Intel Core i9-12900K at 125W

What happens when power is dialled down?

The core wars have been persisting for a while. AMD typically advances this argument in its favour. Having lots of cores carries value in megatasking scenarios, yet how many of us do six things at once? The prosaic truth is gaming and general work applications don’t mind running within a restrained power envelope.

Stands to reason, too, as both sets of applications are lightly threaded in nature. Look again at the gaming benchmarks to understand there’s very little difference between the Core i9-12900K being run in either 125W or 241W modes.

To understand why we must appreciate the application. The chip never approaches 241W in any game, so whether one installs a 125W, 190W or 241W limit, it’s all the same to the processor. We know this because system-wide power consumption when gaming changes by a only a handful of watts when in either state.

It follows that you don’t need 24 threads to game well, and this knowledge also presents compelling reasons to consider chips lower down the pecking order if fps is important. They are cheaper and ought to game just as well.