Intel Core i9-12900KS Vs 12900K Vs Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Which Processor should You Buy?

Tech Industry

If you’re looking for the best processor for PC gaming and content creation then you have quite a few options from both Intel and AMD right now depending on your budget. However, both companies have taken different approaches in their attempts to claim the gaming crown for the rest of 2022 – Intel with it’s turbocharged Core i9-12900KS and AMD with it’s 3D V-Cache enabled Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

The former is essentially a speed-binned, tweaked version of the Core i9-12900K – already a fast CPU in both games and content creation. With the new KS model, though, Intel has pushed every single boost frequency up a notch, sometimes by as much as 300MHz, which you can see in the table below.

The Core i9-12900KS costs $750, which is around $150 more than the standard moidel. Higher frequencies mean more performance, but also a more power-hungry processor and below you can see the result of Intel’s tweaking in games, content creation and also in power consumption. As well as the Core i9-12900K and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, I’ve added results for several other AMD CPUs, with all these results using the latest Windows 11 updates and drivers as of May 2022.

Test system and benchmarks

The test system uses the latest drivers and Windows 11 updates that were up to date as of May 2022 and I’ve re-tested every CPU in the graphs too – I’d check every review out there to make sure they state the same as these things do make a big difference to the results. Default BIOS settings were used and I used the latest version for Asus ROG MAximus Z690 Apex motherboard that according to Asus is 12900KS-optimized too, while the correct memory settings applied using XMP profiles. You can see graphs with other CPUs here.

The hardware includes an Nvidia RTX 3070, custom water-cooling system featuring Corsair Hydro X components and a Barrow Ropilema test bench. I’ve also used 16GB of Corsair 3466MHz Vengeance Pro RGB memory and 32GB Kingston 5,200MHz Fury DDR5 memory along with an RM850x power supply. I used an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Apex motherboard to test the 12th Gen Intel CPUs, and a Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master motherboard to test the AMD CPUs.

I’ve also included overclocked results in the graphs too so you can see how each CPU performs with a bit of manual tweaking. This is useful as some CPUs such as the Ryzen 9 5950X can actually hit far higher all-core speeds with a manual overclock than stock speed or any of AMD’s enhanced boosting technologies.

Ryzen 9 5950X – 4.6GHz, 1.268V

Ryzen 9 5900X – 4.6GHz, 1.25V


Ryzen 7 5800X – 4.6GHz, 1.25V

Core i9-12900K – 5.1GHz P-cores, 4GHz E-cores, 1.36V

There wasn’t a huge difference between the CPUs in Metro Exodus Enhanced edition, but the Core i9-12900KS was joint top by a couple of frames per second, adding 2fps on top of the minimum 99th percentile frame rate of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

It edged ahead of the AMD CPU in Watch Dogs: Legion too, claiming the top spot and was noticeably faster than other AMD CPUs. Clearly, though, the extra cash it demands isn’t worth it over either the Core i9-12900K or Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

Above in Far Cry 6 we can see a clear case of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D delivering exceptional gaming performance and for a lot less than the Core i9-12900KS too. However, the Intel CPU is once again near the top of the pack and noticeably faster than the Core i9-12900K.

Multi-threaded performance was off the chart with another 1,000 points added to the multi-thread Cinebench score.No other CPU got close at stock speed, but once overclocked the Ryzen 9 5950X did beat it, adding another 1,500 points or so to the score. Sadly, this is where the Ryzen 7 5800X3D lags behind, with its lower frequencies generally resulting in poorer content creation performance than the Ryzen 7 5800X.

With its massive peak boost speeds, it was no surprise to see the Core i9-12900K hit the highest single-thread score in Cinebench – the first I’ve seen over 2,000 points too. It’s also one graph that supports AMD’s aim of improving single-thread performance with its next generation Zen 4 CPUs – its aging Zen 3 lineup is definitely showing its age here.

Once again the Core i9-12900KS topped the chart and by a wide margin over the Core i9-12900K and once again the Ryzen 7 5800X3D showed it’s not particularly at home outside of games.

That said, the AMD CPU’s 3D V-Cache did seem to improve performance in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, with a higher score in this combined benchmark than the Ryzen 7 5800. However, it was miles behind the Core i9-12900K and Core i9-12900KS.

The down side to topping the charts with this brute force method? Absolutely massive power consumption. The new Asus BIOS seems to open the taps on the power limits for the Core i9-12900KS further than when I first tested the CPU a few weeks ago. Under full load, the test system hit 489W at stock speed and got decidedly toasty too, regularly topping 90°C even with custom liquid cooling.


In many ways, this is perhaps the best speed-binned special edition CPU that Intel has produced. They’re always niche, expensive, power-hungry and even questionable too, but in these tests at least it’s also ridiculously fast using the latest BIOS versions, offering noticeably better performance in most tests than the Core i9-12900K, matching or bettering the Ryzen 7 5800X3D in games while massively outperforming it and every other AMD in content creation.

The diabolical power consumption and hefty price premium are a concern, but if you were sensible, you’d opt for the Core i9-12900K anyway, or maybe the Ryzen 7 5800X3D if you’re mainly focusing on gaming performance, especially if you already own an AMD Ryzen system. However, this time at least, Intel’s special edition Core i9 does at least pack a massive punch in performance, as well as your wallet and electricity bill.


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