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Is the Intel Core i7-12700K good for gaming?

Intel CPU with MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Is the Intel Core i7-12700K good for gaming?

Best answer: Yes, absolutely. The affordable i7-12700K ranks high in CPU performance tests, placing just below the more expensive Intel Core i9-12900K and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.

Intel vs. AMD

Intel's 12th Gen Core i7-12700K processor is a hugely popular seller with impressive specifications, but to see whether it's good for gaming, we should compare it with its closest competitors. With a $409 MSRP launch price, the i7-12700K comes cheaper than a potential AMD Ryzen 7 5800X alternative at $449. Pitting the Core i7-12700K vs. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X shows that the Intel chip brings modern DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0 support, and other improvements across the board, albeit at a higher power draw.

To step up, you could increase your budget by over $100 and spring for the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X at $549. You'll still be using DDR4 memory and PCIe 4.0 lanes, but the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a performance powerhouse that would decently overtake the i7-12700K. The jump in price provides better numbers, but it needs to be worth it for your build, especially since the Ryzen X chips lack an integrated GPU.

Core i7-12700KRyzen 7 5800XRyzen 9 5900X
MSRP$409$449$549
Cores12812
Threads201624
Default TDP125W105W105W
MemoryDDR4, DD5DDR4DDR4
PCIe4.0, 5.04.04.0
UnlockedYesYesYes
Integrated GPUIntel UHD 770N/AN/A

New generation

Moving up in processor generations usually drops the price of the previous models, so it makes sense to look at the Intel 11th Gen counterpart and compare the i7-12700K vs. i7-11700K when deciding to upgrade. Base power consumption is the same at 125W, but you otherwise take drops in every other category. The performance gains in the 12th Gen are huge and leave the i7-11700K in the dust, so avoid it unless you're looking to save some serious cash.

For an answer to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, our Core i9-12900K review proved it to be the king of the hill on the Intel side. It's another big price jump, but raw performance will push it ahead of the i7-12700K, as you would expect. The difference in games isn't significant enough to warrant the extra spending on an i9-12900K unless you're squeezing every bit of power out of your build, so the i7-12700K sticks to its position with superb value for money.

Core i7-12700KCore i7-11700KCore i9-12900K
MSRP$409$399$589
Cores12816
Threads201624
Default TDP125W125W125W
MemoryDDR4, DDR5DDR4DDR4, DDR5
PCIe4.0, 5.04.04.0, 5.0
UnlockedYesYesYes
Integrated GPUIntel UHD 770Intel UHD 750Intel UHD 770

Should you buy it?

The Intel Core i7-12700K is good for gaming and other intensive media creation like CAD design and 3D suites, with a fantastic price tag bringing incredible value for money. Pair it with one of the best motherboards and a set of the best RAM, and you're off to a great start. It stands up with some of the most powerful processors available and will see you well into the future.

Ben Wilson is a freelance writer working for Windows Central with technical expertise and a background in electronics retail. Fueling a technology and video game obsession with coffee, you can usually find him behind one screen or another.