Intel 11th Gen vs. 12th Gen CPUs: What’s The Difference?

12th generation intel CPU

The battle between 11th Gen and 12th Gen processors is heating up. Of course, the 12th Gen is expected to perform better, being the latest one. But the 11th Gen line of processors is no slouch either. So what’s the difference between Intel 11th Gen and 12th Gen CPUs? 

Both are powerful processors that offer different advantages. But the main difference between the two is the 12th Gen’s ability to do more tasks at the same time without causing the system to slow down or consume as much power as its predecessors. 

It’s tempting to get the latest tech, but is it practical? This article will help you decide whether an upgrade is really necessary or not. 

Intel 11th Gen Processors

The Intel 11th Gen Core desktop chips, codenamed Rocket Lake-S, are based on the Cypress Cove Core architecture. The line’s flagship chip, Core i9-11900K, has eight cores and 16 threads. But its predecessor, the Core i9-10900K, has 10 cores and 20 threads. So what’s up with the drop in core count?

Well, this is mainly because Cypress Cove isn’t actually a new technology. It’s based on Intel’s Willow Cove chip designs, which the company has been using on its 11th Gen 10nm Tiger Lake processors.

Since the design is meant for 10nm chips, retrofitting this technology into a 14nm production process meant limiting the number of cores.

While that may seem like a downgrade on paper, it offers better performance than the 10th Gen, enabling up to a 19% increase in instructions per clock (IPC) over the previous generation.

Here are some of the best 11th Gen CPUs.

Intel 12th Gen Processors

12th generation CPU

Intel has finally let go of its old microarchitecture and moved on with a hybrid architecture for its line of 12th Gen processors.

This technology fits two microarchitectures in a single die: Performance-cores (P-cores) and Efficiency-cores (E-cores). By splitting the architecture, the company was able to make these nm chips run faster at only a fraction of the power consumption. 

Intel’s 12th Gen processors were designed with Windows 11’s power-hungry nature in mind. That means these chips can utilize Intel’s latest operating system in ways its predecessors aren’t able to, especially with the help of its Thread Director.

This new built-in feature allows the operating system to determine what tasks to assign to which cores.

Normally, the operating system would tackle task handling using a series of calculations, but the results aren’t the best. They’re okay, but not the best.

Thread Director aims to streamline the process by reducing the assumption and guesswork on the part of the OS. Alder Lake chips also come with new features that have never been seen before in the old processors, namely DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support.

Here are some of the best 12th Gen CPUs.

  • Core i3-12100: Best for everyday home and office tasks
  • Core i5-12400F: Best mid-range 12th Gen CPU for gaming
  • Core i9-12900K: Best for streaming, content creation, and video editing
  • Comparing 11th-Gen to 12-Gen Intel Processors

It wasn’t long ago since Intel released its line of 12th Gen processors. But is it really better than the 11th Gen chips? Let’s examine the key differences between these two powerful CPUs.

Related Article: AMD vs Intel CPUs: What’s The Difference?


Aside from the 10% decrease in die size, there’s really nothing much to note to differentiate 11th Gen and 12th Gen processors design-wise.

It may not seem much or that important, but Intel’s drive to shrink their chips’ size with each generation isn’t all for aesthetic appeal. This actually has a purpose. Smaller transistors are more efficient and have less latency. What does that mean for you? A better performing system.

The latest 12th-generation CPUs also support Multi-Chip Package (MCP) Architecture, which allows the stacking of multiple dies together into a single package.

This can result in higher performance as the different dies can work together to improve the overall system performance without increasing power consumption. This also enables Intel to manufacture smaller dies that can fit in more portable devices, such as tablets and smartphones.


When it comes to size, there’s not much difference between the 11th Gen and 12th Gen chips – at least not to the naked eye. They’re built on a 10nm process, while their 11th Gen counterparts utilize a 14nm process.

The 12th-generation processors are slightly smaller, but that doesn’t make them any less powerful. After all, smaller devices require less voltage to operate, resulting in lower heat generation and power consumption.


There’s no doubt the 11th Gen processors are quite efficient, but there’s always something more to improve. And Intel is proving that by releasing the 12th Gen line of processors. 

11th generation Intel CPU

The main difference between the CPU generations is how much power they consume. 12th Gen processors consume less power, so they aren’t as prone to overheating.

They also come with a microcontroller unit that directs workloads to the right cores to optimize power usage and performance. It works with both Windows 10 and 11’s Task Scheduler but is optimized for the latter.

Here’s an article I wrote if you want to know more about why overheating is bad for your computer.


Intel’s processor upgrades are always worth waiting for, given the overall improvement in performance and speed. The 12th Gen processors, based on the innovative “Alder Lake” microarchitecture, offer unparalleled capabilities that are set to outdo their predecessors.

That said, the exact speed you’ll get will depend on the model you choose to purchase.

What sets the 12th Gen processors apart is their hybrid architecture that uses both P-cores and E-cores, each with its own unique benefits. When processing more demanding tasks like gaming, the P-cores deliver maximum performance.

But be warned: they’re power-hungry! Conversely, the E-cores offer less raw performance yet consume significantly less power, making them the ideal choice for low-demand tasks such as checking emails or browsing the web.

By intelligently switching between the two core types, the Alder Lake microarchitecture optimizes both power consumption and performance.

Core Count

11th Gen processors feature up to 8 cores and 16 threads. On the other hand, 12th Gen chips are based on a hybrid architecture that utilizes Golden Cove cores (P-cores) and Gracemont cores (E-cores). 

The P-cores support Hyper-Threading. This enables two threads to run simultaneously on a single core the other hand, the smaller E-cores are single-threaded. So that gives the 16-core Core i9-12900K, with eight P-cores and eight E-cores, a total of 24 threads.

That’s a whopping 33% jump in thread counts over the Core i9-11900K, which only has eight single-threaded cores. But its core peak frequencies reach up to 5.3 GHz, giving it a 100 MHz lead over the Core i9-12900K, which only peaks at 5.2 GHz. 

But this clock speed reduction doesn’t really matter, given the new hybrid architecture of the 12th Gen chips. They can still easily outperform 11th Gen CPUs by simply using different cores for different tasks. 

Now you may be wondering how this info can help with gaming. Here’s a super helpful guide I wrote about how clock speed and core count affect performance when gaming

What Do Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs Have That The 11th Gen Doesn’t?

Intel has definitely outdone itself with the 12th Gen chips. Aside from the complete makeover of the core architecture, they also fitted with new features. Here are some of the things you can expect from a 12th Gen that its predecessors don’t have.

PCI-e 5.0 Support

PCIe 4.0 is already a huge upgrade from PCIe 3.0. But the demand for faster data transfer never stops. In fact, the continued growth of data-intensive applications, such as gaming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, pushed Intel to bump the PCIe standard from 4.0 to 5.0, together with the release of the 12th Gen processors. 

Of course, faster data transfer isn’t the only thing PCIe 5.0 offers. You also get more bandwidth for your graphics card, a much-needed boost to improve performance. As a result, you will see a big difference in framerates and resolutions. This is especially useful if you want to use multiple graphics cards or high-resolution displays at the same time without bottlenecking the system. 

DDR5 Memory

DDR5 Memory

DDR5 is the next generation of RAM. It might be smaller than the DDR4, but it packs some real punch. For starters, it offers higher bandwidth and faster data transfer rates. Additionally, its improved multitasking capabilities are perfect for games that require high-performance memory.

DDR5 also utilizes a built-in voltage regulator that enables consistent energy savings. It only consumes 1.1V compared with the 1.2V of DDR4, reducing the overall power consumption by 20%. 

Aside from better energy efficiency and higher bandwidth, DDR5 also allows for a higher memory capacity of up to 128GB per stick. This makes it perfect for more memory-intensive applications, such as video rendering, editing, and other heavy multitasking workloads. More and more game developers will be taking advantage of what DDR5 has to offer. So investing in a 12th Gen processor and motherboard that supports DDR5 can help future-proof your system.  

Is it Worth Upgrading to Intel’s 12th Gen CPU?

12th Gen processors are indeed more efficient than their predecessors. If you’re upgrading from a 9th or 10th Gen processor, you’ll see a huge jump in performance. But if you’re coming from an 11th Gen, you’ll hardly notice the difference. 

You should also consider the socket difference between the two. 12th-generation CPUs use the LGA 1700 socket, while the 11th-generation CPUs utilize the older LGA 1200 socket. Unfortunately, there are currently no motherboards that support both types of sockets. 

Furthermore, motherboards designed for 11th Gen processors don’t support the new microarchitecture of 12th Gen processors. So if you want to upgrade your CPU, you’ll also need to set aside a budget for a new motherboard to accommodate the new processor’s advanced features and capabilities. Hence, it’s essential to factor in the cost when contemplating a processor upgrade.

Wrapping Up

Year after year, we see Intel release new and better versions of its processors. While it’s good to have variety, it does leave us in a conundrum. Should we get the latest on the minute it hits the market – or will a last-gen processor suffice

As always, it’s your call. If you have enough budget for the upgrade, why not? There’s certainly no harm in getting the latest technology. But just keep in mind that you’re not at a big disadvantage sticking with a slightly older processor.

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