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How Many Cores Do Intel Core i5-12600KF CPUs Have?

Find out how many cores Intel's 12th generation Core i5 12600KF processors have.

Motherboard Timur Garifov / Unsplash

Last Updated: May 4, 2022

Written by Kevin Jones

In addition to discussing the number of cores in the 12600KF, this article will discuss recommendations for CPUs and compatible motherboards, CPU coolers, and memory.

Check another CPU:

How Many Cores Do 12600KF CPUs Have?

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Intel's 12600KF CPUs have 6 Performance (P) cores and 4 Efficiency (E) cores for a total of 10 cores.

The P cores are comparable to previous generation cores. They support Hyper-Threading, which means they provide two threads each.

E cores are focused on adding additional threads in an energy-efficient manner. They take up much less room on the CPU and generate less heat. However, their smaller cache and minimal interconnect capabilities make them more appropriate for offloading background tasks.

The Intel Thread Director handles scheduling between the types of cores. Running a game will primarily use P cores. At the same time, the Intel Thread Director may offload operating system tasks and low priority periodic events to E cores.

Check out our Recommended Motherboards for the 12th Gen 12600KF below.

Intel Core i5-12600KF Intel Core i5-12600KF Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Which Operating Systems Can Make Optimal Use of the E Cores?

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The Intel Thread Director is used to help operating systems determine onto which cores to schedule work.

Currently, only Windows 11 makes optimal use of the Intel Thread Director.

Linux support for the Intel Thread Director will be available in version 5.18, which is expected to be released in the Spring of 2022. Without this update, Linux will typically prioritize P cores over E cores using the less efficient implementation that uses the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 driver.

How Many Threads Does the 12600KF Have?

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Hyper-Threading is only available on Performance cores. One thread for each of the 4 Efficiency cores plus two threads for each of the 6 Performance cores results in a total of 16 threads.

At What Frequency Does the 12600KF Run?

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Prior to Intel's 12th generation of processors, CPUs had a single base frequency and max turbo frequency. With Intel's 12 generation processors, the Efficiency and Performance cores use two individual sets of frequency values.

The 6 Performance cores have a 3.70 GHz base frequency and support a 4.90 GHz max turbo frequency.

The 4 Efficiency cores have a 2.80 GHz base frequency and support a 3.60 GHz max turbo frequency.

What Does the KF Suffix in 12600KF Mean?

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Processor Name Suffix Meaning
K "K" means it's an unlocked CPU. Unlocked CPUs have configurable frequencies and thus support overclocking. Your motherboard must support overclocking to overclock unlocked CPUs. Motherboards with Z-series chipsets typically support overclocking. Learn more about what each chipset supports in my article Which Chipsets Work With Intel's Core i5-12600KF CPU?.
F "F" means it requires discrete graphics. In other words, it doesn't have integrated graphics (basically a GPU built into the processor), thus requiring a standalone graphics card.

The 12600KF model name has an F suffix. F-suffixed CPUs do not contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card is required.

The 12600KF model name has a K suffix. K-suffixed CPUs can be overclocked with a compatible motherboard.

Motherboards with a Z-series chipset typically support overclocking. For example, motherboards with the Z690 chipset usually support overclocking Intel's 12th Gen Core CPUs. Learn more about what each chipset supports in my article Which Chipsets Work With Intel's Core i5-12600KF CPU?.

CPU Cooling for the 12600KF

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A CPU cooler's TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating indicates how much heat it can dissipate in watts. If the cooler can't keep your CPU cool enough, your CPU may throttle (slow down), and your cooler will constantly run at full speed.

Intel CPU specifications indicate this power dissipation number as "Processor Base Power" and "Maximum Turbo Power."

The Core i5-12600KF has a base TDP of 125 watts and a max turbo TDP of 150 watts.

A CPU cooler can still work with a lower TDP rating than the TDP of a CPU. However, the CPU will eventually throttle itself to a lower frequency to allow itself to cool.

The CPU may not achieve or maintain maximum turbo speeds without adequate cooling.

Learn more in What is the Best Type of CPU cooler for a Gaming PC?

The distance between heatsink screw holes for the LGA 1700 socket increased to 78x78 mm from the 75x75 mm spacing typical of recent sockets. This new spacing means you'll need a new cooler/heatsink or upgrade kit that supports the new configuration.

Motherboard Requirements for Core i5-12600KF Processors

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For Intel's 12th generation Core i5 12600KF processor, you'll need a motherboard with an LGA 1700 socket and a compatible 600-series chipset.

Motherboards for Intel processors are made with chipsets provided by Intel. Each chipset offers a unique set of capabilities. However, motherboards must explicitly support features and capabilities for you to use them. Verify that a motherboard supports the features and capabilities you desire.

The "K" in the model name 12600KF means it's an unlocked processor that supports overclocking. You will need a motherboard with overclocking support to overclock this CPU. Motherboards with the Z690 chipset typically support CPU overclocking. If you don't want to use the overclocking functionality at this time, you can use a motherboard with Intel's other 600-series desktop chipsets (e.g., H670, B660, H610).

Motherboards with the Z690 chipset were the first ones available, while motherboards with the other chipsets (H670, B660, H610) are starting to be released throughout 2022.

The W680 and Q670 chipsets are intended for workstation and business use cases; their availability in stand-alone motherboards is limited.

For a detailed comparison of these chipsets, check out my article Which Chipsets Work With Intel's Core i5-12600KF CPU?.

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DDR5 Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master

  • Our recommended DDR5 motherboard to pair with the Core i5-12600KF is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Master: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR5 memory (DDR5 provides the fastest memory speeds)!
    • 10 Gbps Ethernet port is faster than any home Internet speed available with tons of room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6E makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! Three of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds, and one at PCIe 3.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master on Amazon (affiliate link).

DDR4 Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4

  • Our recommended DDR4 motherboard to pair with the Core i5-12600KF is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory!
    • 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most home Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! All four of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 on Amazon (affiliate link).
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The LGA 1700 socket will require a CPU cooler that supports the new socket size. Some manufacturers are releasing upgrade kits for LGA 1200 heatsinks to support the new size.

Best AIO Liquid Cooler: Enermax Liqmax III 360

Best Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15

  • Dual 140 mm fans provide 220-watt TDP (183 NSPR) of cooling capability.
  • Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM2, FM2+.
  • Quiet operation at 24.6 dBA. Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Runner Up - Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510

  • This CPU cooler doesn't have any fancy LED lights, but the dual 120 mm fans do a great job of cooling LGA 1700 CPUs.
  • Suppose you think this cooler will take up too much space. In that case, Thermaltake has a few single-fan TOUGHAIR variants which use different orientations.
  • This CPU cooler has a 2000 RPM max speed for optimal cooling.
  • 180-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power). Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
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Before purchasing memory, review your motherboard specification to verify which speeds are supported. For example, if a DDR4 motherboard stated that it supports "DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000," that would mean that it could support DDR4-3400, DDR4-3333, and DDR4-3300 with memory overclocking, and DDR4-3200 and DDR4-3000 at stock speeds. Motherboard specifications also indicate the maximum capacity per stick of RAM (DIMM) and across all slots.

  • At an effective frequency of 3200 MHz, this memory hits the fastest DDR4 speed supported by Intel's Core i5 12600KF CPU without overclocking.
  • The low-profile form factor ensures that the heat spreaders don't get in the way of other devices, including your CPU heatsink. Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2X16GB) 3200MHz DDR4 Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2X16GB) 3200MHz DDR4 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Learn More About the Intel Core i5-12600KF

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Other Considerations When Building a PC

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Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles: