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Intel’s unlocked Core i9-12900KS processor claims to be the ‘world’s fastest desktop processor’ with 5.5GHz speeds

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But with a $739 price tag, that speed won’t come cheap

Intel has officially announced its new Core i9-12900KS processor, an unlocked version of its flagship Core i9-12900K that ups the maximum boosted clock speed even higher to 5.5GHz for what the company claims is “the world’s fastest desktop processor” and “the ultimate gaming experience.”

The Core i9-12900KS has a lot in common with its predecessors’ hardware, including the same 16 cores (split up between eight Performance-cores and eight Efficient-cores) and 24 threads and 30MB of L3 cache memory. But Intel has boosted the base power from 125W to 150W and allowed the Core i9-12900KS to run unlocked, allowing it to hit up to 5.5GHz on up to two cores (compared to the maximum 5.2GHz speed on the regular i9-12900K).

For those keeping track at home, AMD also recently claimed the title of the “world’s fasted gaming CPU” earlier in March when it announced the availability for its new Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor. Like Intel, AMD is offering a souped-up version of its older model (in this case, the Ryzen 7 5800), although AMD’s differs by introducing a new, 3D V-Cache technology to deliver speeds that it claimed would be able to top the Core i9-12900K.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is significantly cheaper than the Core i9-12900KS, with a $449 price tag compared to Intel’s $739 sticker price. But Intel does AMD solidly on sheer processing frequency — the Ryzen 7 5800X3D only touts a maximum boosted clock speed of 4.5GHz, compared to the 5.5GHz maximum speed on Intel’s new chip.

How the Ryzen 7 5800X3D stacks up again the newly announced Core i9-12900KS, however, will have to wait until both chips arrive in April and can be put to the test head to head. AMD will also get another shot at the crown later this year, too, when its Ryzen 7000 desktop chips arrive in the second half of 2022.

The Core i9-12900KS will be available starting April 5th for a recommended consumer price of $739. That marks a significant increase over the recommended $589 price tag for the Core i9-12900K, which itself is almost impossible to find at Intel’s recommended price (most retailers charge at least $600, if not more, for the Core i9-12900K today). In other words, you should probably expect to have to shell out some extra cash beyond that $739 number for the Core i9-12900KS when it arrives next month.