The Best Intel Processors, Ranked

The Best Intel Processors, Ranked

Intel released its 12th Gen Intel Core family of sixty processors for three segments—mobile, desktop, and embedded. The main selling point of these processors is that they have a performance hybrid architecture, which fuses the Performance-cores (P-cores) and Efficient-cores (E-core).

However, this is just one of the many factors you need to consider when choosing a processor. Alongside a processor’s number of cores and speed, you need to consider the thread performance, the cache size, and even the processor graphics.

So, what is the best Intel CPU?

7. Intel Core i7-12700

The i7-12700 processor belongs to the desktop segment and debuted in 2022. It has twelve cores, eight of which are P-cores, while the others are E-cores.

Related: Key Facts About Intel’s 12th Gen Processors You Might Have Missed

Knowing how many CPUs are associated with a specific core type is important because each core type has a unique function. For example, the P-cores manage single-thread performance and computer responsiveness, while the E-cores manage multithreaded performances and facilitate scalability.

This processor has twenty threads. It also has a maximum speed of 4.90GHz, with a 4.80GHz maximum speed for its P-core and 3.60GHz for its E-core. The i7-12700 processor cache size is 25MB, and the maximum compatible RAM is 128GB.


6. Intel Core i7-12700K

The i7-12700K Processor is similar to the i7-12700 Processor. They belong to the same segment, have the same number of cores, have the same cache size, and use the same processor graphics—Intel UHD Graphics 770.

Related: The Silicon Lottery: Why No Two Processors Are the Same There’s one simple reason you would select the i7-12700K Processor over the i7-12700 Processor, and that reason is speed. Of course, it’s never a wise decision to select one processor over another based simply on its performance speed. However, in a situation like this, where two processors have the same cache size, cores numbers, and processor graphics, processor speed is what it comes down to.

The i7-12700K Processor has a maximum speed of 5.00GHz, the P-core maximum speed is 4.90GHz, and the E-core maximum speed is 3.80 GHz.

5. Intel Core i9-12900H

The i9-12900H Processor is in the mobile segment. Though desktops typically perform better than laptops, this processor deserves to be fifth. This processor has six P-cores and eight E-cores, for a total of 14 cores. Having eight E-cores means that the i9-12900H Processor facilitates a greater level of scalable multitasking than the i7-12700K Processor.

The base power of the desktop processor above is greater than the i9-12900H mobile processor. However, though both processors share the same maximum speed, the i9-12900H processor P-core is 0.10GHz faster than the i7-12700K processor.

Intel processor on motherboard

The i9-12900H processor has integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. Though the i7-12700K processor is 0.05GHz faster than the i9-12900H processor, the i9-12900H processor has 34 more execution units in its Intel Iris Xe Graphics unit.

The number of execution units integrated processor graphics have is important because they are the building block of a processor graphics architecture. Therefore, the greater the number of execution units, the better the performance.

4. Intel Core i9-12900HK

The i9-12900HK processor is similar to the i9-12900H processor above. One could even go as far as to say they are identical, as all their performance indicators are the same.

However, according to Intel, the i9-12900HK processor “is the fastest mobile processor ever” and “the highest performing mobile processor ever.” Given the previous declarations, coupled with the fact that Intel has recommended a three percent price difference between the i9-12900HK and i9-12900H processors, it is safe to say that the i9-12900HK processor also deserves its place at the fourth position.

3. Intel Core i9-12900T

The i9-12900T processor has sixteen cores, two more P-cores than the i9-12900HK processor. The i9-12900T processor has a maximum speed of 4.90GHz, making it 0.10GHz slower than the i9-12900HK processor.

However, the i9-12900T processor has 6MB more cache and can use twice the memory of the i9-12700HK processor (128GB to 64GB). A larger cache is important because it allows a CPU to find what it needs faster.

The i9-12700HK processor requires 10W more power than the i9-12900T processor. However, the i9-12900T processor has two additional cores and four additional threads that guarantee a greater performance. Because having more processor cores and threads facilitates the processing of a greater amount of data concurrently.

2. Intel Core i9-12900

Like the i9-12900T processor above, the i9-12900 processor belongs to the desktop family. They also have the same processor graphics, cache, and the same number of cores.

However, the Core i9-12900 processor has a maximum speed of 5.10GHz, making it 0.20GHz faster than the i9-12900T processor above. Additionally, the i9-12900 processor has significantly more power than the i9-12900T processor (65W compared to 35W).

1. Intel Core i9-12900K

The i9-12900K and the i9-12900 processor share some qualities. They belong to the same segment, have the same number of cores and threads, have the same cache, and use the same graphics.

The major differences between these two processors are speed and power. The i9-12900K processor has a maximum speed of 5.20GHz, making it faster than the i9-12900 by 0.10GHz. It also has 120W of processor power which is twice the power of the i9-12900 processor.

12th Gen Intel Core Processors Ranked

Rank Processor Number of Cores Max Speed Processor Base Power Vertical Segment Cache Size Processor Graphics Execution Units
1 Intel Core i9-12900K 16 5.20GHz 125W Desktop 30MB 32
2 Intel Core i9-12900 16 5.10GHz 65W Desktop 30MB 32
3 Intel Core i9-12900T 16 4.90GHz 35W Desktop 30MB 32
4 Intel Core i9-12900HK 14 5.00GHz 45W Mobile 24MB 96
5 Intel Core i9-12900H 14 5.00GHz 45W Mobile 24MB 96
6 Intel Core i7-12700k 12 5.00GHz 125W Desktop 25MB 32
7 Intel Core i7-12700 12 4.90GHz 65W Desktop 25MB 32

Evaluating Intel Processors on Your Own

Of the sixty 12th Gen Intel Core processors, the top seven (in terms of performance) have several features in common. These include the following:

  • Intel’s new performance hybrid architecture (P- and E-Core)
  • Integrated graphics processor
  • Intel’s 3.0 Turbo Boost Technology

One or more of the features above is not present in some 12th Gen Intel Core processors, and they play a critical role in a processor’s performance evaluation. However, those are not the only qualities you should look for when deciding which processor will provide the best performance for you.

How to Compare Different CPUs the Right Way

Processors have come a long way over the last decade — so much so that effectively comparing one CPU with another can be difficult. Here’s what you need to know to compare them properly.

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