Intel i9 family of core processors are the fastest Intel processors available. Intel i9-12900K is the 12th generation processor while the i9-10900K is a 10th generation processor. While building a new system or PC, you may have to choose between one of these two processors. We look at the key differences between Intel i9-12900K and Intel i9-10900K processors. The focus remains firmly on the core feature and capability differences between the Intel i9-12900K and i9-10900K.
In terms of CPU specifications, Intel i9-12900K and Intel i9-10900K have some significant differences.
- i9-12900K is a 12th generation i9 processor and i9-10900K is a 10th generation processor.
- i9-12900K has 16 cores and i9-10900K has 10 cores. Of the 16 cores on i9-12900K, there are 8 performance cores and 8 efficient cores.
- Intel i9-12900K has a base processor frequency of 3.2 GHz and i9-10900K has a base processor frequency of 3.7 GHz. However, you will need to take into account the higher number of processor cores on the Intel i9-12900K for measuring performance gains.
- Both processors come with multi-threading support. i9-12900K can support 24 threads and i9-10900K can support 20 threads.
- Both processors have a Turbo Boost Max frequency of 5.20 GHz. But, the Max Turbo Frequency of i9-10900K is 5.30 GHz and for the i9-12900K processor, it is 5.30 GHz.
- The Intel smart processor cache of Intel i9-12900K is 30 MB and the cache on i9-10900K is 20 MB.
- A critical difference between i9-12900K and i9-10900K is in terms of L2 cache. i9-12900K has an L2 cache of 14 MB and the i9-10900K has an L2 cache of 2.5 MB.
PCI Express Support
One of the major plus points of the Intel i9-12900K is the support for PCIe 5 and PCIe 4 standards for better data transfer speeds between the processor and motherboard. PCIe 5 Express can achieve a data transfer rate of 32 Gigatransfers per second. This is exactly double of the data transfer rates of PCIe 4 Express. PCIe 4 Express has data transfer rates of 16 Gigatransfers per second. On a 1×16 encoding, the PCIe 5 can achieve a bandwidth of 126.03 GBps and the PCIe 4 can achieve a bandwidth of 63.02 GBps.
Intel i9-10900K supports PCI Express 3. PCIe 3 has data transfer rates of 8 Gigatranfers per second. There is a substantial difference between the PCIe 5 and PCIe 3 speed of data transfer. PCIe 5 is four times the data transfer rates of PCIe 3 standards. This makes for a huge performance difference between the Intel i9-12900K and Intel i9-10900K processors.
Further, i9-12900K has 20 PCI lanes and i9-10900K can support 16 PCI lanes. The overall bandwidth of data transfer by an Intel i9-12900K is much higher than the i9-10900K.
RAM transfer speeds can make for huge differences in performance between any two processors. In the case of Intel i9-12900K vs i9-10900K, i9-12900K is much better and generations ahead of the Intel i9-10900K.
- Intel i9-12900K can work with DDR5 RAM with speeds of 4800 MHz.
- Intel i9-12900K can also work with DDR4 RAM as well. It can support data transfer speeds of 3200 MHz.
- Intel i9-10900K works with DDR4 RAM with data transfers that can go up to 2933 MHz.
The difference in the RAM speed can be substantial when you compare the DDR 5 of 4800 MHz against the DDR 4 frequency of 2933 MHz. DDR 5 RAM of 4800 MHz is more than 50 percent faster than the DDR 4 RAM of 2933 MHz RAM.
Both processors can support a maximum RAM of 128 GB in two memory channels.
- Intel i9-12900K can achieve maximum memory bandwidth of 76.8 GB per second.
- Intel i9-10900K can achieve maximum memory bandwidth of 45.8 GB per second.
We are looking at over 60 percent difference in the max memory bandwidth between i9-12900K and i9-10900K processors. That is huge if you were to use a motherboard that supports DDR 5 RAM with PCIe 5 support.
Both processors have an in-built display.
- Intel i9-12900K supports Intel UHD Graphics 770 and i9-10900K supports Intel UHD Graphics 630.
- Intel UHD 770 can go up to a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.55 GHz and UHD 630 can go up to a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.20 GHz.
- i9-12900K can achieve a max resolution of 7680 x 4320 @ 60Hz on the display port. i9-10900K can go up to 4096 x 2304 resolution on the display port.
Aside from the difference in frequency and speed, i9-12900K can support 4 display monitors. Intel i9-10900K can support 2 display monitors.
- Intel i9-12900K supports a socket of FCLGA1700.
- Intel i9-10900K supports a socket of FCLGA1200.
Compared to the 1700 pins of FCLGA1700, the FCLGA1200 socket has 1200 pins that connect to the CPU. Due to the higher number of pins on the LGA1700 socket, the size of i9-12900K is higher at 45.0 mm x 37.5 mm. i9-10900 has a size of 37.5mm x 37.5mm.
For the core features, Intel i9-12900K is designed to be faster than the i9-10900K processor. For gamers and graphics artists, the incremental investment in Intel i9-12900K will repay in terms of better speed and performance of the system. In particular, we like the following on an Intel i9-12900K processor over the Intel i9-10900K processor:
- PCIe 5 support on i9-12900K.
- DDR 5 4800 MHz RAM compatibility is another plus point.
- The difference in the number of cores of the processor must be also taken into account.
- Faster cache on i9-12900K must also be taken into account for a firm comparison between i9-12900K and i9-10900K.
You may like to read the following content related to Intel processors:
- Intel i9 11th gen vs 12th gen processors
- Intel i9-12900K vs Ryzen 9 5900X
- Intel i9-9900K – 9th generation Intel Processor
- Can Intel i9 run Windows 11
- Intel i9-10900K Processor and its details
- Does the Intel i7 come with integrated graphics
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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.