Intel Core i9-12900K Alder Lake sample CPU already being sold in China for over $1000

Written by Neil Soutter on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 12:35 PM

Every year Intel puts out a new generation of their Core series of processors, and this year they’re changing things up quite dramatically with the 12th Gen Alder Lake series, which features a hybrid architecture design that pairs high-powered cores along with high-efficiency cores.

However, despite the rumored launch date of late 2021/early 2022, it seems that some engineering/qualification samples have already made their way onto the market as the flagship Core i9-12900K is already being sold in China for over $1000.

According to sources, one seller is charging 8100 CNY (around $1250) for the early sample of the CPU, and around 7400 CNY (roughly $1150) for a B660 motherboard. Since the new 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs feature a new LGA1700, the only way to even use the early processors is to buy a compatible motherboard.

Obviously these prices are significantly higher than the actual MSRP will be, but the seller is only offering them in bulk purchases, so you can’t buy a single 12900K and a B660 motherboard. These sample CPUs are also not great for long-term conventional use, and so only useful for early testing.

We can glean some specs for the new Alder Lake CPUs though, as the new chips will be using a hybrid design the big (Golden Cove) cores are known as P-Cores, whilst the little (Gracemont) cores are known as E-Cores. 

The maximum boost frequency for the P-Cores is 5.3GHz for 1-2 cores active, and 5.0GHz for all cores. The E-cores on the other hand will operate at 3.9GHz for 1-4 active cores, and up to 3.7GHz for all core boost. Check out the specs for some of the upcoming Intel 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs below:

CPU P-Cores E-Cores Cores / Threads P-Core Boost (Max / All-Core) E-Core Boost (Max / All-Core) Cache TDP Price
Core i9-12900K 8 8 16/24 5.3GHz / 5.0Ghz 3.9GHz / 3.7GHz 30MB 125W TBD
Core i7-12700K 4 16/20 5.0GHz / 4.7GHz 3.8GHz / 3.6GHz 25MB
Core i5-12600K 6 12/16 4.9GHz / 4.5GHz 3.6GHz / 3.4GHz 20MB

What do you think? Are you excited for the Intel 12th gen Alder Lake series? What do you think of the specs above? And would you buy an early CPU for that price? Let us know!

Are you excited for Intel 12th gen Alder Lake series?

What do you think of the Alder Lake specs so far?

Which CPU are you most interested in?

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21:43 Jul-21-2021

Doesnt the table show wrong amount of cores? i5 should have 6+4=10 cores and i7 should have 12 cores right?

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junior admin badge
23:19 Jul-21-2021

I think you're right.
I'll mention it to the admins.

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22:42 Jul-20-2021

Few key informations are missing, is it 10 or 14nm ? DDR4 or DDR5 ?

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23:45 Jul-23-2021

Most likely DDR4. Haven't seen any DDR5 advertisements yet, I think that's another two generations ahead.

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22:07 Jul-20-2021

Wow, 30 mb cache, that's small and huge at the same time. It's just weird to think that 30mb is small, yet huge for what it's being used for. My CPU has something around 3mb.

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00:20 Jul-21-2021

Usually you'll have more cache for more cores, since it's shared. My i7-5960X (which is an extreme Haswell, so same architecture as yours) has 20MB of L3 for 8C/16T, while yours has 6MB for 4C/4T. Something like a Ryzen 9 5950X has 64MB for 16C/32T.
I still remember the young me looking at kilobytes of cache on CPUs and not really understanding why the cache was so small, while now I look at these huge caches and almost wonder why they got so big :D

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14:49 Jul-19-2021

I think we're going in the direction of tech-fetishism... The scalping, the "demand", the tech channels circle-J'ing the same "news", etc. It's getting weird.


Outside of novelty, who'd drop that much money on some unsupported test CPU? Just to be "first"?

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junior admin badge
23:24 Jul-19-2021

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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10:54 Jul-20-2021

12900k is rumored to be priced directly against 5950x aka 750-800$, on top of that there is "unofficial/engineering sample" cpu and "black market" aspect for it as well, in other words its wild west for pricing. This price doesnt suprise me at all considering the circumstances. Though i understand what you mean with circle-J'ing the same "news", but its another day in youtube office

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12:59 Jul-19-2021

Knowing windows 10 as the buggy mess it is early adapters beware even then i bet most popular software will be confused by the big/small core design not to talk about software/games that devs dont care to go back to. This to me is the "let them iron this out" cpu gen.

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14:35 Jul-19-2021

"This to me is the "let them iron this out" cpu gen." o agree to this to an extent, yes it might have some issues in performance consistency across the board, but it should have some good performance as well. I disagree however with windows being buggy mess, i never had any serious issue with it since i started using it in 2015 or 2016 cant remember.

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