Chinese brand PowerLeader launches 'new' CPU: a rebranded 2021 i3

Powerstar P3-01105 CPU heatspreader
(Image credit: ITHome)

When it comes to any fancy new tech product releasing out of China, it's always fair to approach with caution. This goes doubly for PC parts, with components often being smuggled into the country, with varying levels of success. There's also sneaky rebranding to be aware of, when one product is touted as something new and shiny but is really just a reskinned import. These can be tricky to spot, especially when brands like PowerLeader try so hard to convince you otherwise.

The Chinese brand recently unveiled its new Powerstar P3-01105 CPU, touting a new storm architecture. However Tom's Hardware spotted talk on Twitter which convincingly unmasks the chip as an Intel Core i3-10105(F) Comet Lake CPU which was initially released back in 2021. 

Physically, the CPU is a dead ringer for the i3 having what looks like exactly the same heat spreader and substrate design, plus they have the same print format on the IHS. It follows that spec wise they're also incredibly similar, both claiming to have a 3.70GHz base clock, and of course there's the lazy reshuffling of Intel's 10105 code to 01105 for the Powerstar.

When announcing the new CPU, PowerLeader also showed off a tower PC, packing the  Powerstar P3-01105 CPU. Tom's Hardware notes that this reveal might have slipped up stating that it "has extremely high performance, which is several times higher than that of the domestic CPU." The admission that it's not a domestic GPU in this marketing snippet is a pretty clear sign of a rebranded import.

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That would be enough evidence, but the final nail in the coffin is the claim that the QR code on the Powerstar's PCB matches Intel's. We don't have proof of this yet, but with everything else stacking up against PowerLeader the evidence is pretty compelling. Though with Intel being the bigger name you'd almost wonder why a company would bother doing this in the first place.

The suspected answer is to receive Chinese subsidies for developing and selling domestic tech products. This rebrand could be more about fooling the government than it is about any consumer. Regardless, I doubt many gamers are rushing out to get their hands on a 2-year-old i3, so it's definitely a good idea to give these a wide berth if we ever see them for sale outside of China.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.

No, she’s not kidding.