We are facing two processors that on paper are 16 cores, but with very different configurations. While AMD’s CPU is homogeneous and based on 16 high-performance Zen 3 cores with multithreaded support, its Intel counterpart is a heterogeneous architecture consisting of 8 high-performance cores and 8 more energy-efficient cores, but with worse performance and no support for SMT.
These differences in the internal organization of both processors must be taken into account when interpreting the comparative results between the two architectures, since if they are not taken into account then the interpretation of the information is completely distorted. In any case, what interests us are the benchmarks and what better way than to take a look at them.
Intel i9-12900K versus AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in benchmarks
We have the first table of results under Cinebench R23, where the i9-12900K gets in the test for a single thread of execution 2,007 points in front of 1,770 points from its predecessor, the i9-11900K and 1,598 points by AMD’s Ryzen 9 5960X. Instead the performance in the test for several cores we have that the i9-12900K reaches the 27,461 points, a figure higher than expected and although worse than the 28,963 points 5950X from Lisa Su’s. Why has it surprised us? We do not know if it is by the nature of the benchmark, but let’s not forget that in the test for multiple cores the new top of the range from Intel has to pull the E-Cores, Gracemont, which have less computing capacity than the P-Cores, Golden Cove.
Since the result of a single benchmark is conclusive, it is best to double blind and try a different one. So for the second benchmark we are going to pull CPU-Z and again similar results occur: the i9-12900K with 827.7 points ends up beating the i9-11900K that reaches the 713 points and again in third place we find the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X with 665.7 points. If we go to the multicore test again the 8 cores of the eleventh generation Intel Core leave it behind, but the same phenomenon occurs between the i9-12900K and the 5950X that we have seen before in Cinebench with the CPU of Pat Gelsinger, pulling out 11,456.8 points and that of Lisa Su’s 12,957.7 points.
What do the benchmarks of these CPUs tell us?
These comparisons between the i9-12900K and the AMD 5950X leave us very clear a series of realities that we cannot ignore, in the first place we can interpret that the AMD architecture has worse performance per core, but let’s not forget that the architectures of Intel are not power-limited and this allows them to achieve higher clock speeds. Second is the fact that Gracemont cores perform much better than popular belief expected and this is good news, although for obvious reasons AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs should perform better, their multi-threaded advantage is going to be especially noticeable in models above 8 cores.
Today it is difficult to say which processor is better in general terms, software is a collection of processes that work in series and parallel in which certain parts of a program will work better on one CPU and others on another. The good news is that these comparisons between the i9-12900K and the 5950X give us an objective idea of where the new generation of Intel stands in performance.