that will relieve it with simpler tasks. Intel calls these P and E cores, Performance and Efficient. In addition, it is of course multi-threading to be able to handle more extreme parallel calculations. However, this only applies to the Performance cores, so in total it can handle 24 parallel threads.

Here, the new Windows 11 can do a lot of the work, and has routines for dynamically distributing the tasks on the various cores as needed. It also works in other systems, but then requires extra software, in Windows 11 it is built into the system.

Processor cooler
Here somewhere, behind Asus’ spectacular cooler (yes, with a built-in screen!) It sits.

More new technology

Other things that are new and interesting with the new hardware are the introduction of ddr5 memories that increase memory speeds another notch, and pci express 5.0 which does the same for pci cards and ssd storage.

We got hold of a processor in advance and have made some initial measurements with it to see what all this means. For this we built a new test computer with Asus’ new motherboard ROG Maximus Z690 Hero, 64 gigabytes of Corsair’s Dominator Platinum memories in ddr5 design, an efficient processor cooler, ROG Ryujin II 360. And of course Windows 11.

The only thing in the computer that is not completely performance-enhanced is its simple ssd and graphics card. Here we run a simple m.2-ssd with pcie 4 connection and the Intel processor’s built-in graphics circuit. There are so far no pcie 5.0 gadgets available here, and these parts also do not affect the result when we measure the processor, which is the focus here.

New performance record

So how fast is it going? After installing and updating Windows and all the motherboard drivers, we launch our standard software to measure cpu performance, Cinebench R23, and run a standard test.

Here we can directly see some interesting things. Cinebench states that we have 16 cores and 24 threads available. This means that it uses all the processor cores, but as I said, only the Performance cores have hyperthreading. Efficient cores are not all high-performance programs and games that are even used for this type of calculation, but they can be left to other background operations to flow freely. But Cinebench uses the entire processor and we can therefore get a huge gear in its multi-core test.

Cinebench R23
In Cinebench R23, we see many cores working together.

The threads we get pull a real steamroller. With only a moderate increase in heat on the cores, we get at best 26,988 points in the multi-core test, and 1,972 points for a core. These are not numbers we’ve seen with a Core or AMD Ryzen processor before. To find something more powerful, we have to go up to Intel Xeon and AMD Threadripper processors with between 22 and 64 cores, and you will hardly learn to have them in a computer at home.

Easier overclocking without problems

An extra overclocked AMD Ryzen 9 5950X can reach that level for multi-core operations. But these are the results for the Core i9-12900K without overclocking. We are not overclocking geniuses here at PC for Everyone, but you no longer need to be to squeeze a little extra performance out of a processor. Intel has its own so-called “one click” solution for automatically overclocking the processor, and in our motherboard from Asus there is also an easy way to do it in bios.

We choose to test Asus automatic overclocking called AI Overclocking. We do not know how much artificial intelligence it uses, but it makes measurements at start-up and adjusts energy and clock frequency within safe limits. With it activated, we get a few more percent computer power out of the processor without it getting too hot. The multi-core test raises from 26,988 to 28,503 points, and for a core we go from 1,972 to 2,084 points.

Armory Crate
We do not even have to look into the bios to overclock, we activate it in the program Armory Crate. Other motherboard manufacturers may have their own solutions for this.

How well this works can of course vary, both between individual processors, and above all how efficient your cooling is. With our powerful liquid-based cooling, with such a large heat sink and fans that we had to change the computer box to make room, we can handle this increase, and certainly much more manually, without problems. But keep that in mind before you start manually screwing up parameters.

High results in more programs

Because we test the processor before Intel allows public performance figures, we avoid running our second standard test program, Geekbench, as it does not show results without also syncing them to its servers. However, we can see that some such measurement results have been leaked, and they show the same thing, a substantial increase in performance. Instead, we run Passmark’s cpu test that allows offline results.

Here too we get the same good results. Like Geekbench, Passmark does a collection of different types of calculations that require different things from the processor. It gives a more realistic picture of performance in mixed use than the rendering of a 3D environment that Cinebench runs.

Here, too, the result is a significant boost to previous highs, 38,094 points before we overclocked and 39,991 points afterwards. In any case, it’s a boost for Intel processors. If we look at the measurement results we get and compare with Passmark’s official figures for previous processors, we seem to be pulling evenly with an AMD Ryzen 5900X, while we are far ahead of this processor’s predecessor, Intel Core i9-11900K.

CPU Mark
Passmark CPU Mark.

The use determines the value

This is not extremely surprising given that the AMD processor has the same number of active threads. Synthetic tests such as these also do not show the whole picture of a processor’s qualities. It is also about how well it interacts with other computer parts and different types of software. So there may be gains with a new cpu, ddr5 memory and a new chipset that not pure benchmarks can show.

What do you do with all this performance? If you run heavy creative programs like Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, 3D modeling in programs like AutoCAD and Blender, or if you play games, or develop them, there is almost no upper limit to how much extra performance you can benefit from. The time you can save on quickly rendering a video file or switching filters and effects in different programs in lightning speed can be valuable, especially and you do it like a pro.

Of course, other things like a good graphics card and fast storage also come into play here. That is why we are not ready. Now we have checked out the processor, the next step is to craft together a perfect PC around it with more height components. Keep an eye out for this on PC for Everyone.


Measurement results

Without overclocking
Cinebench R23, multiple cores: 26 988 points
Cinebench R23, a core: 1,972 points
Passmark CPU Mark, total: 38,094 points
Passmark CPU Mark, a core: 4 184 points

With Asus automatic ai overclocking
Cinebench R23, multiple cores: 28,503 points
Cinebench R23, a core: 2,084 points
Passmark CPU Mark, total: 39,829 points
Passmark CPU Mark, a core: 4 444 points