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Intel's Core i3-12100 Demolishes The Ryzen 3 3300X In An Early Review

Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake Processor
Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake Processor (Image credit: Intel)

Intel's latest 12th Generation Alder Lake processors have cemented themselves as some of the best CPUs on the market. Chinese publication XFastest's review (opens in new tab) of the unreleased Core i3-12100 shows that the quad-core Alder Lake chip also packs some serious firepower.

Unlike high-end Alder Lake SKUs, the Core i3-12100 doesn't feature the hybrid design. This means that the quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading is only carrying Intel's Golden Cove cores. The processor is outfitted with 12MB of L3 cache. Previous retailer listings pegged the Core i3-12100 with a 3.3 base clock. XFastest observed the Core i3-12100 peaking at 4.3 GHz, which is likely the single-core boost clock. Since the news outlet's Core i3-12100 is an engineering sample, the final clock speeds for the quad-core part could vary. Therefore, we also recommend taking the test results with a bit of salt.

According to XFastest's other observations, the Core i3-12100 come with a 60W PL1 and 77W PL2 ratings. This means that the Alder Lake goes head-to-head with AMD's Ryzen 3 offerings, more specifically the Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 that compete in the 65W category.

Intel Core i3-12100 Specifications

ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost Clocks (GHz)L3 Cache (MB)PBP / MTP (W)
Core i3-12100*4 / 83.3 / 4.31260 / 77
Ryzen 3 3300X4 / 83.8 / 4.31665
Ryzen 3 31004 / 83.6 / 3.91665

*Specifications are unconfirmed.

The Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 are based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture and sport a quad-core, eight-thread configuration. On paper, AMD's processors have more L3 cache than the Core i3-12100 and better base clock speeds. While the Core i3-12100 and the Ryzen 3 3300X have the same 4.3 GHz boost clock, the latter rocks a 500 MHz higher base clock.

However, the Core i3-12100 wields Intel's latest Golden Cove cores that are slated to be up to 19% faster than the Cypress Cove cores inside Rocket Lake. The Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100, on the other hand, are still on the two-year old Zen 2 cores so it isn't exactly a fair fight. With Zen 3, AMD has forsaken the Ryzen 3 lineup and preferred to concentrate on the Ryzen 5 and above SKUs. The chipmaker doesn't have a Zen 3 answer for the Core i3-12100 for the moment.

Intel Core i3-12100 Application Benchmarks

ProcessorPCMark7-Zip Compression7-Zip DecompressionCinebench R23 Single-CoreCinebench R23 Multi-CoreV-RayPugetBench for Premiere Pro (Export)PugetBench for Premiere Pro (Playback)
Core i3-121006,98847.09244,8401,6498,4745,95210072
Ryzen 3 3300X6,14042,83350,9791,2806,7234,9265555
Ryzen 3 31005,75538,64746,2261,1456,0314,9265454

Starting with PCMark, the Core i3-12100 put up a 13.8% higher score than the Ryzen 3 3300X. When it comes to 7-Zip, the Core i3-12100 was up to 9.9% faster than the Ryzen 3 3300X in the compression test, but the latter outperformed the Intel chip in the decompression test by 13.7%.

The Core i3-12100 demostrated up to 28.8% higher single-core performance than the Ryzen 3 3300X in Cinebench R23. When it comes to multi-core performace, the margin went up to 26% in Intel's favor. In V-Ray, the Core i3-12100 also dominated the Ryzen 3 3300X and boasted a 20.8% better score.

The biggest performance deltas between the Core i3-12100 and Ryzen 3 3300X came from the PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark. The Alder Lake chip scored 81.8% and 30.9% higher scores in the export and playback tests, respectively.

Intel Core i3-12100 Gaming Benchmarks

ProcessorCyberpunk 2077 (1080, Ultra)Cyberpunk 2077 (1080, Ultra + DLSS)Cyberpunk 2077 (1080, Ultra+ RT + DLSS)Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (4K, High)
Core i3-1210080145110256
Ryzen 3 3300X8012693236
Ryzen 3 31008010076232

For the gaming tests, XFastest paired the Core i3-12100, Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 with Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.

All three processors performed similarly in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p resolution on the ultra preset. The Core i3-12100 distanced itself from the Ryzen rivals once XFastest started to enable other options. With Nvidia DLSS enabled, the Alder Lake chip pumped out 15.1% higher frame rates than the Ryzen 3 3300X. The gap jumped up to 18.3% when the Chinese news outlet added ray tracing to the mix.

In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on 4K and the high present, however,  the Core i3-12100 only delivered 8.5% higher performance than the Ryzen 3 3300X.

As per XFastest's insider information, the Core i3-12100 could retail for 1,000 HKD, which translates to $128.32. The price sounds believable since we've already seen early retailer listings of the graphics-less Core i3-12100F going for $119.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • -Fran-
    Hm... Don't get me wrong here as I do agree it's nice to see more competition and specially in the lower end, but... Beating Zen2 (an almost 3 year old uArch) with something fresh and using about the same power while doing so doesn't strike me like a "demolishing". It beats it, sure, but... It doesn't read like a big achievement from the behemoth with almost endless R&D budget... Maybe more data is needed to show more strengths, but at a first glance, I just don't see this a a confidence boost. Specially since this is a locked part and the 3300X is unlocked and you can extract a lot more brute performance out of it if needed (like Intel with the 12900K, lol) to reach parity or even beat it in some metrics.

    Anyway, competition is always welcome. Let's see if AMD feels any form of pressure by this xD

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    -Fran- said:
    Hm... Don't get me wrong here as I do agree it's nice to see more competition and specially in the lower end, but... Beating Zen2 (an almost 3 year old uArch) with something fresh and using about the same power while doing so doesn't strike me like a "demolishing". It beats it, sure, but... It doesn't read like a big achievement from the behemoth with almost endless R&D budget... Maybe more data is needed to show more strengths, but at a first glance, I just don't see this a a confidence boost. Specially since this is a locked part and the 3300X is unlocked and you can extract a lot more brute performance out of it if needed (like Intel with the 12900K, lol) to reach parity or even beat it in some metrics.

    Anyway, competition is always welcome. Let's see if AMD feels any form of pressure by this xD

    Regards.

    lol this is par the course i've seen comparisons with adl-s vs a Threadripper 2990WX which is based on Zen+
    Reply
  • escksu
    There are currently only Z690 alderlake boards and they are very expensive. Nobody will buy a 200-300 board pair with a 120-130 CPU....

    Intel needs cheaper boards......
    Reply
  • escksu
    -Fran- said:
    Hm... Don't get me wrong here as I do agree it's nice to see more competition and specially in the lower end, but... Beating Zen2 (an almost 3 year old uArch) with something fresh and using about the same power while doing so doesn't strike me like a "demolishing". It beats it, sure, but... It doesn't read like a big achievement from the behemoth with almost endless R&D budget... Maybe more data is needed to show more strengths, but at a first glance, I just don't see this a a confidence boost. Specially since this is a locked part and the 3300X is unlocked and you can extract a lot more brute performance out of it if needed (like Intel with the 12900K, lol) to reach parity or even beat it in some metrics.

    Anyway, competition is always welcome. Let's see if AMD feels any form of pressure by this xD

    Regards.

    Alderlake is hampered by lack of suitable boards. Z690 is currently way too expensive. Nobody will buy a 200-300 Z690 board and use it for a 120-130 CPU..

    At this price point, cost matters more than performance..

    If a person has to consider these CPU, its obviously he/she do not have alot of budget. However, I wouldn't consider 3300x due to lack of integrated GPU (GPUs are EXPENSIVE!!).... So, its either the G series AMD or Intel i3

    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-3-3300x-3100-cpu-review/2
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    -Fran- said:
    Hm... Don't get me wrong here as I do agree it's nice to see more competition and specially in the lower end, but... Beating Zen2 (an almost 3 year old uArch) with something fresh and using about the same power while doing so doesn't strike me like a "demolishing". It beats it, sure, but... It doesn't read like a big achievement from the behemoth with almost endless R&D budget... Maybe more data is needed to show more strengths, but at a first glance, I just don't see this a a confidence boost. Specially since this is a locked part and the 3300X is unlocked and you can extract a lot more brute performance out of it if needed (like Intel with the 12900K, lol) to reach parity or even beat it in some metrics.
    The 3300X is currently $325 on Amazon and $350 on Newegg from 3rd party companies I've never heard of. This was a textbook example of a vaporware launch. It's not Intel's fault AMD has completely ignored this part of the market. There's no point in trying to list any of the strengths of a chip you can't buy. i3-10105 is currently available for $130. That's the CPU the i3-12x should be compared to.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    escksu said:
    There are currently only Z690 alderlake boards and they are very expensive. Nobody will buy a 200-300 board pair with a 120-130 CPU....

    Intel needs cheaper boards......
    CPU isn't out yet. Don't need to worry about motherboard selection until the chip is available for purchase. Most of these are going to end up in cheap OEM desktops which won't be using Z690 motherboards.
    Reply
  • escksu
    spongiemaster said:
    CPU isn't out yet. Don't need to worry about motherboard selection until the chip is available for purchase. Most of these are going to end up in cheap OEM desktops which won't be using Z690 motherboards.

    Yes, it will be 2022 before we see any H610/670/B660 boards..... Even for OEM, its also 2022. So for now, AMD is safe.
    Reply
  • DonQuixoteIII
    Clearly, Tom's got a BIG check from Intel. Not an ounce of journalism in sight, just 'spin' Pure marketing fluff. Pure fanboi-ism. Pure fantasy.
    Reply
  • OriginFree
    -Fran- said:
    Hm... Don't get me wrong here as I do agree it's nice to see more competition and specially in the lower end, but... Beating Zen2 (an almost 3 year old uArch) with something fresh and using about the same power while doing so doesn't strike me like a "demolishing". It beats it, sure, but... It doesn't read like a big achievement from the behemoth with almost endless R&D budget... Maybe more data is needed to show more strengths, but at a first glance, I just don't see this a a confidence boost. Specially since this is a locked part and the 3300X is unlocked and you can extract a lot more brute performance out of it if needed (like Intel with the 12900K, lol) to reach parity or even beat it in some metrics.

    Anyway, competition is always welcome. Let's see if AMD feels any form of pressure by this xD

    Regards.


    I'm more interested in the 65 vs 60/77 power usage numbers. If intel is usually running closer to 77 than 60/65 then that also must be factored in to some (minimal) extent.
    I'd like to see the benchmarks (just for laughs) adjusted for a per watt performance and see how close things are then.
    Obviously if you're buying a desktop system, that extra 12w isn't going to play a role in the decision, but for an apples vs apples comparison, it could be interesting.
    Reply
  • m3city
    And I'm demolished by the title of this news.
    On more serious side, it's not unfair to compare new intel to 2yo AMD. Thruth is that AMD does not have a more recent cpu in this class. There is 5300G/GE. It would be SHOCKING if intel did not match AMD now. I could't agree more with @-Fran- that it's not that impressive after all. But intel is so much cheaper, and when equally cheap boards come up, then one can't argue about platform cost anymore.

    Does anyone know if there will be new AMD cpu/apu in the basic class anytime soon? Like ZEN1 athlons?
    Reply