Intel Core i5-12600K Review

Intel Core i5-12600K Review

These new Intel processors are based on the Intel 7 manufacturing process, its classic 10nm process that other recent processors such as Tiger Lake for high-performance laptops have already been built with. Now Intel has changed the name to Intel 7 to refer to this 10nm manufacturing process in its enhanced version.

I will not go into details about architecture, my colleague Antonio explains it much better than me in this link , so I will go to the pure and hard data and above all I will focus, in this review of the Intel Core i5-12600K , on the generational differences of this processor and its closest architectural brothers Rocket Lake.

This generation introduces an important novelty, at least in the world of x86 processors, which would be the equivalent of the Big.Little technology that ARM introduced for its architecture a few generations ago and that such good balance results between performance and consumption is offering Apple its latest versions of MacBook and iMac devices.

The new twelfth generation Core, like this one or its brother the Core i9-12900K , also have performance cores and efficiency cores that allow balancing consumption when the computer does not require all its processing power, but without neglecting the performance expected from a next-generation processor.

The hybrid performance produced by these new ones is carried out by introducing new instructions such as the renewed “Branch Predictor” that is combined with the “Thread director”, also in the processor, which actively communicates with the operating system (Windows 10, Windows 11 or the latest versions of the Linux kernel are all supported) to route tasks to each kernel in the most appropriate way.

Specifications and technical characteristics of the Intel Core i5-12600K

  • P-Core base frequency: 3.7GHz
  • E-Core base frequency: 2.8GHz
  • Intel Max Turbo Frequency: 4.9GHz
  • Turbo frequency on all cores: 4.6GHz
  • Cores: 6 P + 4 E
  • Process threads: 16
  • Socket: FCLGA1700
  • Thermal Design: 125w TDP, PL2 150w
  • Smart Cache Size: 20MB
  • L2 cache size: 9.5MB
  • Internal multiplier unlocked: Yes
  • Number of PCI Express 5.0 Lanes: 16
  • Number of PCI Express Lines 4.0: 4
  • Memory configuration: Dual Channel 128-Bit DDR4-3200MHz, DDR5 4800MHz
  • Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 770
  • Intel Optane Support: Yes
  • Others: VT-x, VT-x EPT, VT-d, VPro, Intel AES, AVX-512, Intel® Deep Learning Boost

New chipsets, new socket

There is always a heated debate with Intel processors and their continuous socket changes that make their architecture poorly upgradeable over time. This in some cases has been really evident, and bleeding for the user, but the truth is that this time it is more than justified. The structural changes are important, the connective improvements are remarkable and that translates, yes or yes, in a different pin distribution, in this case with 500 more pins over the previous generation .

This clearly responds to two important elements of a modern processor, its memory controller and its external bus connectivity. In this case, the higher pinout comes more from the introduction of PCI Express 5.0 and the DMI 4 Bus than the new controller capable of supporting both DDR4 and DDR5 memory. To accommodate this increased connective capacity, which is practically double that of the previous generation, many of those extra pins that the LGA170 0 adds over the LGA1200 of the 11th generation are needed.

For these new twelfth-generation Core, we expect multiple chipsets to accommodate Intel’s different ranges of both processors and target embedded systems. The H670, B660 or H610 will be a reality as Intel puts on the market different versions of these new processors in lower ranges. At the moment the one that we will see in the market, to support these more elaborate models of the K range, is the Z690, its most powerful chipset for this generation.

The Intel Z690 introduces important connective improvements such as its renewed PCI Express 4.0 connectivity with its own lines integrated into the chipset, when before they were all PCI Express 3.0, or the change to the DMI 4 bus with the processor that also transforms its 8 PCI Express 3.0 lines into PCI Express 4.0 doubling the bandwidth to 16GT / s.

Las prestaciones del Intel Core i5-12600K

The Core i5-12600K  uses the new architecture based on Efficiency processors combined with performance cores for load balancing, achieving higher efficiencies and higher speeds in applications that are able to take advantage of their combined use or the greater processing capacity of the cores of performance. This processor has 6 performance cores called “P” and four Efficiency cores called “E” . The layer at the end of the name of the processor indicates that it is a model completely released for overclocking and we will also find on the market a KF model of this same series that eliminates the integrated graphics.

In total in this processor we will find 6 P cores and four E cores. The former have a working frequency in its most extended Turbo Boost mode, the PL2, of up to 4.9GHz, which in our tests translates into a consumption of around 190w. The PL2 mode is 150w and there the P cores stabilize at a frequency of 4.6-4.7GHz . The specified TDP for these models is 125w. P cores enjoy hyperthreading so they generate two processing threads per core.

The E cores, there are four, are also framed in the overall consumption of the processor and have a nominal frequency of up to 3.7GHz that in these models is also configurable through overclocking. These models do not have hyperthreading so the general count of this processor is 16 threads, 12 for the P cores and 4 for the E cores.

The base frequencies of this model are 3.7GHz for the P cores and 2.8GHz for the E cores. The integrated graphics, which does not evolve much over the previous generation, is an Intel UHD Graphics 770 with 32 processing units, as the previous generation, and it only improves, and little, the processing speed reaching up to 1.45GHz compared to the 1.3GHz of the previous generation, about a 10% improvement in performance. They also support important video processing elements such as the new QuickSync Video modes with support for HDR and ultra high definition in high quality formats such as HEVC / VP9.

More cores, more efficient and with better IPC is undoubtedly the great asset of these Intel processors to once again impose themselves on their competition, but we cannot leave aside other very important elements that can complete a great performance. One of them is the support for DDR5 memory, which will undoubtedly add costs to those who want to adopt it, but which increases the bandwidth of the processor, with standard speeds, from 50 to 75GBps of bandwidth in a configuration of dual channel with a maximum supported of 128GB. These processors also support DDR4, with speeds of up to 3200MHz and with the same total capacity.

Another of the great improvements of the Core i5-12600K is found in its supported PCI Express lines. It has a total of 20 PCI Express lanes, which is nothing new with respect to the previous generation, except that this time 16 of them are PCI Express 5.0 lines that double in bandwidth to their predecessors, they are 64Gbps of width. band by line. The downside is that there is currently not a single component on the market that supports this technology, neither graphics nor storage, not at least in the domestic market. The good news is that we can take advantage of PCI Express 4.0 connectivity without any inconvenience since it is fully retro compatible.

The Core i5-12600K has 20MB of Smartcache, a 60% improvement over the previous generation and also introduces a second level cache with a total of 9.5MB in this unit. According to Intel, the CPI of these processors is up to 15% higher in the P cores compared to the previous generation, 28% compared to the tenth generation, and the E cores are 1% faster than the cores of a 10th Gen Intel. In short, these processors, with all their cores combined in hybrid performance and with all their turbo potential, can be between 30 and 50 percent faster than the previous generation.

Direct competition

The Core i5-12600K is a mid-range processor that is now shown with up to 16 threads with two types of cores inside, but neither is a little sister of charity so the performance combined, in the many applications that them They will bear it, it is quite impressive. The Core i5-11600K compared at the time with Ryzen 5 5600X , or Ryzen 7 5800X , but surely these two processors have already been small in any respect him. The only problem with this processor, although it does not have a higher price match than its predecessors, is that addressing its platform with DDR5 and new motherboards will be much more expensive than in previous generations.

It has 16 threads of processing, and much more powerful performance cores per cycle than the previous generation, so 12-thread or 16-thread models from AMD, which were surely the best option until now, are easily dethroned by this new model. in each and every one of the tests we have run on our usual battery.

Only the price of the full platform and an early release from AMD can stop this remarkable performance evolution in Intel’s new 12th-generation Core processors.

Overclocking capacity, working temperatures

Something that I sincerely expected, due to the high turbo consumption offered by these processors, and the addition of cores and interfaces of these processors, is that the working temperatures of these new models would be high and worrying but the truth is that with a kit liquid cooling, with very moderate fan speeds, we can find temperatures close to 72 degrees, with nothing special in our assembly except the 360mm radiator of our CoolerMaster MasterLiquid FLUX FL360 .

This processor comes standard with a PL2 power profile of 150w, somewhat above its 125w TDP which would be its PL1 mode. At this maximum consumption we can achieve stable speeds of 4.6GHz in its P-Core and 3.7GHz in its E-Core with real consumption of 140-145w. The processor requires a variable 1.3v in this state and the stability is total and the performance is remarkable.

If we want to access its higher frequencies, 4.9GHz, we must release the PL1 mode with consumption of up to 250w, which in this model is actually around 190w. With this added consumption potential we add some more fan RPM, but the same stable temperatures and we have very stable frequency peaks of 4.9GHz with a substantial performance gain and keeping the voltages at a suitable 1.3v..

Disabling the E-Core does not mean more than a loss of performance, with conventional cooling the P-Core does not rise more than we can achieve with the E-Core also active and these, in hybrid computing, add up to 25% more performance which will be insurmountable no matter how fast we want the P-Core to be. Another fact is that raising the frequency to the E-Core, up to 4GHz, does not reach more, it represents an improvement of 3% in global performance. Another fact that I have been able to verify is that in our unit going from 5GHz is almost impossible, no matter how much voltage we apply, but we can force all the cores to this frequency, in a stable way, achieving good performance results.

Consumption at rest

Consumption on load

Standstill temperature

Charge temperature

Intel Core i5-12600K performance results

Although some of the most striking things about these processors, such as PCI Express 5.0 , is virtually impossible to test today, the truth is that these processors come with important improvements in their own capabilities that are enhanced with a wide of unknown band in this price range and of processors for mid-range environments.

The results are spectacular in all the benchmarks, with one or multiple cores, and the improvements in games are also noticeable. We must be categorical, they are an important improvement and finally a great leap for Intel with respect to its competition. Another thing is that the fundamental objective of the E-Core, which is to save energy, is overshadowed by pure performance and we do not have the presence of that management improvement that we will surely not see reflected in data and experience until this architecture reaches the portable environment early next year.

Testing machine:

  • Memory: G.SKILL Trident Z5 F5-5600 2x15GB DDR5
  • Motherboard: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon Wifi
  • Source:  Seasonic Connect 750w
  • Hard Drive :  Corsair MP600 Core
  • Cooling: CoolerMaster MasterLiquid FLUX PL360
  • Graphics card:  Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition

Sisoft Sandra. Arithmetic

Sisoft Sandra. Multimedia

Sisoft Sandra. Memory bandwidth

Cinebench R20 CPU

Cinebench R15 SMP

Cinebench R15 1xCPU

Handbrake. Less is better.

Geekbench 5 Single

Geekbench 5 SMP

Geekbench 4 Single

Geekbench 4 SMP

Testing in games. 1080 with Geforce RTX 3070. Battlefield 1

Testing in games. 1080 with Geforce RTX 3070. Doom Eternal

Testing in games. 4K with Geforce RTX 3070. Battlefield 1

Testing in games. 4K with Geforce RTX 3070. Doom Eternal

Analysis and conclusion

It is the first time in several years that we have seen Intel give a real blow to the table that places its processors as undisputed leaders with respect to the processors of its most direct competition. These models, apart from the game that they give of consumption, turbos and new interfaces, are significantly faster per cycle than their previous generations and also have more cores that, although some are designed to consume less, provide a lot of push in applications and benchmarks that they are able to take advantage of them.

The Core i5-12600K , with the right memories, and without overclocking, is a real beast that exposes its most direct competition with more real cores than it and let’s not say to the direct model that it would be the Ryzen 5 5600X which it crushes in any benchmark of 1 or several simultaneous processing threads. Something similar happens to us in our review of its older brother, the Core i9-12900K .

Apart from that I do not know if we will really know how to take advantage of these new efficient cores in the desktop market, perhaps we do not even have to realize that we are taking advantage of them, but I am afraid that in this and other reviews they will not be more than computational capacity added to the equation. Be that as it may, this is the future of x86 architecture, which with several years of delay is going to be doomed to copy a model of cores with more performance and others more efficient to compete in an increasingly diffuse and fragmented market. At least Intel’s start on this architecture looks promising.

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Spectacular performance in this range

Load management really works between P cores and E cores

Reasonable overclocking and plenty of room to play around with different processor features

The E cores also provide a good dose of performance in applications with parallel computing capacity


There are no PCI Express 5.0 components with which to take advantage of this new bus

The entrance prices to this platform are high


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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