Intel's 12th Gen Core i9 12900KS flagship is out in the wild

Intel Core i9 12900K up-close images with the chip exposed
(Image credit: Future)
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Intel’s upcoming 12th Gen flagship CPU, the Core i9 12900KS, is already in the hands of users. This indicates that the launch is imminent and if rumors are true, the 12900KS will launch later in March.

According to a post at overclocking.com (opens in new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)), a user by the name of Daginatsuko has already received a retail 12900KS that they purchased prior to the listing being removed. The packing certainly looks well presented, complete with the inclusion of a mock wafer.

The post includes a screenshot of the CPU paired with an Asus motherboard. An idle BIOS temperature of 78°C is notable, though perhaps just the result of a bad cooler mount. It's not a leap to suggest that nothing short of a top-end air cooler or AIO will be sufficient to keep this CPU from throttling under an all-core load. We’ll have to wait and see if there will be any overclocking headroom. At a 5.5GHz single-core boost, it would seem as though that’s about the maximum on ambient cooling.

The BIOS screenshot includes what Asus calls the ‘SP’ rating which is essentially a measure of the quality of a CPU. It serves as an indicator of what kind of overclocking potential it may have based on its voltage and frequency points. A higher number is better and at 155, this 12900KS sample is very good indeed.

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The Core i9 12900KS was first teased by Intel during its CES 2022 presentation (opens in new tab). It is proof of the strength of Intel’s ‘7’ production process. It comes with a 5.5GHz single-core boost clock, which is 300MHz higher than the Core i9 12900K (opens in new tab). The KS can boost to up to 5.2GHz across all cores. This is an increase of 200MHz over the 5.0GHz boost clock of the 12900K.

We don’t yet know what the purchase price will be or what the TDP is of the 12900KS, but it's safe to say it will carry quite a price premium (opens in new tab) over the base 12900K. The standard 12900K comes with a 241W PL2 rating so we’d expect the 12900KS to be able to pull more than that, perhaps even 300W. That’s high to be sure but enthusiasts chasing the best possible performance aren’t going to be bothered by a few extra watts. It's all about performance.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.