The Intel 12th Generation Desktop K and KF CPU series is available now in New Zealand, bringing with it a massive amount of new motherboard options sporting a new socket type, while also allowing for an exciting new generation of connected component options, perfect for those wanting to push past the current-gen limitations.
The first new options include a range of highest-end 12th Gen K and KF CPU options, as well as the Z690 series motherboards which have the all-new LGA1700 socket required to fit these latest options along with the DDR5 RAM kits.
It’s important to know that all of the CPU releasing first do not include a CPU cooler, and as the socket is now LGA1700, only the newest CPU Cooler releases will fit out-of-the-box, while a new bracket may be required for others to work, and those brackets are specific to the brands/models. All Asus brand Z690 motherboards also include mounting holes for LGA1200 CPU Coolers but with the Intel 12th Gen CPU being slightly thinner that previous 10th/11th gen you might still want to get LGA1700 bracket kit for your cooler so it can make contact with the CPU surface perfectly - checking thermals is advised if you've used your existing CPU Cooler right away.
The best news is that Intel and their partners at Asus, Gigabyte and MSI have released all the needed information so we can spend the week checking out how this new PC parts ecosystem fits together, with lots of new options from all involved.
12th Gen Essentials...
- The first wave 12th Gen Intel ‘K’ & ‘KF’ CPU work best with the new Z690 Series Motherboards, as all the options support overclocking.
- The new CPU Socket LGA1700 is not compatible with the current Socket LGA1200 CPU Coolers. A new additional bracket component will allow some existing models to be fitted. New CPU coolers are available with LGA1700 mounting kits included.
- The new Intel 12th Gen CPU range has options which include integrated graphics labelled 'K', and those without integrated labelled 'KF'.
- The RAM you will use depends on your motherboard, Intel 12th gen desktop CPU support both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM Kits.
The new CPU series is a good one for many reasons, starting with the good stuff, the Intel 12th Gen is looking to be the most versatile generation of Intel mainstream desktop processors to date. So if you're looking for an uncompromised experience in-game, along with the performance headroom for smooth live streaming or on-the-fly highlights recording and editing, this new generation of Intel CPU is a part of the system you'll be wanting.
Kicking things off with the top tier in the Intel 12th Gen unlocked "K" series we have the exceptional i9-12900K - which is likely going to be the most popular of the i9 options for cutting edge gaming PC builds that utilise additional dedicated graphics cards for ultra gaming while still using the integrated graphics within the 12th gen CPU to assist with streaming.
Intel's new performance hybrid architecture integrates two core families into a single CPU, keeping everything you’re into running smoothly. A combination of performance cores and efficient cores work to enhance your gaming performance while minimising interruptions from secondary tasks.
This new hybrid design, along with all the new connected component options, makes the performance provided by this beastly new unlocked CPU ready to go up against the best in the world. Although it’s a very different design we can still make some basic comparison to the popular i9-11900K 8 Core / 16 Thread CPU VS the new i9-12900K with two sets split between Performance, with 8 Cores / 16 Threads, and Efficient, with 8 Cores / 8 Threads, all adding up for the 16 Cores / 24 Threads total.
The most affordable option in this first wave of unlocked 12th Gen CPU looks to be the new i5-12600KF with 6 cores and 12 threads of performance core goodness inside, alongside an additional 4 Core / 4 threads from the efficiency side. Just as the "K" symbolises the unlocked overclocking potential of the CPU the "F" marks the removal of the integrated graphics - so the price is excellent! For a high-end gamer on a budget, this is likely going to be the go-to CPU to use now.
Of course, we're not all into overclocking and Intel know this, so expect to see this range grow during 2022, as more new non-K 12th Gen options along with more affordable H670, H610 and B660 motherboards get released, which typically come without the fancy overclocking functions.
Intel 12th Gen Motherboards, DDR4 or DDR5 RAM options
Motherboards wise, the (Z)690 series is designed with support for 12th Gen CPU overclocking functions, but there are also important choices to be made in terms of size and RAM supported, be that DDR4 or DDR5.
Unlike previous major new launches, we'll get to shop a good sized range of options that have already landed in NZ and will be available right on launch day along with the new CPU.
There are many good looking options from Gigabyte/AORUS, Asus/ROG, ASrock and MSi to consider too, so let's start off with a closer look at three very different sized options in ATX, mATX and ITX, with options to suit DDR4 or DDR5 RAM.
The Gigabyte Z690 UD AX DDR4 is a full-sized motherboard with the new LGA1700 socket and 4x DDR4 slots ready to fill with 3200MHz RAM, which is rather good value right now, and just underneath those slots is an internal Gen2 header making this motherboard perfect for pairing with cases that have a front USB Type-C port too. The 16x slot is listed PCIe 5.0 supported too, which we don’t have much info on right now, but we’ll continue to update and when new components release which can make use of that one, you can bet we’ll make a lot of excited noises.
The Asus Prime Series is known for it's sleek design and often lighter colour themes, with white and metallic heat spreaders and shields. This new Asus Prime Z690M-PLUS D4 is no exception and looks great. The mATX size is smaller than the option above, but still feature rich. This specific model features a PCIe 5.0 16x slot, Type-C front panel USB ready header, 4x DDR4 RAM slots and a whopping 3x M.2 NVMe SSD slots. There is no WiFi built-in on this specific model but that's easy enough to add in with many slots available.
Moving onwards to the smallest options in the new motherboard range, we have this beautiful looking Gigabyte AORUS Z690i, with the ‘i’ indicating this board is a tiny ITX sized one! The LGA1700 socket is very large compared to the previous, but this motherboard squeezes on 2x DDR4 RAM slots and a single PCIe 5.0 ready 16x slot, making it viable for very small gaming PC builds, and they’ve managed to include the Gen2 header as well so we can also use the latest ITX sized chassis options!
Going with DDR4 RAM? Overclock to 3200MHz (or above)
As we mentioned above, with the new Z690 series and an Intel 12th Gen 'K' or 'KF' CPU you can overclock compatible DDR4 ram easily to enjoy faster speeds, and this is much easier than overlocking a CPU or GPU thanks to Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP). In order to use XMP the RAM must adhere to standard speeds set by Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC). So even if you buy RAM advertised at 3200MHz, it won't be able to run at those speeds unless you insert it into a motherboard that's ready for it.
And, even if you do have an awesome motherboard such as a new Intel Z690, it won’t immediately run at those advertised speeds, but it's super easy thanks to those XMP profiles that are within the RAM sticks, ready to go.
Your motherboard BIOS can read these profiles and will populate with the settings/optimal timings chosen by your RAM’s manufacturer, so sticking with the biggest and best brands in the world (such as G.Skill, Kingston, Corsair or Crucial Memory) is a good way to ensure a smooth process!
Going DDR5 RAM? Check out the latest options at 5200MHz!
DDR5 RAM is the new generation of desktop RAM kits supported by a select range of Z690 motherboards and Intel 12th Gen CPU. They are extremely fast, and the first options to release look incredible, ushering in a new era of RAM performance with unparalleled data transfer speeds compared to the previous generation DDR4.
Looking first at the newest extreme performance DDR5 memory from G.Skill, the Trident Z5 RGB and Trident Z5 series are tailor-made for the new Intel platform, designed for flagship performance and engineered with high-quality, hand-screened memory ICs, the Trident Z5 family DDR5 memory kits is set to launch at speeds exceeding 5200MHz, constructed with high-performance Samsung DDR5 memory ICs.
Yep, that's 5200MHz RAM... what a crazy time to be a gamer!
Woah, that got a bit technical at times but it's all looking GOOD!
This is just a part of the new range too, so we'll keep adding all the new products to this page as they arrive and also into the brand stores for each manufacturer - so be sure to keep your eyes on the mighty Intel Store for more of the latest!