Intel's next-gen Alder Lake CPU launch is so close it's leaking everywhere

A shot of Intel's Core i9 12900K from an early shipped unit.
(Image credit: Seby9123)

Intel hasn't unveiled the exact Intel Alder Lake release date, but it's probably November 4. It's soon enough that some PC builders have received their chips already. Whoops. What's more, a listing spotted today at Micro Center also gives us an idea on pricing for the top gaming chips.

Let's start with the fancy 12th Gen package that lucky Reddit user Seby9123 received in the mail. Not only does it include an Intel Core i9 12900K, it's stored safely inside a fancy fake faux gold wafer case. Very neat.

(Image credit: Seby9123)

What's not so neat is the lack of compatible Z690 motherboards available to run it today. But not long to wait for those, it seems.

Over to Microcenter, and while the listings are no longer live, leaker momomo_us managed to catch the Core i9 12900K and Core i7 12700K product pages before they disappeared.

The Core i9 12900K is listed for $669.99, which is $120.99 or so more than the recommended customer price of the Core i9 11900K ($409).

The Core i7 12700K is listed for $469.99, which is $60.99 more than the recommended customer price of the Core i7 11700K.

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Both mark availability from November 4, 2021, which tallies with previous rumours for Alder Lake availability, and both are a fair bit pricier than their 11th Gen counterparts, though these are not confirmed to be the exact prices come release. I wouldn't put it past Intel to launch at these prices, however. 

The Core i9 12900K is a 16-core processor and importantly cheaper than the Ryzen 9 5950X, AMD's $799 16-core processor, and that might be all Intel needs it to be.

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There are important differences there, of course. Intel Alder Lake's cores are separated into Performance Cores and Efficiency Cores, unlike AMD's more straightforward Zen 3 core architecture. Well, as straightforward as a CPU core architecture can be.

Meanwhile, the Core i7 12700K will certainly be billed as a 12-core chip, and as such will be trying to best AMD's Ryzen 9 5900X, a $549 chip.

Intel will want to keep margins high and competing with AMD, and these proposed prices appear to straddle both of those things. Both AMD Ryzen chips have been around for a while though, so slightly cheaper prices aren't out of the question for the red team. 

The main takeaway is this, though: Intel Alder Lake is coming, and soon, and you can probably expect prices a little cheaper than AMD core-for-core, but actually higher than Intel's Rocket Lake chips.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.