Intel 12th-gen Core CPU lineup revealed with i9-12900K leading the charge

As expected, today Intel officially revealed the first CPUs in the 12th-gen Core lineup. In all, there were six CPUs announced today, but it seems those are just the tip of the iceberg, as Intel says the entire 12th-gen lineup will eventually comprise more than 60 CPUs (many likely destined for pre-built machines from Intel's manufacturing partners). Even though there's more to come, the flagship of the 12th-gen series was revealed today: The Core i9-12900K.

Intel says that the Core i9-12900K is "the world's best gaming processor" and seems to quantify that with turbo boost speeds, core count, and thread count. Specifically, the i9-12900K will have 16 cores, eight performance cores, eight efficiency cores, and 24 threads. Base clock speed will be 3.2Ghz for performance cores and 2.4Ghz for efficiency cores, but Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 can bring those clock speeds up to 5.2Ghz.

The Core i9-12900K will be joined by the i9-12900KF, i7-12700K, i7-12700KF, i5-12600K, and i5-12600KF. All of the processors announced today support both DDR5 and DDR4 RAM, with max memory speeds of 4800 MT/s and 3200 MT/s, respectively. All of them also have a max memory capacity of 128GB. The three K-series processors have Intel UHD Graphics 770 integrated, while it appears the three KF-series CPUs don't have any integrated graphics to speak of. These are the first processors made with the Intel 7 process, which is the company's rather confusing new name for its 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process.

Intel boasts today that these are the first CPUs in the industry to support PCIe 5.0. While each CPU supports a maximum of 20 PCIe lanes, they only support "up to" 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes – the remaining four lanes will be PCIe 4.0. The processors also support Intel Killer WiFi 6E, which could help spur faster adoption of the new WiFi standard. Check out the table below for more specifics on each of these processors:

Compared to the Core i9-11900K, Intel says that the Core i9-12900K offers "up to 25% more FPS on Troy: A Total War Saga, up to 28% more FPS on Hitman 3, and up to 23% FPS on Far Cry 6." We're also unsurprisingly told that these CPUs will complete tasks like photo editing, video editing, and multi-frame rendering faster, but as is usually the case, these are fairly nebulous claims. We'll need to wait until these CPUs are out in the wild before we can get real-world performance benchmarks and make more specific gen-over-gen comparisons.

It won't be long before that happens, as Intel is looking to begin shipping out these unlocked processors on November 4th, with pre-orders opening today and prices ranging between $264 and $589. Of course, the big question is whether or not Intel will have the stock to keep up with demand from both consumer segments and its partners producing pre-built PCs, and that seems to be a worry Intel is well aware of.

In its announcement today, Intel said that it plans to ship "hundreds of thousands" of 12th-gen K-series CPUs by the end of the year – a number that will grow to 2 million by the time we close the book on March 2022. That quantity seems to be earmarked specifically for regular customers, as Intel says that it will also be shipping 28 other SKUs to OEM partners. Whether or not that will be enough to keep up with demand, especially now when PC hardware is particularly difficult to come by and has been for months, remains to be seen.