Intel Core i5-12600K Processor: Review (Special)| Overclocking| Benchmark | Specs

Overview of the Intel Core i5-12600K processor

Intel Core i5-12600K Processor: Review (Special)/ Overclocking/ Benchmark/ Specification (Specs)- The long-awaited 12th generation Intel Core desktop processors are finally on sale. And for the first time in a long time we are talking about a fundamentally new product. A new platform with a new Socket LGA 1700, a new chipset with support for new interfaces (for example, PCIe 5.0), a new RAM standard (although Alder Lake CPUs are friends not only with DDR5, but also with DDR4), a new form factor (dimensions of fresh solutions have grown over LGA 115x/1200 compatible predecessors), a new architecture, and a new overclocking technique.

Our copy of the Core i5-12600K remained stable at 4900/3900 MHz (P-cores/E-cores).

For those wishing to independently understand the technical features of the Alder Lake family, how the CPU interacts with system components and technologies used in these stones , we recommend that you study the detailed multi-page guide from Intel .

If there is no time (or patience) for this, we will briefly tell you about the most significant innovations that the twelfth generation of CPUs offer (in particular, the 10-core Core i5-12600K).

Hybrid architecture and hybrid cache

Alder Lake processors are hybrid (although information appears on the network that not all stones from this family will be so). Two types of cores are hidden under the metal cover of these CPUs: P-cores (Golden Cove) and E-cores (Gracemont).

The former are designed for single-threaded and light tasks (single / lightly-threaded performance), the latter for complex calculations that involve many threads.

Intel Thread Director technology helps to correctly distribute the load between cores / threads (it monitors and analyzes processes in real time). It is it that allows the OS (and here we are talking mainly about Windows 11) to rationally and efficiently use CPU resources to perform a particular task.

690 платформа интел

The same instructions and MSRs (instruction set and model specific registers) are shared between E-cores and P-cores, but the available instruction sets when hybrid computing is enabled are limited compared to the instruction set supported by P-cores.

The hybrid architecture of Alder Lake processors takes advantage of the critical innovations of the Windows 11 operating system (this is an official statement from the developers), although the 12th generation CPUs are compatible with both Windows 10 and Linux.

Supported OS

You probably noticed that the new CPUs have increased cache size (in particular, L2), and besides, it has become a hybrid. It is important to note that Intel Smart Cache (L3 and L2) reduces loading times in games and increases frame / s.

hybrid cache
Hybrid Cache

Non-inclusive 12-way L3 associative cache or Last Level Cache (LLC) shared across all CPU cores (maximum 3MB per P-core or four E-cores depending on CPU model) and integrated graphics.

The first level cache (L1) is divided into data cache (DFU) and instruction cache (IFU). For P-cores, the formula is as follows: 48 KB for data and 32 KB for instructions. For E-cores: 64 KB for data and 32 KB for instructions.

The second-level cache, also called “middle cache” (MLC), contains both data and instructions. The volume for P-cores is 1.25 MB (per core), four E-cores share 2 MB among themselves.

Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 и Power Limit

Alder Lake processors use familiar technologies that manage heat, power, and CPU power on their own. Smart automation prevents the stone from overheating, and it also creates barriers to operating the CPU at a constant maximum.

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Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 (ITBMT 3.0) selects the fastest cores (in terms of clock speeds) and passes this information to the OS (not supported by the Core i5-12600K stone ).

And Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 makes sure that the processor cores (both in single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks) and integrated graphics work at values ​​close to the maximum (of course, within safe voltage and TDP).

The same option increases the CPU power (up to PL2 level) above the base TDP for short periods of time. In this regard, the developers are reminded of the need to use a high-quality cooling system that will cope with the inevitable temperature fluctuations .

Power Limit in Alder Lake Processors

It is important to add that along with the release of the Alder Lake CPU family, Intel abandoned the abbreviation TDP (Thermal Design Power) in favor of PBP (Processor Base Power) and MTP (Maximum Turbo Power). Now the official specifications indicate the nominal heat dissipation and the maximum (for short periods of time).

How to cool 12th generation processors?

Even before the direct announcement of the 12th generation Intel Core CPU, manufacturers of cooling systems began to release mounting kits for the Socket LGA 1700 on the market, since the old fasteners were supposedly not compatible with the new cutouts on motherboards of the 600th series. This fact frightened or at least surprised many.

In reality, everything turned out differently. Motherboards with the Intel Z690 chipset from popular manufacturers (eg ASUS) support existing mounting systems (holes are cut out on the PCB for both LGA 115x/1200 and LGA 1700).

Core i5-12600K и Core i5-11400F
12600 i 11400f

However, Intel reminds that the LGA 1700 socket has a deeper seat than the LGA 115x/1200, which means that not all COs released before the advent of the Alder Lake family of CPUs can provide tight contact between the cooler base and the cover CPU. To a greater extent, this applies to cooling systems that do not use a spring mechanism.

We tested the Core i5-12600K with the old Noctua NH-D15S (LGA 115x/1200 mount) and the new NH-U12A (LGA 1700). In both cases, approximately the same result was obtained (in terms of temperatures), and there were no problems with the density of contact.

Core i5-12600K :RAM DDR4/DDR5

Here, a potential Alder Lake CPU owner also has a choice. In retail, motherboards based on the Intel Z690 chipset are available both with slots for DDR4 and DDR5 brackets. We got a variant with support for a more age standard .

The XMP profiles worked stably, but the XPG Spectrix D50 DDR4-3600 modules (2×8 GB) on the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 board refused to overclock normally. And here it is advisable to recall the Gear 1 and 2 modes.

The first option (synchronous Gear 1) is limited to a maximum of 3733 MHz (DDR4-3733 or lower), the second one (the memory controller frequency is two times lower than the physical RAM frequency) does not have a frequency ceiling .

But even in the 1:2 format (Gear 2), our kit did not go above 4000 MHz (although on the Intel Z490 platform it perfectly conquered the mark of 4133 MHz). Increasing the voltage and playing with timings did not give any result.

Core i5-12600K

Which operating system to choose for a PC with an Intel Alder Lake processor?

The developers recommend using Windows 11 exclusively (and testing the 12th generation Intel Core stones only on it), since the mentioned Intel Thread Director technology is optimized specifically for this OS. We did just that, but here there are some peculiarities.

The Core i5-12600K is an extremely powerful processor.

Certain games refuse to run (or work incorrectly) on Windows 10/11 when paired with an Alder Lake CPU (list includes popular titles).

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We only had difficulties with Total War: Three Kingdoms, but this was enough to draw the attention of the developers to the existing problem (they claim that they will fix the situation over time).

Other games regularly used during testing and system programs/benchmarks/utilities functioned correctly on PCs with Alder Lake CPUs and Windows 11.

Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770

The integrated video core in the Core i5-12600K (it is based on the Xe architecture) supports 8K HDR resolution and is capable of displaying a picture simultaneously on four displays (in 4K format). And, perhaps, this is where the positive innovations of the Intel UHD Graphics 770 end.

Intel UHD Graphics 770
Intel UHD Graphics 770

It is impossible to play games (in 1080p resolution) on the UHD Graphics 770 (only displaying pictures and watching videos). The results obtained prove that there are no cardinal differences in terms of performance compared to the UHD 750 and UHD 630.

Ghost Recon Wildlands
Rainbow Six Siege

Technical features of the Intel Core i5-12600K processor

Core i5-12600K is a hybrid processor with 10 physical cores (6 P-cores and 4 E-cores) and 16 computing threads. The cores operate at different clock speeds, and this, at first glance, is rather strange.

P-cores are faster (3700/4900 MHz). E-cores operate at a frequency of 2800/3600 MHz, depending on the load. By the way, the popular CPU-Z utility displays only the current P-cores in the corresponding column, but, as it turned out, the overall performance of the CPU largely depends on the clock frequency of the E-cores.

 Intel Core i5-12600K
Technical processIntel 7
FamilyAlder Lake
SocketLGA 1700
P-nuclei / E-nuclei6/4
Computing Threads16
Clock frequency P-cores3700/4900 MHz
Clock frequency of E-cores2800/3600 MHz
L2 cache9.5 MB
L3 cache20 MB
Processor Base Power125 W
Maximum Turbo Power150 W
Memory supportDDR5-4800
2 channels, 128 GB maximum
Integrated graphicsUHD Graphics 770
Unlocked multiplierYes
Direct Media Interface (DMI)4.0
PCI-Express4.0 and 5.0
Intel Hyper-ThreadingYes
Instruction SupportIntel SSE4.1, SSE4.2
Intel AVX2
Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0Not
Intel Turbo Boost 2.0Yes
Number of PCI-E lanes20 (1×16+4, 2×8+4)

The Core i5-12600K has twenty PCI-E lanes (1×16+4, 2×8+4), there is support for the fourth version of the interface and the fifth. Some users may have noticed that there are no AVX-512 instructions among those compatible with the Alder Lake CPU (although the Rocket Lake family is friends with them ).

In fact, only P-cores support them, although AVX-512 is not a validated feature in 12th generation processors (the option is not provided in Intel’s reference BIOS).

On some motherboards, it is possible to enable AVX-512 instructions when disabling E-cores, but activation may affect the stability, functionality, security and performance of the PC.

Core i5-12600K and DDR4-3600 memory
Core i5-12600K and DDR4-4000 memory

The nominal TDP of the Core i5-12600K (although now you need to use the term Processor Base Power) is 125 W, the maximum (Maximum Turbo Power) is 150 W. During testing, the stone never emitted more than 135 watts of heat (according to the HWiNFO program). We are not talking about overclocking.

The Noctua NH-U12A cooler coped with such appetites at medium fan speeds (1000 rpm, this is a 100% silent option), and the temperature under load did not rise above 73 degrees.

Watts begin to grow only after manually increasing the nominal clock speeds, but we will talk about this later.

Test stand:

Performance and test results

Many people still remember the days when the Core i5 processors were equipped with four physical cores (some still use these stones in home / work systems). Then they became 6-core (starting from the eighth generation), and now the Core i5 is a 10-core CPU.

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Therefore, it is not surprising that today’s guest confidently outperforms both the Core i7-11700K and the Core i9-10900 in professional benchmarks. In the overclocked format, the Core i5-12600K even imposes a fight on the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X.

In single-threaded tasks , Alder Lake stones have no equal (the difference with their predecessors is noticeable), but in games, the Core i5-12600K only occasionally indulges in additional fps (often this happens in Full HD resolution).

The Core i5-12600K is an extremely powerful processor, and it only costs $290 (for its performance, it really is “everything”).

Core i5-12600K: Overclocking

Before we got acquainted with the Alder Lake family of CPUs, it seemed to us that overclocking these stones would be a real test. After all, new parameters and variables have been added to the overclocking process (which are worth only two types of cores). But in fact, everything is not so scary.

In single-threaded tasks, the ” stones” of Alder Lake have no equal.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 motherboard BIOS settings feature options familiar from previous CPU generations. The difficulty lies only in the fact that now, in order to obtain the optimal result (that is, the effect of overclocking), it is necessary to increase the clock frequency of both the P-cores and the E-cores.

The developers themselves recommend adjusting only the CPU multiplier, voltage (CPU Core Voltage) and Ring frequency (if necessary). Nothing more.

We tried to overclock only E-cores, only P-cores, or both. The results are shown in the table. The clock speed of P-cores has a greater effect on performance (both single-threaded and multi-threaded) than E-cores (they are very reluctant to accept additional megahertz). But the maximum effect is achieved from overclocking both types of cores.

The TDP of the stone does not change in any way if only E-cores are overclocked (135 W in any case). Heat dissipation grows only after increasing the voltage and overclocking the P-cores (according to the data of the HWiNFO monitoring program).

Core i5-12600K and 5 GHz

Our copy of the Core i5-12600K remained stable (passed all tests) at 4900/3900 MHz (P-cores/E-cores). The voltage was manually increased to 1.38 V. We managed to run the stone at 5 GHz (P-cores), but the test cooling system could no longer cope with this task (200 W and 96 degrees under load). For E-cores, an indicator of 3900 MHz is an insurmountable barrier .

As you can see, in terms of clock speeds, the Core i5-12600K does not offer anything outstanding, but even such modest frequency bonuses have a huge impact on performance in multi-threaded tasks.

There is reason to believe that the Core i5-12600K, cooled with high-quality water , is able to function stably at 5100-5200 MHz (P-cores), but in this case, at least 200-250 W of heat will have to be removed.

разгон Core i5-12600K
The effect of overclocking P-cores / E-cores Core i5-12600K


This is not the first time that Intel has launched a “growth product” on the market. Alder Lake processors are hardly needed by anyone right now. After all, Windows 11, which these stones are aimed at, has not yet been fully polished . This also applies to the 600-series platform. But already today, 12th generation CPUs are setting the benchmark for future devices.

Curious and useful innovations in the 12th generation Intel Core processors are more than enough. Many of them concern internal structural relationships (between cores, cache, interfaces, etc.) and architectural aspects. Therefore, the end consumer may not notice the real benefit from them (after all, the existing principles of interaction / work with a PC, OS and programs / games have not changed with the release of fresh processors).

But it is hardly possible not to notice the significant performance boost offered by Alder Lake CPUs. This, in our opinion, is their main feature. Recommended.

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