Intel i9-12900K vs i5-12600K processors

Intel i9-12900K is one of the fastest processors. It has superlative performance for gamers. i9-12900K has a ready audience of gaming enthusiasts and professional graphic designers and developers. We have been looking at the older Intel core processors that would offer decent performance. It is all about looking for value for money processors for gamers, professionals, and graphics processing agencies. We have already covered i7-12700K processors and i9-12900K processors on this page. Over here, we find and list the key differences between i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors from Intel. This should help you take a firm decision about your next processor purchase for building a custom PC.

Processor Specifications

i9-12900K is the 12th generation processor from the i9 series of core Intel processors. i5-12600K is the 12th generation processor from the i5 series of core Intel processors. Both processors are one of the topline processors of the 12th generation from each series.

  • i9-12900K has 16 cores. 8 of these are performance cores and the remaining 8 are efficient cores.
  • i5-12600K has 10 cores. 6 of these are performance cores and the remaining 4 are efficient cores.
  • i9-12900K can achieve a Max Turbo Frequency of 5.20 GHz and i5-12600K can attain a Max Turbo Frequency of 4.90 GHz.
  • i9-12900K performance cores work between a base frequency of 3.20 and a Turbo frequency of 5.10 GHz. i5-12600K works between a base of 3.70 GHz and a Turbo frequency of 4.90 GHz.
  • i9-12900K efficient cores work between 2.40 GHz base to 3.90 GHz Turbo frequencies. i6-12600K works between 2.80 GHz to 3.60 GHz frequencies.

However, the important thing to note is that the higher number of performance and efficient cores of the i9-12900K will cause better performance metrics. This is also borne by the CPU benchmark scores that are shared below.

Multi-threading support

Both, i9-12900K and i5-12600K support multi-thread processing. Multi-threading allows for faster processing of simultaneous tasks.

  • i5-12600K has 16 threads for multi-threading support and processing.
  • i9-12900K comes with 24 threads for multithreading support and simultaneous processing of multiple tasks.

A higher thread count on i9-12900K leads to better performance in comparison to i5-12600K processors.


One of the significant reasons for higher processor performance has to be the cache on the processor. We look at the key differences between i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors in terms of L1, L2, and L3 cache.

  • L1 Cache – i9-12900K has an L1 cache of 64 KB per core; i5-12600K has an L1 cache of 64 KB core. Since the number of cores is higher on i9-12900K, the L1 cache is higher on i9-12900K
  • L2 Cache – i9-12900K has an L2 cache of 14 MB and i5-12600K has an L2 cache of 9.5 MB.
  • L3 Cache – i9-12900K has an L3 cache of 30 MB and i5-12600K has an L3 cache of 20 MB.
  • Intel Smart Cache – i9-12900K has 30 MB smart cache and i5-12600K has 20 MB smart cache.

In terms of cache specifications, there can be no doubt about a better and bigger cache of i9-12900K in comparison to i5-12600K.

Processor Benchmark Scores

One of the simplest performance metrics of any processor is the CPU performance benchmark scores.

  • Passmark Rating – i9-12900K has a Passmark score of 41182 for all the cores and 4211 for single. i5-12600K has a Passmark score of 27474 for all the cores and 3968 for single core.

Noticeably, the i9-12900K has a better CPU benchmark score. It has a 50% higher CPU benchmark score over the i5-12600K processor.

  • User Benchmark Rating – i9-12900K has a user benchmark score of 28757 for all the cores and i5-12600K has a user benchmark score of 21588 for all cores. The difference accounts for a nearly 30% performance gap between an i9-12900K and i5-12600K

Key Similarities

The key differences between i9-12900K and i5-12600K lie in the cache, number of cores, and number of threads. Both processors share a lot of features and essential characteristics. We list some common or overlapping features of the i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors below.

  • i9-12900K and i5-12600K come with integrated graphics based on the Intel UHD 770 display software and technology. i9-12900K’s display adapter has a marginally higher turbo frequency of the GPU. All other aspects of the integrated display and GPU are similar.
  • RAM – Both, i9-12900K and i5-12600K are compatible with DDR4 RAM 3200 MHz and DDR5 RAM 4800 MHz. There is no difference in RAM support and compatibility between i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors. Both processors can achieve a memory bandwidth of 76.8 GBps. Also, both processors can support up to 128 GB of RAM. ECC RAM is also supported by i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors.
  • PCIe 5 and PCIe 4 – i9-12900K and i5-12600K support PCIe 5 and PCIe 4 standards for data transfer. PCIe 5 can go up to 32 Gigatransfer per second. PCIe 4 can reach speeds of 16 Gigatranfers per second. i9-12900K and i5-12600K can use 20 PCI lanes for motherboard and processor communication.
  • Multiple Display Monitors – i9-12900K and i5-12600K can support up to 4 display monitors.
  • Socket – i9-12900K and i5-12600K work on the same LGA1700 socket. It is a socket that supports processors with 1700 pins. You will need a motherboard that is compatible with the LGA1700 socket for i9-12900K and i5-12600K processors.
  • Physical Size – i9-12900K and i5-12600K are similarly sized. Both have a size of 45.0 mm x 37.5 mm.
  • i9-12900K and i5-12600K can achieve a max display port resolution of 7680 x 4320 @ 60Hz.

The similarities between i9-12900K and i5-12600K indicate the more or less similar architecture of both processors.


i5-12600K is half the price of an i9-12900K. The cost difference is huge. The difference in performance between i5-12600K and i9-12900K is decent. However, for most practical tasks and an above-average gaming experience, an i5-12600K Intel processor should work well.


i9-12900K is the best processor from the Intel core family that you can buy right now. But, i5-12600K is a practical and value-for-money processor that saves costs. There is a marginal performance difference between the i9-12900K and i5-12600K. Given the similarities on major features of both processors, it comes down to a decision about your budget and willingness to accept a slightly lower performance of i5-12600K in comparison to the i9-12900K processor.

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Rajesh Dhawan

Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.