One of our favorite CPUs - the Intel Core i3-12100F - is now sub $100 and retailing on Newegg for just $96.99. With such an affordable price and yet stellar performance, this chip is an absolute bargain for anyone looking to build a streaming or budget gaming PC for under $500, and even comes complete with a cooler in the retail box.
The 12th Gen i3-12100F runs 4 performance cores at up to 4.3-GHz when on boost speeds and combined with its budget pricing makes this chip one of the best cheap CPUs for gaming. We reviewed the Core i3-12100F and found that its performance often excelled CPUs at twice the cost of the 12100F. On single-threaded performance benchmarks, the 12100F scored well (see our chart below) and if paired with an appropriate graphics card, can help to pump the frames-per-second in almost any game.
These 12th-gen chips support DDR4/DDR5 memory and the latest PCIe 5.0 interface when paired with the appropriate supporting motherboard options. Although, if you're thinking about splashing out for DDR5 memory, it would probably make more sense to also spend a few bucks more and upgrade from a quad-core 12100F to something a bit beefier such as a Core i5-12600 or Core i7-12700.
This Intel CPU paired with some DDR4 RAM and a mid-tier GPU would make an awesome gaming rig that utilizes some of the latest PC technology but at a more wallet-friendly price. The Core i3-12100F is part of Intel's Alder Lake lineup and fits LGA1700 socketed motherboards from the 600-series, including Z690, H670, B660, and H610.
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Stewart Bendle is a deals writer at Tom's Hardware. A firm believer in “Bang for the buck” Stewart likes to research the best prices for hardware and build PCs that have a great price for performance ratio.