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Core i9 12900K and Core i5 12600K: performance analysis

Flight Simulator 2020 and Hitman 3.

Our benchmark results are presented a little differently to what you might be used to elsewhere on the web. On mobile, you'll get a basic overview, with metadata from the video capture of each GPU being translated into simple bar charts with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements for easy comparisons.

On a desktop-class browser, you'll get the full-fat experience with embedded YouTube videos of each test scene and live performance metrics. Play the video, and you'll see exactly how each card handled the scene as it progresses; you can even choose exactly what GPUs at what resolutions you're interested in and it'll update in real time. Below the real-time stuff is a bar chart, which you can mouse over to see different measurements and click to switch between actual frame-rates and percentage differences. As always, all the data here is derived from video captured directly from each GPU, ensuring an accurate replay of real performance.

We'll start with three new additions to our CPU test suite, each designed to offer a stern test for even modern CPUs: Flight Simulator 2020 and Hitman 3.

Flight Simulator 2020

Flight Sim is up first, as we take an autopilot flight from London City to London Heathrow over some of the city's most well-known landmarks. Vexingly, the autopilot has changed since the last time we tested, and now flies at a much higher elevation, reducing CPU load somewhat. However, the game is still heavily CPU-limited. We can still see significant differences between the 12900K and other CPUs, with the 5600X, 5950X and 12600K all operating at more or less the same speed due to the game's affinity for six cores. There's a clear advantage for 12th-gen over 11th-gen too, with the 12th-gen CPUs in the region of 10 percent faster than their 11th-gen equivalent.

Flight Simulator 2020: DX11, Ultra, TAA

Hitman 3

Hitman 3's Dartmoor benchmark comes next. Of the two integrated benchmarks provided in the game's out-of-game option menu, Dartmoor offers the greater CPU load with a demonstration of the Glacier Engine's destruction physics. Intel's 12th-gen CPUs show a clear lead over AMD's latest at 1080p, with the (relatively) inexpensive Core i5 12600K tying the Ryzen 9 5950X and the Core i9 12900K sitting a comfortable 20 percent beyond both. At 1440p, the situation changes somewhat, with the 12900K seven percent ahead of the 12600K, which in turn is nine percent ahead of the 5950X. There's still a gap between Intel and AMD at 4K, with the 5600X and 5950X around 115fps and the 12600K and 12900K at 124, around seven percent clear of Team Red.

Hitman 3: DX12, Default, TAA

It's interesting stuff so far with some strong results for 12th-gen, so let's take a look at the next set of games - which include three popular competitive FPS titles, spanning from 2012 to 2021.

Intel Core i9 12900K and Core i5 12600K analysis

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About the Author

Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.


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