Intel 12th Gen Core i3 12100 and i3 12300 Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Intel 12th Gen Core i3-12100 and i3-12300 Review


Affordable processors have come a long way since we first had them as part of our considerations. When the first 'cheap' Intel CPUs appeared they were nearly always single or dual core offerings, with very limited clock speeds and feature sets. If you wanted a processor with four cores you usually had to spend a fair chunk of change more, and even then it took until the famous Core i5-2500K before Intel had one that was a genuine all-rounder.

Even then it was a long while before the Core i5 range gained the huge advantage that Hyperthreading brings to the table, and whilst that became a common factor in the i5s, the Core i3s were still plodding away with maybe a quad core, but at limited clock speeds and without the Hyperthreading we know and love. The latest 12th Generation of Intel processors has brought the Core i3 bang up to date with quad-core, hyperthreaded pair of processors, the Core i3-12100 and Core i3-12300. As you'll see in a moment these are basically the same CPU but with the i3-12300 having a clock speed boost over the i3-12100.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to check how they stack up against some of the other affordable processors on the market, as well as some of the previous i3s to show how far things have come. We'll include a smattering of old results in our graphs wherever possible, especially as those of you who are looking to update your system with processors such as these might not have upgraded for a while. In keeping with the affordable ethos of the 12th Gen Core i3s we're running on the B660 chipset. This might not make for a direct comparison with many of the other chipsets we've reviewed processors on, but it's a good demonstration of where Intel are now when compared to where the Core i3 was a while ago, and indeed how the 4C8T nature of the new Core i3s matches to the old Core i5s that had that arrangement.

We've often spoken about how modern graphics cards are good enough to need almost any processor to power your gaming system. Is the Core i3 the perfect partner to a beefy modern GPU? Let's find out.

Technical Specifications

 Intel Core i3-12100Intel Core i3-12300
CodenameAlder LakeAlder Lake
Total Cores44
Performance Cores44
Efficiency Cores00
Max Turbo Frequency4.3 GHz4.4 GHz
Base Frequency3.3 GHz3.5 GHz
Cache12 MB Intel Smart Cache12 MB Intel Smart Cache
L2 Cache5 MB5 MB
Base Power60 W60 W
Maximum Turbo Power89 W89 W
Max Memory Size128 GB128 GB
Memory TypesDDR4 and DDR5DDR4 and DDR5
Memory Channels22
Processor GraphicsIntel UHD 730Intel UHD 730
PCI Express Revision5.0 and 4.05.0 and 4.0
PCI Express Lanes2020


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