Intel Core i7-12700F vs. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X: Which 12-core CPU is Best for Gaming?

Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake processors represent the first truly competitive batch released by the chip maker since the days of Skylake. Based on a 7 nm (10 nm ESF) node, these chips take advantage of two core architectures: Golden Cove for performance, and Gracemont for efficiency cores. The high IPC of the former leads to commanding gaming performance while the latter allows for competitive content creation performance. Although Intel reclaimed the gaming crown from AMD after the Zen 3 grabbed it two years ago, content creation and massive multi-threaded workloads still favor Ryzen processors.

In addition to solid gaming performance, one of the main advantages of Alder Lake is the solid pricing. Most SKUs are priced lower than their Ryzen 5000 counterparts, making them excellent price/performance options. In this post, we took a look at the Core i7-12700F and compared it to the Ryzen 9 5900X in gaming workloads.

Ryzen 9 5900X Core i7-12700F
CPU socket type AM4 LGA 1700
Primary name Zain 3 Golden Cove / Gracemont
number of cores 12 core 8 cores / 4 cores
# of themes 24 20
Operating frequency 3.7 GHz V-Core: 2.1GHz
Electronic core: 1.6GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 4.8 GHz V-Core: 4.9GHz
Electronic core: 3.6GHz
L2 cache 6 megabytes 12 megabytes
L3 cache 64 MB 25 MB
manufacturing technology TSMC 7 nm Intel 7
types of memory DDR4 3200 DDR4 3200 / DDR5 4800
PCI Express Review 4.0 5.0
thermal design power 105 W PL1: 65 W
PL2: 180W

Before we begin, a few things should be noted. First , Core i7-12700F is a bit off about $300 while the Ryzen 9 5900X sells for $449, giving the former a huge price advantage. Second, the 12700F comes with a stock coolant which we found was more than adequate in most workloads. Ryzen 9 requires an external heatsink, preferably a water block. Finally, although a file Core i7 appears to have a TDP rating of less than 65W, draws more power under load (maximum 180 watts). The 5900X, on the other hand, has a base TDP of 105W and a maximum power of 140W. This makes it more technically power efficient than the 12700F.

building information

GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti
coolant: NZXT Kraken X73
Motherboard: MSI MAG B550M Mortar / ASUS X690 TUF Gaming
memory: 8 GB x2 @ 3600 million jumps/sec CL16
All tests were performed using CapFrameX on the latest version of Windows 10.

Intel Core i7-12700F vs AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Gaming Benchmarks

Core i7-12700F works great across the board Beating the Ryzen 9 5900X in every game we tested. Delta falls within the margin of error in most titles but is quite noticeable in ray tracing games. At 720p, Intel’s 12-core chip outperforms AMD’s Crysis Remastered competitor by 12%, 17% in Cyberpunk 2077, and 25% in Dying Light 2. However, the two perform at roughly the same performance in Godfall and Metro Exodus.

At 1080p, delta is reduced but the Core i7-12700F still had noticeably better performance in Dying Light 2 and Crysis Remastered, Ryzen 9 5900X leads by over 12% and 25%, Straight. In Cyberpunk 2077 it’s often a tie and the same goes for Godfall and Metro Exodus.

We decided to do a little experiment with Efficiency cores on the 12700F are off and the boost clock is limited to 4GHz. Four of the Ryzen 9 5900X cores are disabled and the core clocks are locked at 4GHz. One test was performed with SMT and the other without it. The results were very interesting. The Core i7-12700F lost minimal performance while the Ryzen 9 5900X saw a significant drop in two of its three titles. The Metro Exodus was the most unusual. It performed better on the Core i7-12700F with the efficiency cores disabled while the 5900X lost only 2% of frames per second with four of the cores disabled.

With SMT disabled, things got even weirder. Crysis Remastered performed better on both CPUs (still within the margin of error), Cyberpunk 2077 performed the same while Metro Exodus was 7% slower on the Core i7-12700F. The Ryzen 9 5900X didn’t lose nearly any performance in any of the titles.

Conclusion

This is straightforward. The Core i7-12700F is faster, cheaper, and more feature-rich than its rival Ryzen 9. It’s clear that gaming performance has dropped even with DDR4 memory and Windows 10 installed. Unless you already have an AM4 board and compatible DDR4 memory to go with it, I really don’t see any reason to choose the 5900X over the 12700F.

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