Intel Core i3-10100 Review 36

Intel Core i3-10100 Review

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In today's Core i3-10100 review we'll take a close look at what this quad-core processor offers at its highly affordable $130 price point. Intel launched its 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" desktop processors at a brisk pace, with the entry-level Core i3 parts following only a couple of weeks behind the flagship Core i9-10900K. It took AMD nine months to launch its "Zen 2" based Ryzen 3 series parts. Intel also had its motherboard partners announce products based on the cost-effective B460 and H410 chipsets because pairing a Core i3 processor with a $150+ Z490 motherboard makes little sense.

Priced at $130, the Core i3-10100 is the entry-level of the 10th generation Core desktop processor family. Keeping in tune with Intel enabling HyperThreading across the board for Comet Lake, this is a 4-core/8-thread processor. Before AMD "Zen" came along, the price of entry for eight threads from Intel was around $300 for the cheapest Core i7 quad-core part. Intense competition from AMD forced Intel to increase core counts generation over generation. The 8th and 9th generation Core i3 were 4-core/4-thread parts, after nine or so years of Core i3 desktop being 2-core/4-thread with 3 or 4 MB of L3 cache and a lack of Turbo Boost. The consumer always benefits from competition.

The reviewed Core i3-10100 is based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture by Intel, and built on their existing 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process. The per-core performance (IPC) of these chips is identical to "Skylake" from 2016. The Core i3-10100 features four cores and HyperThreading, enabling eight logical processors. These four cores, however, are cushioned by only 6 MB of L3 cache. Historically (7th generation and prior), Intel used 6 MB of cache on 4-core/4-thread Core i5 SKUs, while reserving 8 MB for the 8-thread Core i7 parts. Intel is trying something different with the 10th generation. While the Core i3-10100 has 6 MB, the slightly pricier Core i3-10300 and Core i3-10320 have 8 MB of cache and slightly higher clock speeds.

The i3-10100 ticks at 3.60 GHz and has a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 4.30 GHz. It also features an integrated graphics solution in the form of the Gen 9.5-based Intel UHD 630, clocked up to 1.10 GHz. Across the competitive landscape, the Core i3-10100 faces the recently launched AMD Ryzen 3 3100 processor at $100 and the Ryzen 3 3300X at $120. Both are 4-core/8-thread parts based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture with large 16 MB L3 caches, and some value additions, such as PCIe gen 4.0 and an unlocked multiplier. Both chips also earned critical acclaim for providing high performance per dollar with gaming. That's why we will put a special focus on those two SKUs in our Core i3-10100 review. It'll be interesting to see whether Intel's $130 offering has the potential to gravitate the e-sports and entry-level gaming PC crowd away from AMD. It's also worth exploring if buying a Core i5 processor still makes sense for paper-pushing office desktops that mostly deal with web-browsing, MS Office, etc.

Intel Core i3-10100 Market Segment Analysis
 PriceCores /
Athlon 3000G$502 / 43.5 GHzN/A4 MB35 WZen14 nmAM4
Athlon 200GE$552 / 43.2 GHzN/A4 MB35 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 3 1200$604 / 43.1 GHz3.4 GHz8 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Core i3-9100F$754 / 43.6 GHz4.2 GHz6 MB65 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Athlon 240GE$802 / 43.5 GHzN/A4 MB35 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 3 2200G$854 / 43.5 GHz3.7 GHz4 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Core i3-10100$1304 / 83.6 GHz4.3 GHz6 MB65 WComet Lake14 nmLGA 1200
Ryzen 3 3100$1004 / 83.6 GHz3.9 GHz16 MB65 WZen 27 nmAM4
Pentium G5600$1002 / 43.9 GHzN/A4 MB54 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Ryzen 5 1400$1054 / 83.2 GHz3.4 GHz8 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 3 1300X$1154 / 43.4 GHz3.7 GHz8 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 5 1600$1106 / 123.2 GHz3.6 GHz16 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 3 3300X$1204 / 83.8 GHz4.3 GHz16 MB65 WZen 27 nmAM4
Ryzen 5 2600$1206 / 123.4 GHz3.9 GHz16 MB65 WZen12 nmAM4
Core i3-8300$1404 / 43.7 GHzN/A8 MB65 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Core i3-10300$1504 / 83.7 GHz4.4 GHz8 MB65 WComet Lake14 nmLGA 1200
Ryzen 5 1500X$1404 / 83.5 GHz3.7 GHz16 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 5 2400G$1504 / 83.6 GHz3.9 GHz4 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 5 1600X$1506 / 123.6 GHz4.0 GHz16 MB95 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 5 2600X$1506 / 123.6 GHz4.2 GHz16 MB95 WZen12 nmAM4
Core i5-9400F$1806 / 62.9 GHz4.1 GHz9 MB65 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Core i5-10400F$1606 / 122.9 GHz4.3 GHz12 MB65 WComet Lake14 nmLGA 1200
Ryzen 7 1700$1708 / 163.0 GHz3.7 GHz16 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 7 1700X$1708 / 163.4 GHz3.8 GHz16 MB95 WZen14 nmAM4
Core i5-10500$2006 / 123.1 GHz4.5 GHz12 MB65 WComet Lake14 nmLGA 1200
Ryzen 5 3600$1756 / 123.6 GHz4.2 GHz32 MB65 WZen 27 nmAM4
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