The upcoming Intel Core i3 12100 dominates AMD's budget offerings

Intel i3-12100 ES in an Asrock Z690 Steel Legend motherboard
(Image credit: XFastest)

A preliminary review of Intel’s upcoming Core i3 12100 has been leaked by XFastest. The Core i3 12100 is the baby of the 12th Gen Alder Lake range, and according to the review could be more than a match for AMD's budget offerings today. 

According to the leaked CPU-Z screenshot, the Core i3 12100 features four Golden Cove Performance Cores with HyperThreading. There are no E-Cores present, making it a 4C/8T processor. It comes with 12MB of L3 cache, a 60W base TDP and a maximum turbo power of 77W. This means it will not stress budget coolers. As a non-F CPU, it will include Intel’s Xe graphics. The CPU can reportedly clock up to 4.3 GHz, though since we’re looking at an engineering sample CPU, it’s important to remember that the final specifications can change. 

a CPUZ screenshot showing the specifications of Intel's i3 12100 CPU

(Image credit: XFastest)

XFastest compared the Core i3 12100 to AMD’s Zen 2 based Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100X. Both are quad core CPUs. AMD has yet to release any entry level Ryzen 3 based models to the retail market though we might find out more at CES on that front. The results show that the 12100 has a big lead in PCMark and productivity benchmarks, and again in Cyberpunk 2077 and CS:GO. This points towards the 12100 being a powerful option for gamers on a budget, particularly those who play popular e-sport titles where high-end CPUs are overkill.

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The i3 12100 will definitely add a lot of grunt to entry level machines. Intel never released any budget Rocket Lake CPUs meaning the 12100 is a successor to the Comet Lake (aka Skylake +++) i3 10100. Users with older generation Intel quad cores that lacked hyperthreading would also see a big jump in multithreading performance.

The i3 12100 is expected to be released in Q1 of 2022 alongside more affordable H670, B660 and H610 motherboards. Pricing is unknown but given that the i3 10100 can be found for around $130 or less, we can expect the 12100 to land at a similar price give or take a few dollars.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.