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How Many Cores Do Intel Core i7-12700 CPUs Have?

Find out how many cores Intel's 12th generation Core i7 12700 processors have.

12700 Number of Cores Timur Garifov / Unsplash

Last Updated: July 26, 2022

Written by Kevin Jones

In addition to discussing the number of cores in the 12700, this article will discuss recommendations for compatible motherboards, CPU coolers, and memory.

Check another CPU:
Intel Core i7-12700 12 Core 2.10 GHz Processor Intel Core i7-12700 12 Core 2.10 GHz Processor Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

How Many Cores Do 12700 CPUs Have?

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Intel's 12700 CPUs have 8 Performance (P) cores and 4 Efficiency (E) cores for a total of 12 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 12700 below.

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.

At least Windows 11 or Linux kernel 5.18 are required to make optimal use of the Intel Thread Director.

Linux support for the Intel Thread Director is included in version 5.18 of the kernel. Some improvements have been backported to earlier releases. Ubuntu 22.04 users can get backported performance improvements in the 5.15.35 kernel.

How Many Threads Does the 12700 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 8 Performance cores results in a total of 20 threads.

At What Frequency Does the 12700 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 8 Performance cores have a 2.10 GHz base frequency and support a 4.80 GHz max turbo frequency.

The 4 Efficiency cores have a 1.60 GHz base frequency and support a 3.60 GHz max turbo frequency.

What Does the Lack of a Suffix in the 12700 Name Mean?

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The 12700 model name doesn't have an F suffix. Non-F CPUs contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card isn't required if your motherboard includes video-output connectors (e.g., HDMI).

The 12700 model name doesn't have a K suffix. Non-K CPUs can not be overclocked.

CPU Cooling for the 12700

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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 i7-12700 has a base TDP of 65 watts and a max turbo TDP of 180 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 Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i7-12700.

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.

Intel Core i7-12700 12 Core 2.10 GHz Processor Intel Core i7-12700 12 Core 2.10 GHz Processor Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Motherboard Requirements for Core i7-12700 Processors

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For Intel's 12th generation Core i7 12700 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 lack of a "K" suffix in the model name 12700 means it doesn't support overclocking. Because of this, there is no need for you to use the top of the line Z690-based motherboards that typically support overclocking. Instead, 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 i7-12700 CPU?.

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DDR5 Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master

  • Our recommended DDR5 motherboard to pair with the Core i7-12700 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 i7-12700 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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Locked Intel CPUs may come with a stock CPU cooler. These CPU models do not have a "K" in the name. While stock coolers will prevent your CPU from overheating, your CPU will throttle its performance during games and other intensive tasks. Higher TDP coolers will keep your CPU at turbo speeds for longer durations. Stock coolers are often quite loud at their maximum speed.

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 i7 12700 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 i7-12700

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You can find detailed 12700 specifications on Intel's site.

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: