Intel Core i9-12900K Could Outperform the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Intel’s hotly anticipated Alder Lake launch could be right around the corner, and early processor samples are starting to show their power. A qualification sample of the flagship Core i9-12900K can reportedly hit speeds of up to 5.3GHz, and using leaked benchmarks from earlier processor versions, users have calculated that the processor could outperform AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X.

Twitter user @9550pro uncovered a post on the forums that details the specs of Intel’s upcoming processor. Someone claiming to have access to a qualification sample says the processor can hit speeds of up to 5.3GHz. Unlike an engineering sample, qualification sample processors usually come with the specs the final processor will use, though Intel is likely still tweaking the final version.

12th-Gen Intel Core Processors, code-named Alder Lake, are set to release this fall. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Although we don’t have any firm benchmarks, the user was able to calculate a performance estimate based on the speed of the processor and earlier engineering samples. According to the post, the i9-12900K should hit a multi-core score of around 11,300 in Cinebench R20, which is around 900 points higher than the Ryzen 9 5950X.

It’s important to remember this is an estimate based on a rumored benchmark of an earlier engineering sample. The i9-12900K could perform better or worse than the estimate when it finally launches. However, there’s still reason to believe that the upcoming chip will put Intel back on the map.

Alder Lake processors will reportedly use a big.LITTLE core design, with several high-performance cores mixed in with several high-efficiency cores. This same design is used in countless mobile chips, as well as Apple’s M1 processor. The high-performance Golden Cove cores perform intensive tasks, while the high-efficiency Gracemont cores handle light tasks in the background. Together, they can deliver up to a 20% improvement in single-threaded performance, according to a leaked Intel slide.

Rumors suggest the recently announced Windows 11 will be able to take advantage of this design. Intel Lakefield CPUs, which also use a hybrid architecture, have seen a performance boost of up 5.8% on early builds of Windows 11, which could have implications for Alder Lake when it launches.

The Intel Core i9-12900K will reportedly feature eight Golden Cove and eight Gracemont cores, with hyperthreading available on the Golden Cove cores. That brings the count to 16 cores and 24 threads. Rumors suggest the first wave of Alder Lake processors will launch this fall, but Intel hasn’t announced anything yet.

Although a good sign for Alder Lake, a lot of this is still speculation based on rumors and disparate leaks. Even assuming the leaker has access to a qualification sample, Intel could modify the design in a way that completely changes performance before launch — for better or worse.

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iPhone SE vs Android: Can a $399 iPhone outperform $3,000 in phones?

When comparing phones, you generally want them to be in the same league. These days that might mean there’s a few hundred dollars separating the models—like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, or the Galaxy S20+ and the OnePlus 8 Pro—but it’s basically a waste of time to pit the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Ultra against the $400 Galaxy A51.

Update 5//23: Added new tests to the Battery and Charging section.

But Apple’s new iPhone SE is a horse of a different color. Yes, it’s Apple’s budget phone and costs more than a thousand dollars less than the highest-end Galaxy S20, but it also has a bunch of Apple’s latest tech. And, you know, it’s an iPhone.

I did the unthinkable and compared it to the three of the top Android phones available today: Galaxy S20 Ultra ($1,400), Google Pixel 4 ($900) and OnePlus 7T ($600). Add it all up and you’ve got $3,000 in Android phones against one lowly $399 iPhone. But what should have been a ridiculously one-sided battle was surprisingly close.

iPhone SE vs Android: Design

The iPhone SE looks and feels like an older phone. Like the iPhone 8, the SE is extremely similar to the hardware introduced with the iPhone 6 in 2014 and you can feel every bit of its six-year-old design. The screen is small, the bezels are monstrous, and the home button is physical. It’s been a long time since an Android phone of any repute had a home button, and the SE looks and feels downright antiquated in comparison to the other phones here.

iphone se android 6s back Michael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE (right) has extremely similar dimensions to the iPhone 6s.

I’m not going to debate the designs of the other phones, but I will say this: Despite its ancient looks, the iPhone SE is an extremely attractive phone with a solid build quality and retro charm. Even Apple’s old designs are better than some of today’s Android phones, and the glass back, aluminum sides, and carefully curved chamfers are satisfyingly symmetrical and ergonomically pleasant. The S20 and 7T are definitely a step ahead in the looks department—the Pixel 4 is a toss-up—but for a phone that hasn’t been in style for years, the SE really isn’t so bad.

Granted, its not a phone for everyone, but those who like or can get past its outdated Home button will appreciate is craftsmanship. The smooth glass back and polished aluminum edges bely its $399 price tag, and the whole package feels like a premium handset. Its bezels are way too big to compete with the other phones here, but there’s a certain charm to the iPhone SE—and it’s nice not to have to worry about palm rejection. There’s also something to be said for a phone that fits in any pocket.

iPhone SE vs Android: Display

Right off the bat, the iPhone SE is at a disadvantage. While the Android phones here all have high-refresh-rate OLED displays, the iPhone SE uses an LCD screen that pales in comparison to the other phones here:

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