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First Alder Lake gaming benchmarks leak — here’s why you shouldn’t believe them

We’ve seen a handful of leaked Intel Alder Lake benchmarks over the past several weeks, but a slew of more recent leaks give us the first look at the upcoming generation’s gaming performance. Multiple new entries in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database provide a taste of Alder Lake gaming performance — and true to previous leaks, the results beat AMD’s best.

There’s a lot more to the story than that, though. Twitter user @9550pro shared the main screenshot making the rounds (below), which shows results with the most recent hardware (you can find the same list now on the leaderboard). The results for the Alder Lake processors showcase the i9-12900K paired up with an Nvidia RTX 3080. The leaderboard also has results using the Ryzen 9 5950X, but only paired with the aging RX 5700 XT.

Results for Ashes of the Singularity.

With a huge gap in graphics power, making direct comparisons is tough. Worse, the leaderboard results don’t make any sense. For example, a 1080p and 1440p result with the i9-12900K are almost identical. In fact, the 1440p result shows a slight improvement, despite both results using identical hardware and settings.

Ashes of the Singularityis a good gaming benchmark because it utilizes a lot of DirectX 12 features. However, it’s not consistent. You don’t need to look further than two i9-12900K results taken 30 minutes apart with the 1440p High preset to see that. One result shows an average frame rate of 130 frames per second (fps), while another shows 142.2 fps — almost a 9% difference.

Taking the lowest Ryzen 9 5950X result on the first page of the leaderboard and the highest i9-12900K result, there’s about a 6% difference. As mentioned, though, there are a lot of differences between these tests, so they shouldn’t be directly compared.

Although the lion’s share of results don’t say much, there are two entries that provide a glimpse at Alder Lake’s gaming performance. Shared by @TheMalcore, the two results pit the Ryzen 9 5950X against the Core i9-12900K at the 1440p High preset, and both results use the RTX 3080 and 64GB of RAM.

As mentioned, there are two Alder Lake results using the 1440p High preset. Taking the lowest one, the i9-12900K shows about a 26% increase in performance. The other result is even more impressive, with the i9-12900K showing a staggering 38% increase in frame rate over the Ryzen 9 5950X.

Render of Intel Alder Lake chip.

The numbers are interesting, but they don’t mean much. A 26% increase versus a 38% increase are two different stories. What’s important is that the i9-12900K shows an increase at all. For the past several generations, Intel has rested on its 14nm laurels as AMD has pushed ahead with large single-core performance gains and higher core counts.

Alder Lake looks to bring Intel back into the gaming conversation — assuming this level of performance manifests when the processors are widely available. You shouldn’t believe the first Alder Lake gaming benchmarks; Ashes of the Singularity is demonstrably inconsistent.

However, the leaked results still show that Alder Lake will stack up in gaming, and that’s something to get excited about.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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