Skip to main content

Intel sneaks out a sub-$100 quad-core Comet Lake CPU to take on AMD Ryzen

(Image credit: Intel)

Builders on a strict budget will soon have another CPU option to choose from, the Core i3 10100F. The quad-core Comet Lake part is a new addition to Intel's lineup, and is poised to go head-to-head with AMD's Ryzen 3 3300X.

Intel quietly added the 10100F to its ARK page without an accompanying announcement or any kind of fan fare. Perhaps Intel is hesitant to trumpet that the roles have been reversed, with AMD set to the all-around performance crown with its recently announced Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, and Intel going after the budget market.

To that end, the ARK listing indicates a 'recommended customer price' of $79 to $97. The RCP applies to bulk purchases by retailers, and typically (though not always) the actual price to consumers ends up a little higher. However, the price range leaves enough wiggle room to anticipate the 10100F selling for below $100, perhaps hitting $89. We'll have to wait and see, because so far there are no vendors offering the new SKU.

The 10100F is a 10th generation Core part based on Intel's Comet Lake architecture. Like the non-F variant (10100), it features four cores and eight threads, with a 3.6GHz base clock and 4.3GHz max turbo clock. It also has 6MB of L3 cache and a 65W TDP.

Outside of the cheaper pricing (the 10100 has an RCP of $122 and sells on Amazon for $115), the only notable difference is the 10100F lacks integrated graphics. For gaming, the UHD 630 graphics on the 10100 is not all that compelling anyway, so you're essentially trading an iGPU for a lower cost—the retail price difference is likely to be in the neighborhood of $25 to $30. Even a budget a gaming PC is well served by going with a discrete GPU.

The 10100F is an answer to AMD's Ryzen 3 3300X. That is also a quad-core part, based on AMD's Zen 2 architecture and clocked at 3.8GHz to 4.3GHz, with 16MB of L3 cache. The 3300X is a largely a no-show at retail sites—B&H Photo lists it as "coming soon" for $130, which is $10 higher than its launch price.

Intel's 10100F is a savvy addition to the Comet Lake stack. It also muddies the waters a bit in the budget space. Just a few days, we extolled the value proposition of the 3300X, saying it doesn't need any price drops to be compelling. But with the arrival of the 10100F, it wouldn't hurt lower the price a bit.

AMD doesn't necessarily need to match the 10100F in pricing—the 3300X has more L3 cache, PCI Express 4.0 support, and an upgrade path to Zen 3, depending on the motherboard selection—but it should consider narrowing the gap.

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: the top chips from Intel and AMD
Best graphics card: your perfect pixel-pusher awaits
Best SSD for gaming: get into the game ahead of the rest

The 10100F is an answer to AMD's Ryzen 3 3300X. That is also a quad-core part, based on AMD's Zen 2 architecture and clocked at 3.8GHz to 4.3GHz, with 16MB of L3 cache. The 3300X is a largely a no-show at retail sites—B&H Photo lists it as "coming soon" for $130, which is $10 higher than its launch price.

Intel's 10100F is a savvy addition to the Comet Lake stack. It also muddies the waters a bit in the budget space. Just a few days, we extolled the value proposition of the 3300X, saying it doesn't need any price drops to be compelling. But with the arrival of the 10100F, it wouldn't hurt lower the price a bit.

AMD doesn't necessarily need to match the 10100F in pricing—the 3300X has more L3 cache, PCI Express 4.0 support, and an upgrade path to Zen 3, depending on the motherboard selection—but it should consider narrowing the gap. Intel, meanwhile, should focus on getting its new chip into the hands of retailers, making the price comparison a moot point for the time being.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).