Intel's new 12th Gen Intel Core "Alder Lake" desktop CPUs are bringing the fight back to AMD's Ryzen 5000 chips, with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM support to boot. The Core i9-12900K is an incredibly potent chip that will no doubt appeal to power users everywhere who need 16 cores for heavy multitasking and specialized work. Like the other 12th Gen chips, the Core i9 supports both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. The former is more affordable and is readily available, while the latter offers better performance but is more expensive. DDR5 is also currently about as easy to find as the best graphics cards, meaning you might have to wait for stock to level out if you want the latest standard. Nevertheless, this collection of RAM will make a great accompaniment to your new CPU.
High-end DDR5 RAM
GeIL's Polaris RGB Sync DDR5 RAM was some of the first to hit the market, and it impressed us with its clean look, RGB highlights, and huge performance improvements over DDR4. This kit has dual 16GB DDR5-4800MHz sticks for 32GB total, and it comes with a lifetime warranty to protect your investment. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR5 RAM before buying.
Fancy DDR4 RAM
G.SKILL makes some undeniably beautiful RAM, complete with RGB lighting and metal heat spreader. This particular DDR4 kit includes two 16GB sticks for 32GB total. It brings DDR4-3600MHz speeds and CL18 latency for excellent performance on top of the good looks. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR4 RAM before buying.
DDR5 is quite expensive. This kit with two 16GB sticks (32GB total) doesn't come cheap, but it does come cheaper compared to the competition. It brings a 4800MHz clock, lifetime warranty, and plain styling without heat spreader ideal for builds that are more for work than for show. Be sure your PC supports DDR5 RAM before buying.
Reliable DDR4 RAM
Corsair's Vengeance DDR4 RAM is trusted by countless PC owners for a good reason; it's incredibly reliable. Not only is it reasonably quick, but also budget-friendly, allowing you to up your capacity without breaking the bank. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR4 RAM before buying.
Speedy DDR5 RAM
Care less about extra RGB lighting and just want some reliable DDR5 RAM to match the black interior of your PC case? XPG's kit includes two 16GB sticks for 32GB total. It has DDR5-5200MHz speeds and CL38 latency for excellent next-gen performance, and it's priced competitively. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR5 before buying.
Best value DDR4
This kit includes dual 8GB DDR4-3200 sticks with XMP profile for overclocking. It's super affordable and it looks great thanks to a red metal heat spreader along the top. If you're looking to build on the cheap, this is a great way to go. Make sure your motherboard supports DDR4 before buying.
Buying enough RAM for the Core i9-12900K
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The Intel Core i9-12900K is a beastly processor reserved for those who want the utmost performance in everything from high-end gaming to heavy video editing. If you purchased the new CPU, chances are you're also looking for one of the best motherboards for the Core i9-12900K to go with it. The 12th Gen chips require a new LGA 1700 socket that's not backwards compatible, meaning you will need a new board for this build. This will also split your decision down to DDR4 or DDR5 RAM support, since boards do not offer both.
Some of the best RAM for 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs might look familiar, like the G.SKILL Trident Z RGB DDR4 kit. It's been around for a while, and it has proven itself time and again with its reliability, modest price, performance, and posh look. If you'd rather not yet upgrade to DDR5 due to stock shortages, this is a great way to go.
If you would like to go with DDR5 RAM and can find some in stock, GeIL's Polaris RGB Sync 32GB kit is an excellent choice. It's expensive (when you can find it in stock), but it offers extremely fast speeds, attractive look with RGB lighting, and a lifetime warranty. These kits are generally available in different sizes, so if dual 16GB modules for 32GB total seems like too much, you can always start with a lower amount and work your way up.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.