And if the spilled price tags – highlighted by prolific hardware leaker @momomo_us on Twitter – are correct, they’re on the disappointing side.
The spotted product listings have since been taken down by Micro Center, but they showed the flagship Core i9-12900K weighing in at $670 (around £490, AU$1,235), with the 12700K pitched at $470 (around £340, AU$865).
Interestingly, the chip listings were obviously marked as unavailable, but carried a release date of November 4, which coincides with what the rumor mill has been saying for some time now will be the on-sale date for Intel’s 12th-gen processors.
The theory is that there’ll be a launch event before that, the previous week, on October 27 when we should see pre-orders go live (and that’s just a few days off now, so Micro Center isn’t jumping the gun by that much – and at least hasn’t accidentally sold the 12900K early, like another retailer).
The listings also showed the base clock speeds of both these key Alder Lake CPUs, which is again as rumored, 3.2GHz for the 12900K and 3.6GHz for the 12700K (for the standard performance cores, that is). The boost of the Alder Lake flagship will purportedly be 5GHz, with the chip already having been spotted overclocked to 5.2GHz (sprinkle an appropriate amount of condiments around with all this, as ever).
Analysis: Are things looking worryingly pricey compared to Rocket Lake?
Even though Alder Lake’s release is theoretically very close, we obviously can’t take any early pricing indications too seriously, and the price tags seen here could easily be placeholders of some kind. That said, given that we’re supposedly on the cusp of pre-orders now, they could just be the real thing, or at least close to what we’ll see Intel recommending for its next-gen CPUs.
So, if the 12900K is going to be $670 (around £490, AU$1,235) or thereabouts, how does that compare to the current 11900K? Well, at Micro Center, it’s $500 (around £360, AU$670) for the current 11th-gen flagship.
If the 12700K will be $470 (around £340, AU$865), then we can compare that to the $350 (around £255, AU$470) which Micro Center is charging for the 11700K.
Those 11th-gen prices are discounted now, though, as we can expect with the Intel Rocket Lake platform being on its way out (with its motherboards becoming redundant, as Alder Lake brings with it an entirely new socket design and new motherboards). The 11900K launch price was $539 (around £390, AU$720), so a bit more than you can get it from the US retailer now – but if the purported pre-release pricing is correct here, the 12900K will be 24% pricier (though Micro Center’s leaked price does not necessarily correspond with what Intel may be suggesting price-wise).
In short, there are a lot of unknowns here, and that’s always the case when prices drip out ahead of time. However, this indication that Alder Lake may come in more expensive than Rocket Lake echoes the other rumored pricing we’ve heard on the grapevine, so it’s starting to feel like 12th-gen chips could indeed command something of a premium compared to 11th-gen products upon launch. Particularly when you consider that component shortages, and possible supply issues, may further muddy the waters and potentially bring in a further element of price inflation.