Intel Core i9-12900KS Review

Conclusion

Intel Core i9-12900KS Review

Conclusion

It seems to be the month for slightly refined versions of already existing products. We've only just looked at the Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti which was an RTX 3090 with a slight boost to the clock speeds and a little more hardware under the hood. That product, though, had the benefit of the pricing trying to keep a lid on the insane scalping that has gone on over the last two years. The Intel Core i9-12900KS, on the other hand, is a strange processor to review with so many caveats affecting our opinion.

Let's get the facts out of the way first. By virtue of being a faster model of a processor we already love, the Core i9-12900K, the Core i9-12900KS doesn't want for performance. It's like the ultimate cherry picked flagship Intel processor. 5.5 GHz when only some of its cores are in use, and 5.3 GHz most of the time on the Performance Cores, leads to the scores you've been seeing on the preceding pages. Additionally that extra clock speed has had a big effect in gaming where the minimum frame rate of our selection of titles has seen a big jump up from the vanilla i9-12900K. Also if you've ever wanted to buy something that came in a very fancy box that would look great on your shelf then we can't think of many finer CPU packaging efforts.

That's all the good news out of the way, and to be fair the news that it is faster is the kind of thing you didn't really need our testing to tell you.

The downsides are primarily two-fold. The first is the price. Yes the Core i9-12900KS is faster than the Core i9-12900K, but not by a massive margin. The price has seen a serious increase though. We know that many websites offer carefully curated processors at a price premium for those of you who demand only the very fastest silicon yields, and if you are in the group of people who feel that is a great idea then perhaps the price pump isn't going to be so problematic. Instead of giving your extra pounds to a website you're giving them to Intel for their officially cherry picked models. We're not absolutely sure than a couple of hundred Megahertz on an already spankingly quick processor is worth the extra investment.

The second one is one of cooling. The 11th Generation Intel CPUs were hot. A problem that had never afflicted Intel much before. The 12th Gen were, if anything, even warmer, requiring our beefiest AIO to tame. The Core i9-12900KS on the other hand is hot. Seriously toasty warm. We had our Noctua fans running at 3000 RPM, 100% of the time, and still regularly hit 100°C. Understandably fans running that fast - and thus loud - is intolerable. So if you are interested in the new Core i9-12900KS you have to, have to, own a full custom watercooling setup. It's non-optional. That ups the ownership price still further.

The Intel Core i9-12900KS is the best a 12th Gen Intel CPU could be, but with the caveats that you're paying more in purchase costs, running costs and cooling costs when compared to the regular 12900K, and for some extra performance but not loads. Whether those are compromises and costs you're willing to make is up to you.

Intel Core i9-12900K - £559.98
Intel Core i9-12900KS - £749.99

Intel Core i9-12900KS Review  

Discuss the Intel Core i9-12900KS in our OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

13-04-2022, 12:34:26

Gothmoth
overpriced ... not much more to say.


as most reviewers pointed out, the performance is bad for the price.Quote

13-04-2022, 13:12:18

KingNosser
Idk myself in my view it's not overpriced really as they are doing what sites done years ago and would have charged the same kind of costs if not higher, also if you'd been doing this yourself trying to find such a chip well that would work out majorly expensive.

The main difference and tbh it's smart by intel is they are profiting from the chips rather than external sources.

If you look at it as a comparison to the normal version then it's obviously not really worth it to you as your missing the point that to some out there it's worth alot too.

Myself i never had golden chips or ever looked for them but for those that do this is a good option on something that died off over the years as the gap got smaller and so not as promising enough to be viable for the sites to run.Quote

15-04-2022, 12:10:32

Avet
It is not worth it for most people but if you want to overclock and push your CPU to the edge I would recommend this over the regular one. Here is why:

My very good friend saved money for months and he bought himself a new system. 9900K Strix Z390-E board and Kraken X62 cooler with a plan that he doesn't need 9900KS, and he will just OC 9900K close to those speeds. But...

I think that he got the worst 9900K on the continent. No matter what we did it wouldn't go past 4.9GHz all core. And he really wanted to reach 5. He then went and bought a custom WC loop so we could ramp voltages a bit more without the CPU soldering itself to the motherboard, again, it wouldn't budge. He always wanted a custom loop, this was an excuse to go and do it. Then he ordered a de-lid kit from Rokit. After days of waiting we de-lided the chip and lapped it. But no matter what we did it wouldn't go past 4.9GHz all core.

The sadness and disappointment on his face when he settled on 4.9GHz... OMG Just buy KS. Those $150 more are nothing.

Don't get me wrong, he would have probably water-cooled and de-lided 9900KS but those $150 extra guarantees you that you won't get a dud. And trust me, after being with him through all the pain and suffering I would gladly pay extra for KS at any time if I was building a balls to the wall system.

It is that enthusiast thing that we all have in us, and we pay more for the privilege.Quote

23-04-2022, 23:23:07

Dicehunter
I can get 5.20GHz completely stable on my 12900K on all p-cores and 4GHz on all e-cores, Performance vs this is practically identical, I legit like seeing binned products though as to me it's very nostalgic of days gone when overclocking gave pretty huge tangible benefits and we'd see special Extreme versions of CPU's.Quote

25-04-2022, 13:01:25

Kaapstad
TBH having used both for the type of gaming I do, I would rather use a 5950X.Quote
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