As far as top-tier CPU SKUs go, Intel’s Core i9-12900KS processor sits in noticeably sharp In contrast to the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor with 96 MB of 3D V-Cache. Whereas AMD’s over-the-top chip was positioned as the world’s fastest gaming processor, for their fastest chip, Intel has kept their focus on trying to beat the competition across the board and across every workload.

As the final 12th Generation Core (Alder Lake) desktop offering from Intel, the Core i9-12900KS is unambiguously designed to be the powerful one. It’s a “special edition” processor, meaning that it’s low-volume, high-priced chip aimed at customers who need or want the fastest thing possible, damn the price or the power consumption.

It’s a strategy that Intel has employed a couple of times now – most notably with the Coffee Lake-generation i9-9900KS – and which has been relatively successful for Intel. And to be sure, the market for such a top-end chip is rather small, but the overall mindshare impact of having the fastest chip on the market is huge. So, with Intel looking to put some distance between itself and AMD’s successful Ryzen 5000 family of chips, Intel has put together what is meant to be the final (and fastest) word in Alder Lake CPU performance, shipping a chip with peak (turbo) clockspeeds ramped up to 5.5GHz for its all-important performance cores.

For today’s review we’re putting Alder Lake’s fastest to the test, both against Intel’s other chips and AMD’s flagships. Does this clockspeed-boosted 12900K stand out from the crowd? And are the tradeoffs involved in hitting 5.5GHz worth it for what Intel is positioning as the fastest processor in the world? Let’s find out.Read MoreAnandTech