Two chips enter, one chip leaves: It's the heavyweight desktop-CPU duel of the holiday season as Intel's and AMD's mega-core processing monsters go head-to-head. Which one prevails?
$773.99 at Amazon
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The Core i9-12900K is Intel's first truly innovative high-end desktop CPU in years, showing great potential in its performance/efficiency mixed-core design and support for DDR5 memory. Just expect a high initial cost of adoption—and, perhaps, some PC-gaming growing pains.
The 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X is the perfect pick for AMD-loyal content creators who needs tons of multithreaded muscle in a reasonably priced CPU on a mainstream platform.
Ryzen, Ryzen, Ryzen! With apologies to The Brady Bunch: For more than a few years now, everywhere you look, AMD has been dominating the content-creator market for desktop CPUs. Through multiple generations of the Zen architecture, starting in 2017, AMD has defined new limits of cores-for-the-money, revolutionizing the kind of desktop power available for media-minded applications. Professional creative users and prosumers alike couldn’t be happier with the trend.
It took until late 2021, but chip giant Intel finally has a credible response to that marching line of Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 chips treading across its traditional lawn. Take its new desktop-CPU flagship: Its first real contender in quite some time is the Core i9-12900K, part of a six-CPU launch for 12th Generation Core processors (dubbed the “Alder Lake” family) that establishes the groundwork for how Intel Core chips on the desktop will look and work for years to come.
This new flagship Core i9 chip offers up support for the most processing threads we’ve seen on a Core i9 processor that is not classified as a high-end-desktop (HEDT), cut-down server chip like the Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. (That separate HEDT class of processors, indeed, has been neglected on Intel’s roadmap in recent years, and its future is uncertain.) But is that thread-count increase alone enough to unseat AMD from its multi-year winning streak in multi-threaded content-creation performance? AMD’s current king is the Ryzen 9 5950X, a 16-core beast that debuted in late 2020 and has a list price a bit more than $150 higher than the Core i9-12900K’s (though real-world street prices are a whole other, volatile matter). Let’s fall into the details and find out.
To start off our comparison of these two top-end chips, let’s take a peek at the base specs of AMD’s and Intel’s mainstream flagships…
P-cores? E-cores? As you can see above, putting these two chips head-to-head presents an issue: We have some new kinds of cores to talk about.
With Alder Lake, Intel is finally moving beyond the aged lithography of the “Rocket Lake” 11th Generation Core line, which was a last hurrah of sorts for Intel’s 14nm process technology on the desktop. Its new Intel 7 Process (at its heart, a 10nm manufacturing process) underpins, in the Core i9-12900K, what the company is calling its “Performance cores” (P-cores) and “Efficiency cores” (E-cores).
The P-cores and E-cores are at the heart of 12th Generation Core’s new “big.LITTLE”-style architecture. This approach to chip design employs high-power and low-power processing cores. In this particular chip, the design pairs eight P-cores with eight E-cores, and divides the demands of your PC across them from moment to moment, depending on the task at hand. Only the eight P-cores are Hyper-Threaded in this new chip design, for two threads per core; that’s why the number of supported threads isn’t the usual double the number of cores.
For example, if you’re playing a PC game while talking to your friends on Discord, the load of the game will be handled by the P-cores, while the job of processing Discord is sent to the E-cores. This is all done through intelligent scheduling in Windows 11, via a service that Intel is calling Thread Director. The company says it plans to make this technology available only for that operating system. No Windows 10-based Thread Director is set for release.
On the other side of the aisle, you have AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X. Put aside the company’s HEDT-class Ryzen Threadripper chips, and the 5950X is AMD’s desktop flagship. It debuted as part of the company’s “Zen 3” desktop CPU launch late in 2020, representing the top dog in AMD’s consumer chip stack: 16 cores, with support for up to 32 concurrent processing threads. The chip is built off the same 7nm process from TSMC as its predecessor, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, which launched as a part of the “Zen 2” class in 2019, with the same core and thread count as the 5950X.
The Ryzen 9 5950X has eight more total addressable threads than what’s on offer from the Intel Core i9-12900K, but as we’ll see in our testing below, that outright advantage doesn’t always add up to an outright win. (More on that in a minute.)
WINNER: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on process technology and addressable thread count
Let’s look next at platform compatibility. Our explainer on the Intel Z690 platform (it debuted with Alder Lake) is a must-read if you haven’t seen it. It gets down and dirty with the details of the motherboard and chipset tech supporting the Alder Lake line. But for those who just want the basics, let’s run through a quick hit list.
Intel’s new 12th Generation chips come with a change to yet another new motherboard socket, this time LGA 1700, as well as the Z690 chipset (the first and only chipset so far for the platform), enabling a refreshed offering of motherboards. This is an upgrade from the Z590 chipset that was the best on offer with 11th Generation Core (largely considered a dead-end platform by this point), and it brings with it a whole host of improvements that may or may not be relevant to you, depending on what you do with your PC.
The key upgrades between the two platforms include more PCI Express (PCIe) lanes, as well as lanes being upgraded from the PCIe 4.0 spec up to PCIe 5.0. (PCIe 5.0 isn’t useful yet; for example, PCIe 5.0 SSDs are only prototypes like this Kioxia model right now.) The new boards also bring with them support for DDR5 RAM (though some support old-style DDR4 instead), as well as XMP 3.0 (Intel’s Extreme Memory Profiler service for overclockers), and Dynamic Memory Boost Technology, which ramps memory speeds up and down according to system demands.
The average gamer or content creator won’t get much from these technologies. If you’re a serious overclocker or tweaker, though, this host of new ways to control how your chip performs under pressure, especially when pushed to its limits, will be welcome.
Meanwhile, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is compatible with most AMD Socket AM4-ready motherboards, though you may have to check some of the lower-end boards for whether the Ryzen 9 5950X and its high power draw are specifically supported. This compatibility gives the Ryzen 9 5950X a much larger pool of motherboard options to choose among, meaning you’ll likely find an AM4 board that fits right within your budget and performance requirements. That’s opposed to Z690, which starts at $179.99 for the least-expensive board on shelves right now. (See our rundown of the first Z690 motherboards.)
TIE: Intel Core i9-12900K wins on new features and added flexibility, AMD Ryzen 9 5950X wins on cost of adoption
Okay, time to move on to some benchmarks! So, with eight more processing threads to work with, it should be an easy blowout for the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on content creation tasks, right? Not so fast…
(Note: All of these test runs above were performed on their respective AMD and Intel testbeds under Windows 10.)
Overall, there’s little contest to be shown here; overwhelmingly, the Intel Core i9-12900K, with its 16 available cores and 24 available threads, was able to beat out the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X’s 32 threads in almost every content-creation task we threw its way. And that’s without Thread Director in play.
However, as you can see, there are still a few kinks that Intel has yet to work out when testing in Windows 10, such as in our POV-Ray run. It should be noted, though, that those aren’t down to outright diminished performance as much as they are the idiosyncrasies that come with using an Intel Core i9-12900K on a Windows 10 system.
Even with that minor disadvantage, the Core i9-12900K still comes out much further ahead than we expected going into the benchmark testing, given its lesser thread count against the Ryzen 9 5950X. In very lightly-threaded runs like our 7-Zip benchmark, the Ryzen 9 5950X notched up a win, but otherwise it’s a near blowout for Intel when the operating system odds are stacked evenly (Windows 10 versus Windows 10).
But how did things change once we moved over to the Thread Director-assisted test build in Windows 11?
Here we can see that the effect of Windows 11 and Thread Director on the Intel Core i9-12900K’s benchmark results. In some cases it was within the margin of error, but it did also correct for the issues we saw in HandBrake and POV-Ray during the Windows 10 test set. Moving to Windows 11 also adds a not-insignificant boost to the Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere test runs (using the Puget Systems PugetBench test utilities), which showcases usage scenarios more along the lines of what Intel says Thread Director was made to handle.
For example, outright thread-punisher tests like Cinebench R23 or 7-Zip will simply max out every resource handed to them, Thread Director or not. This is why we see such similar results between the two whether they’re run on Windows 10 or 11, because Thread Director can’t be of much help when the only direction on the board is “Give ‘er everything she’s got.”
Meanwhile, the Photoshop and Premiere Pro benchmarks designed by Puget Systems involve many different task types—file retrieval, storage, image rendering, editing operations, and the like—that are run in sequence. This gives Thread Director “something to do,” as it were, sidelining resources when the load of the run is lighter, and then redistributing them when it’s time to render or edit. The result is a clear improvement in the overall score, and at face value, it suggests that you could save a reasonable amount of time working in an Adobe program on a Windows 11-based Intel Core i9-12900K machine, versus on an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, or on a Core i9-12900K running on Windows 10.
Is that the OS-seller that Microsoft was hoping for? Not yet, perhaps, but it does show promise for the Alder Lake/Windows 11 marriage. The gains we could see from Thread Director as Windows 11 matures, and the tech is adapted to a wider range of applications, could be big for content creators and performance hounds. They’re sure not bad today.
TIE: Intel Core i9-12900K wins for Windows 11 users, AMD Ryzen 9 5950X wins for cost-conscious content creators
Last but not least, we arrive at gaming performance for the Core i9-12900K versus the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, the former of which Intel has dubbed the “World’s Best Gaming Processor.” How did those claims bear out in testing? Let’s look…
We tested the CPUs here on their respective platforms in Windows 10 using a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti card. As you can see from our gaming runs above, things are actually quite close between the two processors, despite 12th Gen’s ostensible platform and newness advantage. Between the two, the difference falls nearly within the margin of error for all tests aside from 3DMark, and that score is one that more accurately reflects the system advantage as a whole, rather than just the performance of the chip on its own.
If you’re having a hard time picking between these two choices for PC gaming alone (though they’re both a bit overkill, if you ask us), the platform-adoption cost of 12th Generation Intel may be the deciding factor. The performance difference is modest enough to keep AMD well enough in the running, especially when you consider that we ran our 12th Gen tests on a brand new kit with DDR5 memory installed.
We also need to close out this section with a caveat: Intel’s 12th Gen processors may not work on every single game, regardless of your operating system. During our testing, we found that our Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla benchmark title wouldn’t boot in. Only after consulting with Intel did we find out this is due to an issue with the DRM service Denuvo, which can confuse the two core types of 12th Gen as two separate systems as tasks shift in and out of the cores. You can read all about the issue, as well as look through a list of the affected titles and their timetables for an applied fix, in our full breakdown here.
WINNER: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X stays competitive on cost of adoption and game compatibility
By most of the measures we’ve gathered here today, it’s clear that the move to 10nm and Intel 7 Process has done wonders for Intel’s competitiveness on the desktop in mainstream content creation on chips like the Core i9-12900K versus previous generations. But those wins come at a price.
Let’s break things down a little further based on cost of adoption…
WINNER: AMD on price-per-thread
From the chart above, you can see that while the difference in cost of adoption may not look too severe for what you get (namely DDR5 compatibility with Z690 motherboards), on price-per-thread the equation skews in AMD’s favor thanks to entry-level boards like this $59.99 Asrock model. (Whether you want to run a 5950X on a low-end motherboard is another matter, however.) If you want to even approach the same kind of Intel performance we’ve posted in the results above, paying that difference will be a minimum, and that’s not even counting the boosts we got from using the top-of-the-line hardware that was sent to us by Intel’s board and memory partners for review.
Until we see more Alder Lake-compatible motherboards outside of the Z690 chipset family being released, ownership of Intel 12th Gen chips will come at a higher cost compared to getting an AM4 system off the ground.
If cost is no issue, Intel has finally taken the overall productivity performance crown back from AMD, and stays just ahead of the curve on gaming to boot. However, if you’re like many of us, where cost is the main limiter when building a new PC, then the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X remains unchallenged by Intel on price-per-thread. With cost of adoption factored into the math (a figure you’ll have to bite the bullet on to adopt the Z690 platform), the Intel Core i9-12900K is just under 65% more expensive per-thread than the Ryzen 9 5950X, and only beats it in productivity performance speeds by an average of 10% to 20%, depending on the operating system and the application.
AMD’s “chiplet”-based architecture, and its continued support of Socket AM4, remain two of the company’s strongest assets against Intel in desktop CPUs, making it possible to aggressively price its highest-end chips for content-creation competition against all comers. Intel’s Core i9-12900K racks some impressive wins in flat-out benchmarks, to be sure, but the adoption cost suggests that budget-focused buyers wait for midrange Intel 600-series motherboards to launch in the new year (and for DDR5 memory modules to drop in price) before taking the plunge.
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Chris Stobing is a hardware analyst at PCMag. He brings his experience benchmarking and reviewing consumer gadgets and PC hardware such as laptops, pre-built gaming systems, monitors, storage, and networking equipment to the team. Previously, he worked as a freelancer for Gadget Review and Digital Trends, spending his time there wading through seas of hardware at every turn. In his free time, you’ll find him shredding the local mountain on his snowboard, or using his now-defunct culinary degree to whip up a dish in the kitchen for friends.
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Sony's wild new PS5 controller concept could be a game-changer – Creative Bloq
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By published 17 January 22
It’s fair to say we weren’t enamoured with the design of Sony’s DualSense controller when it was revealed last year. Like the PS5 itself, the controller is somewhat, er, chonky – but it seems Sony is already working on slimmer design concepts.
A new patent filing reveals the company is working on a new controller design featuring a collapsible control stick. This means the joystick could retract into the body of the controller itself, allowing for a more svelte (and potentially more comfortable) design. And while it might just be a patent, at this rate it might well arrive before the next PS5 restock.
The patent filing itself offers little in the way of information about how the controller will work, simply describing: “A controller, thumbstick, or system comprising a thumbstick body, a thumbstick shaft coupled to the thumbstick body wherein the thumbstick shaft is configured to retract into the thumbstick body and wherein the thumbstick body and the thumbstick shaft is freely rotatable together around a pivot centre within the controller body.” (You know when you read a word so many times that it loses all meaning? Yeah, thumbstick.)
But it seems the concept is all about comfort. “Analog nubs are portable but also very uncomfortable for the user,” Sony says in the filing. “The user moves the flat surface or rough area with pressure from their thumb. This can become quite uncomfortable after a while because the required friction between the user’s thumb and the surface.”
As with all patents, whether this design will ever see the light of day remains to be seen, but it’s certainly intriguing – and we can’t help but wonder if it’s offering us a glimpse of the next generation of DualSense. If a PS5 ‘Slim’ ever makes it to market (hey, every PlayStation generation has had one), perhaps it’ll arrive complete with a redesigned controller?
Indeed, a collapsible thumbstick could potentially transform the feel of the controller for gamers, offering a much more personalised and therefore comfortable experience. And it could do wonders for storage too – perhaps we’ll even end up with some kind of ‘DualSense Slim’ charging case. And we’re sure it could look pretty cool – better than that horrendous McDonald’s DualSense concept anyway.
It seems Sony is finally ready to give gamers more options when it comes to the look of the PS5. From those new coloured faceplates to rumours of a console redesign, the days of being restricted to Sony’s reverse-oreo (sorry, white-on-black) design are coming to an end. And perhaps in the near future, we’ll have a brand new controller to enjoy too. Want to start gaming right now? Check out today’s best games console deals below.
Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an ‘iSheep’, but he’s fine with this. It doesn’t bother him at all. Why would it? They’re just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.
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Rainbow Six Extraction: Is It PS5 & Xbox Series X Enhanced? Answered – Twinfinite
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In Ubisoft‘s latest tactical first-person shooter, Rainbow Six Extraction, you’ll be spending a lot of your time gunning down waves of parasitic alien critters known as the Archaeans. On the whole, all the moment-to-moment action is pretty damn slick visually, but what if you’re playing on next-gen consoles? In this guide, we’ll answer the all-important question: Is Rainbow Six Extraction enhanced on PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles? Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Thankfully, the short answer is: Yes, Rainbow Six Extraction is indeed enhanced on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Those playing on next-gen consoles can look forward to a 4K resolution boost and 60 frames-per-second gameplay.
For comparison’s sake, those playing on PS4 and Xbox One, you’ll be limited to just a 1080p resolution and 30 frames-per-second, which is understandable.
Unfortunately, for those wondering if Rainbow Six Extraction will support 120 frames-per-second on high-refresh-rate TVs, we’ve got some bad news for you. At the time of writing, there’s currently no support for 120fps for Rainbow Six Extraction on consoles.
It could be possible that Ubisoft deploys a patch allowing high-refresh-rate support for Rainbow Six Extraction in the future. However, there’s no official word on it just yet. That said, we’ll make sure to update this post if we hear anything more concrete.
But that’s about everything you need to know about whether Rainbow Six Extraction is enhanced for PS5 or Xbox Series X. For more tips, tricks, and guides, search for Twinfinite, or head on over to our dedicated wiki for the game. And for any questions you have that aren’t answered on the site, do feel free to reach out in the comment section below and we’ll do our best to lend a hand.
Copyright © 2018 Twinfinite, LLC
How to Watch Illinois vs. Purdue: Game Time, TV Channel, Online Streaming & Odds – The Champaign Room
It’s a MLK Day matinee.
Game Time: 11 a.m.
TV Channel: Fox
Online Streaming: FoxSportsGO
Radio: All Illinois basketball games air live on radio in the Champaign (WDWS 1400) and Chicago markets (WLS 890). The game is also broadcasted on other stations throughout the state; check the Fighting Illini Radio Network for more information.
Odds: ILL +8.5, O/U 151.5
Head Coach: Brad Underwood (5th season)
2020 Record: 24-7 (16-4 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Matt Painter (17th season)
2020 Record: 18-10 (13-6 Big Ten)
Jan. 2, 2021: Illinois 66, Purdue 58
When Andre Curbelo hits the floor, good things happen for Illinois.
In a game that featured four runs of double digits, the Illini used a 20-5 run — sparked by Curbelo’s fifth straight game with five or more assists — in the second half to hold off the pesky Boilermakers, beating Purdue, 66-58.
Despite Twitter head coaches begging for the freshman to be featured in the starting lineup, the playmaker was quick to show his appreciation for his current role.
“I actually like coming off the bench,” Curbelo said.
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