12 MHz Crystal Oscillator. Crystal oscillators are oscillators where the primary frequency determining element is a quartz crystal. Because of the inherent characteristics of the quartz crystal the crystal oscillator may be held to extreme accuracy of frequency stability. Temperature compensation may be applied to crystal oscillators to improve thermal stability of the crystal oscillator.
Crystal oscillators are usually, fixed frequency oscillators where stability and accuracy are the primary considerations. For example it is almost impossible to design a stable and accurate LC oscillator for the upper HF and higher frequencies without resorting to some sort of crystal control. Hence the reason for crystal oscillators.