Intel Core i3-13100F Review: Higher Pricing, Smaller Gains

Ryzen comes roaring back.

Intel Core i3-13100F Core i3-13100
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Core i3-13100F is a rehash of the previous-gen model with slightly higher pricing and clock speeds, so performance gains are limited. It slots in as a solid performer in its price class, but the previous-gen Core i3-12100F offers almost the same level of gaming performance and often costs less.


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    Strong gaming performance

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    Support for DDR4

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    Support for PCIe 5.0

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    Single-threaded performance

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    Sufficient bundled cooler


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    Higher pricing

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    Comparatively slow in threaded applications

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    No CPU core overclocking

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    Limited memory overclocking

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The Intel Core i3-13100F comes to market with big shoes to fill; its predecessor, the Core i3-12100F, built a reputation as the best budget CPU for gaming. Intel is obviously looking to repeat that success, but perhaps the Core i3-13100F follows in the footsteps of its predecessor too closely — the company repurposed the previous-gen design for the Core i3-13100, so it has the same four p-cores paired with an ever-so-slightly-improved 200 MHz higher boost clock of 4.5 GHz.

The 13100F addresses the sub-$150 budget segment, so pricing is critical. However, while Intel launched the previous-gen graphics-less Core i3-12100F at $104, it later quietly raised pricing. So naturally, that leads to higher prices for the new Core i3 models, too. As such, Intel's recommended pricing has jumped to $144 for the full-fledged Core i3-13100 model and $119 for the graphics-less 13100F model. That's a 12% and 15% gen-on-gen price increase, respectively.

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Intel Core i3-13100F Specs and Pricing
Row 0 - Cell 0 MSRPDesign - Arch.Cores / Threads (P+E)P-Core Base/Boost (GHz)TDP / PBP / MTPMemory SupportL3 Cache
Core i3-13100 / F$144 - $119 (F)Raptor Lake4 / 8 (4+0)3.4 / 4.560W / 89WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-480012MB
Core i3-12100 / FLaunch - $122 - $97 (F)Alder Lake4 / 8 (4+0)3.3 / 4.360W / 89WDDR4/5-3200/480012MB

Meanwhile, AMD might have moved forward to its new AM5 platform for its high-end Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 chips, but it also refreshed its Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 lineup to address the lower end of the market with its AM4 motherboards. The new Zen 3 processors initially arrived with slightly higher price tags than expected, but they now represent an exceptional value at their current pricing.

That leaves Intel's quad-core chip battling two six-core processors: The $144 Core i3-13100 faces stiff competition from the $140 Ryzen 5 5600, while the $119 Core i3-13100F squares off with the $99 Ryzen 5 5500. Both AMD chips drop into the inexpensive and plentiful AM4 chipset ecosystem, giving builders plenty of affordable options for budget builds, thus creating a fierce contest for a spot on the list of best CPUs for gaming. Let's see how the Core i3-13100F stands up to the pressure.

Intel Core i3-13100F Pricing and Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Intel Core i3-13100 Specs and Pricing
Row 0 - Cell 0 Street PriceDesign - Arch.Cores / Threads (P+E)P-Core Base/Boost (GHz)TDP / PBP / MTPMemory SupportL3 Cache
Ryzen 5 5600$140Zen 36 / 123.5 / 4.465WDDR4-320032MB
Ryzen 5 5600G (APU)$135Zen 3 - Cezanne6 / 123.9 / 4.465W DDR4-320016MB
Core i3-13100 (F)$150 - $110 (F)Raptor Lake4 / 8 (4+0)3.4 / 4.560W / 89WDDR4-3200 / DDR5-480012MB
Ryzen 5 5500$99Zen 3 - Cezanne6 / 123.6 / 4.265WDDR4-320016MB
Core i3-12100 / F$130 - $100 (F)Alder Lake4 / 8 (4+0)3.3 / 4.360W / 89WDDR4/5-3200/480012MB

Retail pricing for AMD and Intel's chips now diverges widely from suggested pricing, so here we've listed the latest street prices. Intel has used re-badged silicon for its lower-end chips in the past, and continues that practice with its new lineup. So while the new Core i3 models slot into the 13th-Gen Raptor Lake family, Intel re-uses the previous-gen 12th-Gen Alder Lake 'Intel 7' silicon and Golden Cove core architecture. Intel also takes this approach with some of the Core i5 models, like the Core i5-13400.

As such, outside of some microcode tuning, the 13100 is identical to the 12100. That is evident from the L2 cache capacity, which weighs in at 1.25 MB per core for the 13100. In contrast, the truly new Raptor Cove cores come with 2MB per core.

Like its predecessor, the Core i3-13100/F comes with four performance cores and eight threads, but no e-cores for background tasks. Intel sprinkled on 200 MHz of extra boost frequency (+5%), bringing it to 4.5 GHz, and 100 MHz higher base clock (+3%), bringing it to 4.3 GHz. The clock speed adjustments are all that Intel has to justify the step up to 13th-Gen branding and the much higher price tag. 

As before, the 13100 has a 60W / 89W processor base/max turbo power, 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes and four PCIe 4.0 lanes, and support up to DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 MT/s (caveats apply to DDR5 support). Intel's non-K models don't allow overclocking the CPU cores, but they do support memory overclocking. Unfortunately, the company's nonsensical decision to keep certain voltages locked restricts DDR4's overclocking headroom, so gains are limited.

The standard Core i3-13100 comes with the UHD Graphics 730 engine and 24 EUs that run at 300/1500 MHz base/boost frequencies. You can save some cash by going without graphics with the F-series model, but that means you will lose Quick Sync capabilities and the iGPU fallback that you can use for troubleshooting. Otherwise, the chips provide the same performance.

The 13100 models drop into either 600- or 700-series motherboards and come with a bundled Laminar RM1 cooler that is sufficient for cooling the chip under normal conditions, albeit at the expense of a higher noise level than you'd get with a better cooler.

The six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600 is a 7nm Vermeer model that debuted at $199, but its new $140 price point makes a lot more sense. This chip is the ‘non-X’ version of the Ryzen 5 5600X, so the two chips are nearly identical besides the 5600's reduced 3.5 / 4.4 GHz base/boost clock. Overall, the 5600 has the same feature set we see with other chiplet-based Zen 3 chips.

AMD's lowest-end Zen 3 chip, the Ryzen 5 5500, debuted at $150 but now retails for a mere $99. For this chip, AMD repurposed its monolithic (single-chip) Cezanne silicon that it typically uses for APUs, but disabled the chip’s integrated Radeon Vega graphics engine. That leaves us with a six-core 12-thread chip that looks and largely acts like a standard Vermeer processor.

The 5500 has the same design as the Ryzen 5 5600G, including support for PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0. As a result, this chip will make a great pairing for older, lower-end AM4 motherboards (you definitely don’t want to pay for functionality you don’t need by pairing it with a PCIe 4.0-supporting motherboard). The 5500 wields a 3.6 / 4.2 GHz base/boost clock.

In contrast to the locked Core i3 lineup, the Ryzen chips are fully unlocked for overclocking the CPU cores, memory, and fabric, and like their more full-fledged counterparts, both chips come with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler that is sufficient for stock operation. They also support up to DDR4-3200 memory. Neither chip has a functional iGPU, so you'll need to plan for a discrete GPU. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • InvalidError
    Sweet! More price-performance stagnation!

    Making the new stuff only marginally more desirable than previous-gen stuff so more people and companies decide to hang on to whatever they already have for a while longer is a great way to reduce e-waste production.
  • TerryLaze
    Mmmm, ahhh, yes! Very interesting numbers...

    Also replacement low/mid end CPUs are supposed to be released this year so if you are on a tight budget then might as well wait a bit and see if those are more worth it.
  • Amdlova
    That's a good cpu, Multi task is a meh ...
  • Eximo
    As near as I can tell another big win for Intel is the idle power consumption. Which is useful for me as an HTPC CPU.

    Some people have pointed out the cause may be that the I/O die being on a larger node and having to power the communication between dies is more costly for Ryzen, but it is hard to tell when looking in from the outside.
  • shady28
    Eh, these aren't really price comparable chips. The 13100F is $99 on Amazon right now, while the 5600X is $152 and the 5600 is $140.

    The 13400F is $185.

    Before someone tells me about Newegg prices on Intel (higher than Amazon)- the 5600X is $189 there, which makes it uncompetitive vs 13400F at Newegg. Amazon though, it's decently priced at $152.

    So basically the 5600X fits in an in-between slot in pricing. On either side of the 5600X/5600 +/- $40 sits a chip which is either notably slower (13100F), or notably faster (13400F).

    I think this all comes down to budget questions.
  • bolweval
    InvalidError said:
    Sweet! More price-performance stagnation!

    Making the new stuff only marginally more desirable than previous-gen stuff so more people and companies decide to hang on to whatever they already have for a while longer is a great way to reduce e-waste production.
    Glass half full!
  • baboma
    >The $150 Core i3-13100 is simply overpriced for a quad-core in 2023.

    It's amazing how an article can be obsoleted in the space of two days. On 4/29, price on i3-13100 has dropped to $110 on Amazon,
    i5-13400 has dropped to $200,
    i5-13500 has stayed roughly the same (since March) at $248,
    i5-13600K has also stuck with its initial launch price at $319 (probably because it's the most popular and thus in-demand),
    i7-13700 has also dropped in recent days (4/17) to $350
    i7-13700K dropped (4/29) to $400,
    On the high end, i9-13900 has a small drop (4/27) from $$590 to $566,
    while i9-13900K has stabilized at $567 (from high of $740'ish), or same price as 13900,

    Checking in with Alder Lake pricing,

    i3-12100 is $132, with low at $130, which means you can skip this in favor of 13100,
    i5-12400 is $180; again, not worth it when 13400 is only $20 more,
    i5-12600K is $234; worse bang/buck than i5-13500 at $14 more