Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake vs. AMD Ryzen 5000: What Should You Get?

The CPU market has been very exciting in recent years. We saw the release of AMD’s latest chipset – the Ryzen 5000 series in late 2020, which has amazing performance compared to the popular 3000 series. These chips were so powerful that many gamers preferred them over Intel’s first offerings in years.

And when it all seemed lost for Intel then, the 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs were a solid comeback with a unique architecture and noticeable performance improvements over the previous generation.

But now you may be wondering – which chip should you get for your PC? Let’s find out.

Intel 12th Gen vs. AMD Ryzen 5000: Performance Comparison

Here, we’ll directly compare AMD’s three best chipsets – the Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, and Ryzen 5 5600X against Intel’s equivalent 12th-gen offerings in the form of the Core i9 12900K, Core i7 12700K, and Core i5 12600K. Direct comparisons show that Intel chips now top the list, but AMD may still have some winning traits.

Here we’re referring to a video from the PC Benchmarks YouTube channel, which does an excellent job of comparing slides from every aspect and putting them through several benchmarks to see which comes out on top. And as a reflection of last year’s situation, Intel is showing improvements across the board in many aspects, with some rare gains from AMD.

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As you can see from the graphs, Intel is clearly the leader in raw performance, completely shattering AMD’s Zen 3 chips not only in gaming but also in productivity and application workloads, which are usually AMD’s fortress.

That’s not surprising, as Alder Lake boasts several improvements across the board, including an all-new core configuration with performance and efficiency cores, as well as an improved Intel 10nm process—Intel 7.

However, one area where AMD continues to come out on top is efficiency. Eleventh generation Rocket Lake chips were absolute hell, and while Alder Lake is taking steps to improve this situation, they still aren’t great and are getting hotter than Ryzen chips.

Not only do AMD offerings consume less peak power, they also do more work per unit of power consumed, resulting in a marked improvement in power efficiency – and a cooler system overall. AMD chips also rely on a much smaller and more efficient 7nm process, which certainly helps to reduce this power a lot compared to 10nm.

Overall, Intel does better in almost all aspects, but it does so with a higher power draw than AMD needs, which shows that Intel needs to do more work in this regard. And frankly, the performance department may go back to AMD in future chips — after all, because we haven’t yet seen what the company has in store for the recently announced Zen 4 architecture.

Intel 12th Gen vs. AMD Ryzen 5000: Features and Connectivity

We won’t beat around the bush, but Intel is the clear winner in this department again. As these are new chips, the company has decided to use the latest and fastest connectivity technologies, including PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5 memory support for Z690 compatible Alder Lake motherboards.

This means that you can enjoy ultra-fast memory and SSDs on your PC if you go the Intel route. But if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on all-new storage and RAM, Alder Lake also supports DDR4 if you buy the right motherboard.

Related: Intel’s 12th Gen laptops set to launch in 2022: 4 things you need to know

AMD chipsets, on the other hand, came out in late 2020, and as such, they haven’t had a chance to add support for these technologies, which means the red team is still stuck with PCI Express 4.0 and DDR4 memory.

Don’t get us wrong, though; These benchmarks are still a lot quick. But this is the first time in years that Intel is ahead of the curve compared to AMD. After all, Intel didn’t even get into the PCIe 4.0 party until the launch of Rocket Lake in early 2021, while AMD first started supporting it with Ryzen 3000 chips in 2019.

Alder Lake and Zen 3 both support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, while Alder Lake uses the latest technology like Thunderbolt 4. Of course, these latter features are completely relative because it will all come down to your specific choice of motherboard and CPU.

Intel 12th Gen vs. AMD Ryzen 5000: Price

Price is one aspect where you would expect AMD to have a high ground with new, better chips in the market. Suggested price points for AMD chips are $550 for the Ryzen 9 5900X, $450 for the Ryzen 7 5800X, and $300 for the Ryzen 5 5600X.

While Ryzen 9 costs pretty much the same these days, both Ryzen 7 and 5 are discounted quite a bit from their original price — not to mention that you can also find an occasional bargain on them.

Alder Lake actually costs a bit more, at least on the higher end. The Core i9-12900K’s suggested retail price is $650, and you can usually find it between $600 and $650. The i7-12700K can typically cost $400N, while the i5-12600K is typically in the $300 range.

It’s not a huge bonus, but if you’re after the full Alder Lake experience with DDR5 memory (especially when PCIe 5.0 SSDs hit the market), it can start adding up.

What CPU should you get?

Right now, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s 12th-generation chips have fairly similar prices, so without a discount, Alder Lake is probably the way to go. After all, it’s the clear winner in the performance department. It is also the ideal choice if you intend to protect your gaming rig in the future with the latest technologies such as PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory.

Of course, your choice will depend on the market conditions at the time of purchase, but if you can secure a good deal on the Ryzen 5000 chip (and you will definitely see Alder Lake become popular), you will not have to worry about buyer’s remorse. Both are great chipsets for the money, and you can’t go wrong with either one.


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