Ryzen 9 7950X vs. Core i9-12900K: Which one should you choose and why?

Ryzen 9 7950X vs. Core i9-12900K: Which one should you choose and why?

Most users and hardcore overclockers may have their eyes fixed on Intel’s new processor, the i9-14900K, but the flagship Alder Lake CPU, the i9-12900K, holds a special place in everyone’s hearts. Why, you ask? Well, Alder Lake is the first processor series to introduce hybrid technology, and, most importantly, it was the first to be compatible with DDR5 RAM and PCIe_5.0. As a result, Intel’s groundbreaking leap also enticed AMD into a quest for innovations and developments to remain competitive in the industry. This led to the development of the Ryzen 7000 series, and with the pioneering Ryzen 9 7950X, AMD made a significant breakthrough in new technologies and architectures. However, every advancement comes at a price. Does the Ryzen 9 7950X manage to outperform Intel’s top processor from recent years? Which one should you choose and why? Let’s explore what makes each of them stand out and help you decide which one to ultimately go for.

A few words about the Ryzen 9 7950X.

This processor is part of AMD’s Zen 4 generation of processors, with the codename “Raphael.” It was released on September 27, 2022, and stands as the flagship of the 7000 series, excelling in both performance and the number of cores and threads it offers. Its manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) was set at $699, making it AMD’s most expensive CPU. It’s important not to confuse it with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which was released earlier this year.

What makes this chip so remarkable? It’s the pinnacle of the latest generation of Ryzen processors. With this generation, AMD has transitioned to an LGA (Land grid array) design, integrating the processor pins into the chip itself, which is a departure from the external pins we’ve been accustomed to until recently. Another noteworthy feature is that this generation supports the next-gen PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAMs, showcasing cutting-edge technologies. This represents a comprehensive overhaul and upgrade of the entire structure and architecture. As a result, compatible motherboards must feature Socket AM5 (also known as LGA 1718) and exclusively support DDR5 RAM.

We are witnessing a significant leap forward, characterized by a substantial increase in upgrade value, a shift in architecture to the 5nm process, and a substantial boost in efficiency when compared to the Zen 3 generation (“Vermeer”) processors.

Let’s meet the Core i9-12900K.

The Intel Core i9-12900K, introduced in November 2021, marked a significant milestone in the world of processors. The Alder Lake series, to which this CPU belongs, made essential contributions by facilitating the development and support of DDR5 technology for RAM and introducing PCIe 5.0. Furthermore, it pioneered the use of hybrid technology in CPUs, featuring P+E Cores, which was revolutionary both in concept and execution in the field. What’s truly astonishing is that this entire transition went remarkably smoothly, delivering unparalleled chip performance. As the flagship of this new technology era, the 12900K rightly earned accolades and recognition for its outstanding performance and uniqueness, maintaining its position at the top for an extended period.

Undoubtedly, one particularly memorable aspect is that Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs provided users with an additional advantage. They are not only compatible with DDR5 RAM but also support DDR4 RAM, which reduces the overall system cost and eliminates the need for a complete upgrade. This remains true even with the 13th generation Raptor Lake and the 14th generation Raptor Lake Refresh.

The initial price was established at $599, and the Core i9-12900K’s compatible socket is LGA 1700.

Specs comparison, price and availability.

Ryzen 9 7950XCore i9-12900K
16 Cores & 32 Threads
4.5 GHz Base Clock
5.7 GHz Max Boost Clock
Socket AM5
16MB L2 & 64MB L3 Cache
Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics
DDR5-6400 Memory
Unlocked Processor
Zen 4 Architecture
16 Cores & 24 Threads
3.2 GHz P-Core Clock Speed
5.2 GHz Maximum Turbo Frequency
LGA 1700 Socket
30MB Cache Memory
Dual-Channel DDR5-4800 Memory
Up to DDR4 3200 MT/s.
Integrated Intel UHD 770 Graphics
Hybrid Core Architecture
Unlocked for Overclocking
12th Generation (Alder Lake)

At the time of writing, the Ryzen 9 7950X can be found for $536, while the top Intel Core i9-12900K is priced at $389, well below their respective MSRP. However, it’s worth noting that the 12900K offers value, as it is priced about $150 below the 7950X.

Both of these CPUs are readily available on the market from various resellers, including Amazon and BestPrice.

Productivity and Performance Benchmarks.

It’s interesting to observe the performance of the two CPUs in various benchmarks, as well as in productivity tasks. Can the older i9-12900K truly compete with AMD’s newer chip?

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K Multi Core Performance Cinebench R23.

The results of the R.23 benchmarks on multiple threads show something expected. Since the Ryzen 9 7950X has 8 more threads than the Core i9-12900K, it dominates in performance in this benchmark.

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K Single Core Performance Cinebench R23.

It’s worth noting that the Core i9-12900K outperforms the Ryzen 9 7950X in single-core performance, reaffirming its position as the flagship leader.

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K  3D Mark Benchmark.

Here, we’ll observe a significant contrast between the Ryzen 9 7950X and the Core i9-12900K.

UL Procyon video editing Ryzen 9 7950X.

In UL Procyon, which is essentially an excellent tool for measuring productivity, I have found that there are no substantial differences between the two CPUs.

Ryzen 9 7950X vs. Core i9-12900K – Power consumption.

An important benchmark for choosing our next CPU is undoubtedly its power consumption. While Ryzen processors are designed with lower power consumption in mind, and we are aware of that, I would really like to see how much of a difference the R9 7950X makes compared to the Core i9-12900K and whether it’s worth selecting based on that metric.

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K Power Consumption.

It’s worth noting that the i9-12900K consumes significantly less power compared to Intel’s upcoming flagship chips, the i9-13900K and i9-14900K. Additionally, you’ll observe that the two chips we are comparing in this article have fairly similar consumption levels. Taking into consideration that the i9-12900K, due to its architecture, naturally operates at a higher consumption level, it appears to be quite an attractive choice.

Gaming Performance.

Essentially, in gaming, reference notes play a significant role. Factors like the graphics card, the game itself, and memory speed come into play. In an ideal customized setup, we can measure the frames per second (fps) popular titles can achieve, though, for me, the benchmark isn’t a top priority. It’s common knowledge that dedicated gamers have access to CPUs much more suitable and efficient for this purpose. The CPUs we’re comparing in this article, on the other hand, perform adequately for the task without any unnecessary frills.

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K  Borderlands 3 Benchmarks.
Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K Red dead redemption 2 Benchmarks.

We can already see that there are more suitable chips available for gaming. Nonetheless, the performance differences between the two we’re comparing today are quite marginal. I’ve observed that the i9-12900K’s performance approaches that of CPUs even two generations newer, such as the Core i5-14600K. This further solidifies Alder Lake’s top-tier status, which continues to excel in the present day.

Ryzen 9 7950X Vs Core i9-12900K Hitman 3 Benchmarks.

Ryzen 9 7950X vs. Core i9-12900K: Which one should I choose?

From my perspective, the choice is quite clear. The Core i9-12900K offers exceptional versatility as it can be used with DDR4-compatible motherboards and is priced significantly lower than the R9 7950X. In practical terms, this translates to lower overall system building costs. So, for someone looking to invest in other hardware, perhaps a better graphics card, this option is the way to go.

On the other hand, the significant advancements in Ryzen processor development haven’t gone unnoticed. There’s a substantial improvement in all aspects when compared to Zen 3, and the Ryzen 9 7950X offers excellent value in this regard. If you’re looking to fully upgrade your system to leverage the latest PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 technologies while maintaining high performance for years to come, choosing this CPU is a wise decision.

Final thoughts.

The Core i9-12900K rightfully retains its flagship CPU status and offers a compelling overall value proposition compared to Intel’s newer CPUs. Its significantly lower power consumption, attractive pricing, and maintained high-performance standards make it an appealing choice for any user, especially at a price point under $400. On the other hand, the R9 7950X represents a substantial upgrade in all aspects compared to its predecessor, the R9 5950X. It embraces new technologies, features a new 5nm architecture, and transitions to LGA. For existing Ryzen users, this CPU promises clear improvements in system operations and productivity, with its low power consumption making it a top preference.

Both chips excel in both productivity and gaming performance, and the choice ultimately boils down to personal preference. At this point, I would personally lean towards the Core i9-12900K as it offers better value for money and efficiency at the given price.

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