As revolutionary as Alder Lake has been for Intel in getting back at the development game, the Core i9 12900K still hasn’t exactly escaped the expected criticism towards power draw and heat dissipation. As such, you might think that the best Intel Core i7-12700K prebuilt gaming PCs would more or less suffer the same fate.
But surprise! That was not the case. In fact, you would be pleasantly astonished at the level of power and heat difference a reduction in four E-cores would make to the second Alder Lake flagship. Long story short, our system integrator (SI) prebuilt should have the best of both worlds when it comes to a Core i9’s performance output, versus a Core i5’s efficiency level.
Considerations when buying an Intel Core i7 12700K Prebuilt Gaming PC
Versus custom PCs
Performance – the previous Rocket Lake’s rather strict heat dissipation requirements for flagship non-K SKUs has thankfully allowed system integrators to rethink their choices when it comes to motherboard models and cooling solutions. If the Core i9 12900K can (more or less) tread the path of prebuilt with no risk of thermal throttling now, then the easier to manage Core i7 12700K should not be a problem. In fact, even if given a fair bit of bloatware (which SI builds don’t really get much anyway), users would hardly even notice the load, thus keeping the unit’s practical usage experience optimal.
Convenience – Unless we are comparing instruction manuals from each SI, even current generation Alder Lake prebuilt gaming PCs would most likely be usable out of the box. This is without the need for the user to be familiar with building PCs in general right from the start. Inherently one of the best advantages prebuilt PCs traditionally have.
Cost – for the traditional downside, however, prebuilt PCs require overhead costs to pay for the PC being built (and sent directly) to its potential users/customers. This is, after all, the primary business model of such business entities. Though, in a way at least, the Core i7 12700K hits the middle ground of CPU+motherboard package costs for Alder Lake, so you can probably still save a few hundred dollars compared to similar-ish build Core i9 prebuilt.
Common Prebuilt PC Precautions
Inferior CPU cooling solution – double check if the cooling solution is formidable enough for the level of constant power draw your system is aiming. For the Core i7 12700K, a 240-rad AIO cooler would be the most technically appropriate (and the most common for most high-end prebuilt), though you still shouldn’t shy away if the prebuilt is using a push-pull double 120mm tower cooler.
Single-channel memory – it’s been shown and proven time again, that both SI and OEM prebuilt often cut costs by using only one stick of RAM (1x 16GB) instead of two (x2 8GB). Some Core i7 12700K prebuilt will be offered with 32GB RAM, and in that case, there is a fairly good probability that the sticks are set in dual-channel (x2 16GB).
Non-optimal case cooling – so long as the front is a considerably flow-free mesh panel (or top of the intake direction is from above), you shouldn’t have any significant problems with airflow (and thus adequate cooling).
Questionable power supply – Core i7 and Core i9 prebuilt today are typically paired with premium power supplies that also offer higher efficiency standards. That being said, it won’t hurt to double-check and see if the brand and model are well-known enough.
Bloatware – SI-built systems are much less likely to have too much bloatware. Still, it is quite recommended to (re)do a fresh reinstall of Windows if possible.
K&B “E-waste” – nothing extremely bad here. Just note that the included keyboard and mouse will usually be in the lowest quality ever passable for standard distribution. If not, then the prebuilt should be a tad bit more expensive to offset the higher-quality costs.
DDR4 vs DDR5 Memory
Long story short, if you are looking for a huge performance difference… you won’t. Yes, even for a Core i7 12700K. If you must choose a system right now, prebuilt with DDR4 memory will be a tad cheaper without any real-world negative effects on gaming performance. If you really must use DDR5 for future-proofing or any other similar purpose, do it with the intention of getting better memory modules (that hopefully can optimize DDR5 better) a few years down the line.
Intel Core i7-12700K Prebuilt Gaming PCs
Corsair Vengeance i7300 Gaming PC
Well, it’s a Corsair prebuilt, what else is there to say? Super balanced specs, excellent component combinations, top-quality hardware, and near-perfect item delivery. All for an equally hefty price, of course.
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i7-12700K8+4-core Max P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX308010GB | RAM: 32GB DDR5 | Storage: 2TBNVMeSSD
- Stunning beautiful style, build and finish
- Excellent airflow with no pressure “hindrances”
- Perfect out of the box experience
- Guaranteed to be dual-channel (uses x4 8GB memory sticks)
- Unimpressive rear I/O
- Significantly more premium in price (like, a lot)
- A smidge bit more prone to dust than others
Is it unfair to add a Corsair or NZXT prebuilt entry for this list? Perhaps, with their premium prices for exclusive prebuilt systems, many would think that they’re not a good fit for those with more economical priorities in mind. But the fact is, your money is well spent for the high level of build and performance you are going to get. Cost-cutting measures are slashed to the absolute minimum (not zero!), and what you are left is a smooth, perfectly ventilated machine that can let loose a Core i7 12700K in sustained long duration heavy loads without throttling down even for a moment.
In fact, it uses the ever-so-bread-and-butter PRO series motherboard from MSI, which has surprised budget builders time and again with its level of performance compared to similar chipset models. This one uses DDR5 memory though, so there is a considerable markup in cost for what only amounts to “future-proofing” today.
Then there is also the usual simplicity of a PRO series rear I/O. It does have every type of USB port that you would need. Just… not Gigabyte-levels of friendly utility. But hey, at least it’s a WiFi model, so more need to add those PCI-e cards or USB dongles later.
Lastly, the pairing of an RTX 3080 with the Core i7 12700 ensures that you can play any title at any resolution or setting that you want at respectable frame rates. Couple that with games with DLSS (or even the more universal NIS/FSR), and you might want to have a 4K gaming monitor ready to use before you even plan on buying this powerhouse.
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC
As usual, CyberpowerPC knows the right cooling solution margins to save costs with its prebuilts. No throttling down thankfully but do be observant of temp benchmarks as dust builds up.
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i7-12700KF 8+4-core Max P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 10GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 500GBNVMeSSD + 2TB HDD
- Usually comes with fresh Windows installation
- Super balanced 500GB SSD (boot) + 2TB HDD (archive) storage option
- Decent-ish included keyboard and mouse
- Not as warm as we would expect it to be
- Front ventilation is technically non-existent
- 120-rad AIO cooler
Does it even matter if CYBERPOWERPC has the best tutorials ever for the non-tech savvy users out there? Without any difference in variation whatsoever, the Core i7 12700KF version still sports that triple 120mm fan “airflow” side mesh, along with the super basic 120-rad cooler. Thankfully, for almost all standard gaming loads, the interior doesn’t really get that much warmer.
So yeah, no severe thermal throttling surprisingly. You do still lose out on maximized individual component performance, however, since the PC is still somewhat held out by artificial margins.
Since it’s rocking what is effectively a 12-core/20-thread 10nm SuperFin CPU, you shouldn’t have any trouble on all sorts of multitasking loads while dishing out the maximum performance of the RTX 3080. Again, pure CPU-intensive loads by dedicated software might be limited to use due to thermal limitations. But most of the small things you’d have the PC work on during streaming sessions is kind of okay.
Unlike the Core i9 12900KF version which still needs to dial a few options for extra storage, the Core i7 12700KF one comes with a good 500GB SSD boot drive and 2TB HDD archive drive by default. In our opinion, this is a more balanced option for a theoretical multipurpose workload, even if you do lose out-of-the-box practicality for a few super-data-storage-heavy gaming titles.
And yes, this particular prebuilt once again sports their non-too-bad-ish default mouse and keyboard slapped with the CYBERPOWERPC logo.
iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC
iBuypower’s choice list of somewhat modest components for the secondary Alder Lake flagship befuddles us, but at least the wiggle room for upgrades is still preserved very well.
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i7-12700KF8+4-core Max P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Ti 8GB (standard) | RAM: 16GB DDR4 (basic) | Storage: 1TBNVMeSSD + 1TB HDD (standard)
- Availability is a click away (yeah, seriously)
- Balanced options bring the best bang-for-the-buck
- Dual-channel always guaranteed (unless you somehow don’t want to)
- Exponentially expensive up the line
- Zero air-cooling options for CPU
- Too many additional peripheral offerings (that jack up the cost)
The highest priority for visual styles is still alive and well for the Core i7 12700K (and Core i9 12900K) prebuilt options for the iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC. First, no mesh cases. Every single option either features a solid panel, a glass one, or some fancy RGB-laden aluminum sheet (each model has the mesh opening at the slits on the sides of the front panel). And second, there are no air-cooling solutions, though at least iBUYPOWER provides some of their own AIOs in the mix. We’re not saying its, terrible, but do note that the overall cost adds up to these cosmetic flairs.
Motherboard-wise, the selection is actually very solid. No DDR5 options, unfortunately. But fan favorites such as the Asus TUF Gaming Z690 and MSI PRO Z690-A should solidify the optimal performance of the Core i7 12700K.
For gaming, the most balanced option in terms of the extended price range is none other than the RTX 3060 Ti. A bit strange of CYBERPOWERPC’s more generous offering, but it should still serve all the higher entertainment purposes of the prebuilt quite well. If you want something higher than that, well… be prepared to dish out both time and money to get them.
Storage options are very solid as expected. You may settle down for the cost-efficient 1TB SSD, or add just a smidge more for 1TB or 2TB of HDD storage. Again, other options beyond that increase cost exponentially, but at least be sure to double-check if you’re really willing to pull the trigger.