Intel Core i5 12600K / Core i9 12900K "Alder Lake" Linux Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 4 November 2021. Page 2 of 14. 134 Comments

For this initial benchmarking, all of the CPUs under test were freshly (re)benchmarked using Ubuntu 21.10 with Linux 5.15 Git and Mesa 22.0-devel. The DDR4 systems were running 2 x 16GB DDR4-3600 Corsair memory while Alder Lake was making use of 2 x 32GB DDR5-4400 Corsair memory, based on only having one DDR5 kit currently but no access to 2 x 32GB DDR4 desktop memory kits at the moment. For comparison to the i5-12600K and i9-12900K were the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X, and Ryzen 9 5950X. Additionally, on the Intel side were also the Core i9 10900K, Core i5 11600K, and Core i9 11900K processors. The comparison was limited based on the time available pre-launch with only receiving the Alder Lake hardware less than one week ago.

First up was the NAMD molecular dynamics code, which came in as a big surprise to see the Core i9 12900K outperforming the Ryzen 9 5950X... The 24 threads of the i9-12900K (8 P cores + HT, plus six E cores) beating out the Zen 3 processor with 16 cores / 32 threads. The Core i5 12600K even managed to perform close to the Ryzen 9 5950X and ahead of the prior Core i9 10900K Comet Lake processor.

But this great NAMD performance does lead to consuming significantly more power than the AMD Zen 3 processors... With the default BIOS configuration, the Core i9 12900K during NAMD had a 195 Watt average power draw and a peak of 251 Watts. The Core i5 12600K had a 106 Watt average and peak of 122 Watts. The Ryzen 9 5950X meanwhile had a 130 Watt average and a peak of 142 Watts for this particular benchmark.

The Alder Lake processors were being tested with a Noctua NH-U9S heatsink with dual fan configuration while using the Noctua NM-i17xx-MP78 mounting kit. The Noctua U9S was also used for cooling the other processors under test. With the i9-12900K pulling close to a 200 Watt average during this demanding benchmark, the average core temperature on air cooling was 81 degrees with a peak of 98 degrees. The Core i5 12600K saw a 63 degree average and peak of 72 degrees during this NAMD run.

On a performance-per-dollar basis, Alder Lake currently comes ahead of Zen 3 for this NAMD benchmarking.

With QuantLib there was already strong performance with Intel Rocket Lake as this quantitative finance software hasn't performed too well on Zen 3, but now with Alder Lake its lead over AMD Ryzen 5000 series Zen 3 processors has been extended. Going from the i9-11900K to i9-12900K with QuantLib netted a 18% improvement and a similarly sized improvement from the Core i5 11600K to i5-12600K.

It's a pleasant change to see Intel delivering on leading performance-per-dollar as well.

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