SOVLED! Intel Core i7 12700K vs i7 12700KF: Which one to choose?

The key difference between the Intel Core i7 12700K and Core i7 12700KF is that the 12700K comes with integrated graphics while the 12700KF doesn’t have any integrated graphics.

All other specifications are pretty similar in both of these CPUs. So, the 12700K can serve the users who do not want to buy a graphics card yet. Some kind of gaming can be done using it. But, if we talk about the 12700KF, you will have to grab a graphics card if you want to play games.

The “k” in the model number of a CPU typically stands for “unlocked,” which means that the processor is designed to be overclocked. This means that the clock speed of the processor can be increased beyond the stock frequency in order to improve performance.

The “f” in the model number typically stands for “free,” which means that the processor does not come with an integrated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). This means that you will need to use a separate graphics card in order to display images on your monitor.

So, the main difference between the 12700k and the 12700kf is that the 12700k has an integrated GPU, while the 12700kf does not. You will need to decide which option is best for your needs based on whether you plan to use the integrated GPU or use a separate graphics card.

Some other reasons are there to choose one over the other. We are going to cover everything. So, let’s get started.

Theoretical Specifications Comparison

SpecificationIntel Core i7 12700KIntel Core i7 12700KF
CPU Generation12th generation Core12th Generation core
20 Threads
20 Threads
Max Turbo Frequency5 GHz5 GHz
P-Core FrequencyBase: 3.60GHz
4.90 GHz
Base: 3.60GHz
4.90 GHz
E-Core FrequencyBase: 2.70 GHz
3.80 GHz
Base: 2.70 GHz
3.80 GHz
Cache25MB Intel Smart Cache25MB Intel Smart Cache
PCIe VersionPCIe 5.0 and 4.0PCIe 5.0 and 4.0
Memory SupportDDR4 (up to 3200 MT/s)
DDR5 (up to 4800 MT/s)
DDR4 (up to 3200 MT/s)
DDR5 (up to 4800 MT/s)
Boxed Cooling SolutionNoNo
Integrated Graphics CardIntel® UHD Graphics 770No
Maximum Temperature100°C100°C

With this comparison, you can observe that both 12700K and 12700KF offer similar specifications. The only difference is that the 12700K comes with the integrated UHD 770 graphics while the 12700KF doesn’t include any integrated graphics.

Benchmark Scores Comparison

ParameterIntel Core i7 12700KIntel Core i7 12700KF
CPU Mark Score34,30334,056
Single-Core Score (Geekbench)1,9041,888
Multi-Core Score (GeekBench)14,09313,797
Single-Thread Rating (PassMark)4,0554,049

The 12700K is clearly a winner here. However, the difference in scores is pretty minimal. You can expect almost similar results from both of these.

Cinebench Scores Comparison

To give you the context, Cinebench is CPU benchmarking software. It is used to calculate any CPU’s single-core and multi-core performance. These are three different versions of Cinebench i.e. R15, R20, and R23. R23 is the latest version with much more effective operation than the older version (R15 and R20)

  1. Multi-Core-Score. This score simply tells you the CPU’s performance in multitasking. Rendering, encoding, and most of the productivity software will make use of multi-cores.
  2. Single-Core Score. As the name suggests, this score determines the performance capability of a single CPU. This score is good to determine your CPU’s effectiveness in gaming and the overall snappiness in any operation.
Cinebench BenchmarkIntel Core i7 12700KIntel Core i7 12700KF
Cinebench R23 (Single Core)1,9391,939
Cinebench R23 (Multi Core)23,48822,812
Cinebench R20 (Single Core)755757
Cinebench R20 (Multi Core)8,9118,750
Cinebench R15(Single Core)286286
Cinebench R15 (Multi Core)3,3283,327
Source 1, Source 2

Again, the Cinebench scores are almost similar in both CPUs. So, you can say that the performance difference isn’t that huge between them. However, the main reason to pick one over another is going to be discussed below.

Price Comparison

Generally, you will see that the i7 12700K is 10 to 20 bucks more expensive than the 12700KF. However, the prices keep changing. But, this extra price is definitely worth it if you want to use the UHD 770 graphics in the 12700K. Also, the performance is going to be a bit higher with this CPU.

Which one is good for gaming? 12700K or 12700KF

Both of them are good for gaming. However, if you want to use a graphics card, the gaming performance will be determined as per your GPU’s performance. The integrated graphics in the 12700K can still allow you to play most of the games on low or medium settings at above 30 FPS. However, you can’t play games using the 12700KF alone.

You can go for any 30-series graphics card with these CPUs. RTX 3090 might be an overkill here. But, the RTX 3080 will be the most suitable card. In that case, you are going to get excellent gaming performance for sure. I would like to recommend you a great YouTube video benchmarking the gaming performance of both.

You can see that both of the CPUs are offering almost similar FPS when combined with a 10GB RTX 3080 graphics card.

So, if your plan is not to buy a graphics card yet and still play some games, I would suggest going for the 12700K. However, if you are building a gaming PC with a graphics card, there is no point in choosing a 12700K. In that case, buy 12700KF.

Which one is good for productivity? 12700K vs 12700KF

Both of them are having almost similar performances. So, it is hard to suggest a single one, especially for productivity. Intel’s P-Core and E-Core integration are making its 12th CPUs amazing in multitasking. But, still, if you are keeping productivity in mind, you should pick 12700K in my opinion.

I am saying that because the price difference is not that huge between the both. So, if you are getting a good integrated GPU with the 12700K, why not? There are numerous productivity software that will use integrated graphics to boost their performance. So, it is going to be a win-win game for you with the 12700K.

Again, if you are building a PC for video editing, graphics designing, and 2D/3D modeling, and you need a graphics card, you can choose the 12700KF.

Cache Difference

Both 12700KF and Core i7-12700K have a total cache size of 16 MB, which is divided into two levels: 8 MB of level 3 (L3) cache and 1 MB of level 2 (L2) cache per core. The L3 cache is shared among all cores and is used to store frequently accessed data that is not stored in the L1 or L2 cache. The L2 cache is a smaller, faster cache that is dedicated to each core and is used to store frequently accessed data that is not stored in the L1 cache.

Final Verdict

Both 12700K and 12700KF are pretty powerful CPUs that are focused on above-average users. Now, choosing between both is definitely easier for you. Let me say it again if you are not planning to buy a graphics card, go for the 12700K and use its integrated GPU before you upgrade to a new card.

If you are building a high-performance rig with a powerful graphics card, you can go for 12700KF as well. But, the 12700K will still give you some advantages. So, if you can spend some more bucks on 12700K, it is worth your money in all cases.

Let me know what you think about it!

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