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

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The CPU market has been pretty exciting in recent years. We saw the release of AMD's latest chipsets—the Ryzen 5000 series in late 2020, boasting impressive performance gains over the popular 3000 series. These chips were so powerful that many gamers preferred them to Intel's offerings for the first time in years.

And when it all seemed lost for Intel after that, the 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs marked a strong comeback with unique architecture and remarkable performance improvements over the previous generation.

But you may be wondering now—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 top three chips—the Ryzen 9 5900X, the Ryzen 7 5800X, and the Ryzen 5 5600X against equivalent Intel 12th-gen offerings in the form of the Core i9 12900K, the Core i7 12700K, and the Core i5 12600K. And direct comparisons show Intel's chips are clearly on top now, but AMD might still have some winning traits.

We're referencing a video from the YouTube channel PC Benchmarks here, which does an excellent job comparing chipsets from each side and putting them through several benchmarks to see which comes out on top. And as a reversal from last year's situation, Intel is showing improvements across the board on many aspects, with a few rare wins from AMD.

As you can see from the graphs, Intel is the clear leader in raw performance, absolutely smashing AMD's Zen 3 chips in not just gaming but also productivity and application workloads, which are typically AMD's strongholds.

This is no surprise, as Alder Lake boasts several improvements across the board, including an all-new core configuration with performance and efficiency cores, as well as Intel's improved 10nm process—Intel 7.

However, one area where AMD still comes out on top is efficiency. 11th-gen Rocket Lake chips were an absolute inferno, and while Alder Lake takes steps to improve that situation, it's still not great and gets considerably hotter than Ryzen chips.

AMD's offerings not only consume less peak power, but they also do more work per unit of power consumed, resulting in a noticeable improvement in power efficiency—and a cooler system overall. AMD's chips are also based on a smaller and more efficient 7nm process, which definitely helps bring that power draw down a lot compared to 10nm.

Overall, Intel performs better in almost every aspect, but it does so at a higher power draw than what AMD needs, showing Intel needs to do more work in this regard. And honestly, the performance department may flick back to AMD in future chips—after all, as we're yet to see what the company has in store for the recently announced Zen 4 architecture.

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

ddr4 ram in motherboard

We're not going to beat around the bush, but Intel is the clear winner in this department once again. Being newer chips, the company decided to go all-out on the latest, fastest connectivity tech, including PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5 memory support for Alder Lake-compatible Z690 motherboards.

This means 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 memory if you buy the proper motherboard.

Related: Intel 12th-Gen Laptops Set to Launch in 2022: 4 Things You Need to Know

On the other hand, AMD's chipsets came out in late 2020, and as such, didn't have a chance to add support for these technologies, meaning that the red team is still stuck on PCI Express 4.0 and DDR4 memory.

Don't get us wrong, though; these standards are still plenty fast. 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 Rocket Lake launch in early 2021, while AMD first began supporting it with its Ryzen 3000 chips in 2019.

Both Alder Lake and Zen 3 support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, while Alder Lake sports newer technologies such as Thunderbolt 4. Of course, these latter features are entirely relative since it'll all come down to your specific choice of motherboard and CPU.

Intel 12th Gen vs. AMD Ryzen 5000: Price

AMD Ryzen Chip in Motherboard

Price is an aspect where you would expect AMD to have the high ground with new, better chips in the market. The 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 the Ryzen 9 costs pretty much the same these days, both the Ryzen 7 and 5 are discounted quite a bit from their original price—not to mention that you can also find the occasional deal on them.

Alder Lake indeed costs slightly more, at least at the higher end. The Core i9-12900K has a suggested retail price of $650, and you can typically find it between $600 and $650. The i7-12700K can typically cost north of $400, while the i5-12600K is normally in the $300 range.

It's not much of a premium, but if you're after the complete Alder Lake experience with DDR5 memory (especially when PCIe 5.0 SSDs show up in the market), it can start adding up.

Which CPU Should You Get?

Gigabyte Aorus Pro x570 motherboard: chipset cooler, battery BIOS, ddr4 slots with neon blue light. Technological background

At the moment, AMD's Ryzen 5000 and Intel's 12th-gen chips have somewhat similar pricing, so without a discount, Alder Lake is likely the way to go. After all, it's the clear winner in the performance department. It's also the ideal choice if you intend to future-proof your gaming rig with cutting-edge technologies like PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory.

Of course, your choice will depend on market conditions at the time of purchase, but if you manage to secure a good deal on a Ryzen 5000 chip (and you'll surely see them as Alder Lake becomes popular), you don't have to worry about buyer's remorse. Both are great chipsets for the money, though, and you can't go wrong with either of them.

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