Core i3-12100F on B660 in the test: Intel Alder Lake for 100 euros is the new budget king

The Intel Core i3-12100F is the first Alder Lake processor with four cores for just under 100 euros. Not only does he distance the predecessor, which was still based on the Skylake architecture, in the test, he also puts larger CPUs on the fur. There is no competition from AMD even for significantly more money.

After the introduction of Hyper-Threading a few years ago, the Intel Core i3 has clearly calmed down. Last year, this series was even ignored in new releases. The Rocket Lake chip was too big and expensive to burn as a Core i3, so Comet Lake-S had to take a lap of honor with its ancient Skylake architecture. With Alder Lake, that changes again.

In the 12th Gen Core, there are now four latest performance cores without an e-core wingman for less than 100 US dollars and they more than make up for the waiting time. Because this CPU now offers the IPC increase of two generations, which leads to massive performance gains.


Alder Lake with four performance cores

However, the new Alder Lake processor family has little in common with the large models of the series at the start. Of the total of 16 cores, only 4 remain here, even hybrid is now nothing more in this area. Because here there are only the so-called performance cores (P-cores), the efficiency cores are dispensed with. This is not entirely surprising, because it has always been quite efficient further down anyway, since here not the last of the processors has to be "beaten out". And since there is not even a competitor here, the path of least resistance is sufficient anyway.

Therefore, there is no real innovation on paper, if only the description of the product is looked at. A Core i3 today offers what it offered two years ago: four cores and eight threads at acceptable clock rates. At that time, Intel had introduced improvements due to AMD's Ryzen 3 3000, from the series Core i3-9100 to the Core i3-10000 there was for the first time Hyper-Threading for the quad-core in this class, with which the number of threads was doubled. Two years later, AMD's old Ryzen 3 3000 are still the same, so Intel doesn't have to do anything at this time. Only when AMD moves here again, Intel should also step up.

But that's not bad per se today, because Intel is pulling the new architecture into the entry-level area after Rocket Lake was not allowed to gain a foothold here. The reason can be found in a second Alder Lake chip, for Rocket Lake Intel had only the full expansion in the program. The now additional native 6-performance core-only die is intended for any CPU below the Core i5-12600. Only above that there is the 8P-plus-8E core die.