Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K “Alder Lake” in overclocked mode

Overclocking does not have the same traction as a couple of decades ago, when modern graphics cards and processors are already pressed so high that there is rarely anything more to squeeze out. With everything new that was introduced with Intel’s latest processor family “Alder Lake”, the editorial staff prioritized something other than overclocking, but now we can finally supplement with this as well.

To keep the temperatures in check, we use another cooler for overclocking, which this time is the closed water cooling system Asus Ryujin II 360. As the name reveals, the radiator has room for three 120 mm fans where the included fans are from Nocuta’s Industrial series. A final detail that does not affect performance is that the radiator has such a large screen at the cooling block that it can almost be used to watch movies.


When the editors tested the Intel Core i9-12900K, the test copy landed around 4.9 GHz with all cores active, and with overclocking it was possible to poke this up to 5.2 GHz. Voltage landed at a fairly mild 1,375 V and indicated that it might be possible to pick up the frequency a little more, but for that much higher voltage was needed.

For the model’s smaller cores, the clock frequency is set to 4.1 GHz, where depending on it, it requires considerable power, which then also affects the large cores. It is worth mentioning that the undersigned also tried to turn off the small cores in the hope of being able to squeeze out a little more from the large cores, but this was not the case and instead the performance was poorer overall.


Little brother Core i5-12600K does not take as big a step up but has to settle for a clock frequency around 5.1 GHz. In addition, there is a higher voltage that lands around 1.4 V to get a stable clock frequency. It is clear that this model did not have the same luck in the silicon lottery as its big brother Core i9-12900K, which is probably the reason why it is just a Core i5 model.

With two different cores, different frequencies are needed on these and when it comes to the smaller cores, the clock frequency ends up around 4.1 GHz here as well. Like its big brother, switching off the small cores did not provide any performance benefits, but the small variants were allowed to be part of the overclocking instead.

With the first results from the Cinebench R20 in multi-wire mode, both models take a step up in overclocked mode. For the Core i9-12900K, it is about a performance increase of around four percent, while the smaller model takes a larger step around eleven percent compared to the reference mode.

Furthermore, to the rendering tool Blender, a greater performance gain is once again seen for the smaller Core i5-12600K, which peels off 16 seconds in overclocked mode. The already high-pressure Core i9-12900K does not provide as great improvements with succeeding despite reducing the rendering time by 5 seconds.

Further to actual game titles, there are improvements for both models, where the Core i5-12600K climbs properly in overclocked mode when it comes to Battlefield V. The same can not be said at all about Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla where both models end up within the margin of error against the reference version.

Further to the 1,920 × 1,080 pixel resolution, the Core i5-12600K climbs very close to big brother Core i9-12900K in Battlefield V. Again, there is hardly any difference in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla which can be an option for multiple games. Some simply do not benefit from overclocking, while others can provide a significant increase in performance.

Overclocking almost always means a higher power consumption, but for the Core i9-12900K it only means a surcharge of 10 W. This is largely due to the fact that the model is already pressed quite high in its original position. A significantly larger difference can be seen in the Core i5-12600K, which increases by just over 100 W in overclocked mode, but it also sees quite large performance improvements.

Summary thoughts

According to the editors, overclocking does not have quite the same traction as several years ago when performance could really increase by tens of percent. Many components are already pressed so much that it rarely gives so much overclocking, while the power figures and temperature increase markedly. This fits in quite well with the Core i9-12900K, which does not get any impressive performance increases with overclocking, but fortunately no enormously increased power figures either.

The model that continues to impress is the Core i5-12600K, which sees clear increases with higher clock frequencies and in very specific cases is approaching its big brother i9-12900K. The disadvantage there is precisely the power consumption which steps up the whole 100 W, which can be too much for some. Here, there is an absolute opportunity to fine-tune a little more and still bring up the performance with a lower power surcharge.

Source: SweClockers by

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