Answered: Is 12th Gen Intel good for gaming?

We look at this question and offer some key info too

Intel 12900K - 12th Gen Good for Gaming

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If you’re looking to upgrade or build a new PC we know the burning question you have about Intel’s Alder Lake rangewhich has brought you here: Is 12th Gen Intel good for gaming?

Well, Intel’s 12th-generation processors have gained ultimate respect among PC gamers. Meaning, even though the 13th gen is now here, there’s plenty to like. This post will explore what factors made the 12th generation perfect for PC games.

Intel 12th Gen deals

Why Choose an Intel 12th Gen for Gaming?

Generally speaking, a sound gaming system possesses top-performing graphics, high processing speed, and lots of memory to store the cache and saved progress.

You will experience that with these processors. In addition, DDR5 memory with an enhanced CPU socket of LGA 1700 will give you a further boost. With the overclocking option, all of that will allow you to use both the DDR5 and DDR4 memory.

Additionally, intel’s UHD graphics in i7 and i9 processors are sufficient for any modern games, like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla or Grand Theft Auto V. Although if you are a desktop user and enjoy graphic cards from Nvidia or AMD, you can get an i9 or i7 processor with KF features.

This will allow you to overclock your CPU, but means you’ll have no integrated graphics so you will need a graphics card at the ready.

The Processors

With 12th-generation CPUs Intel focused on the ultimate performance of its processors, whether for gaming or other uses. Most prominent in this category are the i7 12700KF and 12700K. These processors are packed with performance and are ideal for a good gaming experience.

However, the ultimate 12th-generation processor is the i9-12900K which significantly defeats most AMD AM4 processors (trading blows with the 5800X3D) to become the most in-demand gaming processor until the arrival of AM5 and Intel’s Raptor Lake.

CPU Cores and Threads

Ideally, 16 and above cores can handle anything from heavy games to multitasking at an enormous speed. The gaming cores fall between 8 to 16 for superior performance.

There are multiple versions under each processor category. The 12th Gen i9 12900K is the best gaming CPU for cores, containing 16 and 24 threads. In case you are wondering what threads are, these are the virtual cores that are responsible for the efficient multitasking of a CPU. 

Furthermore, Intel introduced a smart division of cores between Performance (P) and Efficiency (E). The reason for this division is to bifurcate the load division on the CPU. The P cores handle extensive tasks like games, while the E cores handle small and easy tasks. The P cores usually have two threads, and the E cores typically come with one.


Intel’s K series processors, like i9 12900K and i7 12700K, are overclockable. Therefore, overclocking is available to enhance the performance of the system.

However, it should be done with utmost care to avoid any expensive mishaps. Further, the KF series are easier to overclock and are cheaper.

If you are talking about a purely gaming system, clock speed is one of the most important factors, as it defines the running speed of your processor. It is measured in GHz.

Many of the 12th Gen processors have impressive clock speeds. For example, the 12900KS has a whopping 5.5GHz of clock speed which means that the cores of this processor will complete 5.5 million cycles in a second. Once again, the 12th generation proves to be a great CPU for gaming.

Suitable Motherboards

The standard 12th gen CPU is designed for the B660 motherboard, providing good input and output support. In addition, most of the B660 motherboards offer M.2 sockets, SATA ports, USB and HDMI ports, and high-quality sound cards. 

If you are not ready to overclock your system, B660 motherboards are enough for you. However, buying a CPU to make your system perfect for gaming may require a much more advanced and high-performing motherboard. 

You can opt for Z690 motherboards, which offer more advanced features and support Intel 13th Gen with a BIOS update. Or you can opt for new Z790 motherboards, which support Intel 12th Gen processors.

CPU Cooling System

If you are not a pro gamer, you might not need to emphasize coolers for your system. However, for a pro gamer who will prefer the top-of-line i9 processors, extra cooling systems will be a requirement.

The Core i9 12900k has been known to hit 100c, so if you do opt for that particular CPU, you’ll want good cooling. Otherwise you’ll risk thermal throttling as the CPU caps performance to keep temps in a safe range.

PC Guide expert view

Is 12th Gen Intel good for gaming? Yes. However, they have now been surpassed by both Intel and AMD.

If you’re considering a new generation of processors too and your budget can go that far, read our AMD Ryzen 7000 vs Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake guide.