Intel runs out of plastic wafers, Core i9-12900KS gets new packaging
Intel Core i9-12900KS gets downgraded to ‘Tier 4’ box
Intel issued PCN (Product Change Notification) for the flagship Alder Lake desktop CPU. The processor is not going EOL, but it will now ship in a new box. Intel is therefore applying the same changes to its 12th Gen Core KS SKU as they did for the K-series in August last year. The premium box for the KS series featured a small plastic wafer, which could have served as a display piece for Intel fans. The new version will ship in a standard box without the wafer.
The Core i9-12900K is a highly binned version of the Core i9-12900K, but both SKUs have the same core/thread count of 8P/8E. The KS variant has 300 MHz higher clocks compared to the K-SKU, it goes up to 5.5 GHz. The successor has more Efficient cores (8P/16E) and officially boosts up to 6.0 GHz.
In January, this year Intel launched the Core i9-13900KS CPU, which also comes with a small wafer, but the packaging is much thinner. This change will now allow Intel to ship all Core i9 series in the same-sized box. It will not change how many units are shipped to OEMs or system integrators as those are typically shipped on trays.
The Core i9-12900KS currently retails at $399.99, which is a much lower price than it had cost at launch ($739). Those who prefer to buy the newest generation, may just as well pick Core i7-13700K, which has the same core configuration, but 100 MHz lower clocks.
Source: Intel QDMS (PDF)