Are i3 CPU Good? [Decisive Explanation & Tested Result 2024]

Written By Steven Arends

The computer market is saturated with processors. And finding the perfect CPU based on your usage is a tough job.

The Intel Core i3 processor is a king in the entry-level segment. But before buying the processor, a question arises on how it’ll perform in average and heavy tasks.are-i3-cpu-good

Well, don’t worry. Cause here, I’ll tell you about the performance of the Core i3 CPU with a tested benchmark and suggest the right purchase.

So, let’s begin.

Is the Intel i3 CPU Good?

The Intel i3 processors are suitable for daily computing, running Office applications, and using media software. Also, it is well-capable for web browsing and managing several tabs smoothly. In addition, you can play low-end games in specific settings without any difficulties.

Intel has various processor series for each price and performance segment. And all of them are categorized from entry to high level based on their performance.

Let’s see the Intel hierarchy below to understand the positioning of the i3 processor in the Intel family.

  • Intel Celeron – Entry Level
  • Intel Pentium
  • Intel Core i3 – Low-End
  • Intel Core i5 – Mid-End
  • Intel Core i7
  • Intel Core i9 – High-End

The Intel i3 sits at the lower half of the Intel hierarchy and is considered as a low-end CPU.

In 2010, the first Intel Core i3 processor came, and after that, they are continuously evolving. Depending on the generation, the Core i3 processor has different core counts.

As of the 7th generation, it has 2 cores and 4 threads, and the number of cores has doubled since the 8th generation.

The following chart will provide ideas on the specification of the different generation Intel Core i3 processors.

ProcessorIntel Core i3-7300Intel Core i3-9300Intel Core i3-12100Intel Core i3-1215U
CPU ClassDesktopDesktopDesktopLaptop
Clock Speed4.0 GHz3.7 GHz3.3 GHz1.2 GHz
Turbo SpeedNot SupportedUp to 4.3 GHzUp to 4.3 GHzUp to 4.4 GHz
CacheL1: 256KB
L2: 1.0MB
L3: 4MB
L1: 256KB
L2: 1.0MB
L3: 8MB
L1: 320KB
L2: 5.0MB
L3: 12MB
L1: 384KB
L2: 2.0MB
L3: 10MB
Max TDP51W62W60W15W
iGPUIntel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 730Intel UHD Graphics for 12th Gen Intel Processors
Estimated Price$96.95$152$142Not Priced

The table above shows the differences between Core i3 processors and generations. They differ in clock speed, core & thread count, cache size, and integrated graphics.

Intel Core i3 processor is beneficial for your normal day-to-day usage. The following will describe the advantages of Core i3 in your everyday life.

Here are the advantages of the Intel Core i3 processor:

Daily Use

The newer Core i3 processor offers at least 4-cores and 8 threads, and performs significantly better than the Intel Celeron in daily usage.

With the 4-core 12th gen Intel Core i3-12100 processor, you can easily browse and open plenty of browser tabs. It’s also capable of multitasking and can accomplish various tasks at once.

Office Purpose

The i3 processor, especially the i3-powered laptops, is very popular for economic purposes. You can easily operate the Office application, make audio and video calls & conferences, and do social networking.


The Core i3 isn’t made for gaming. But, with its Intel UHD 730, you can play some low-level games at specific graphics settings.

The following chart will show the Intel i3 processor gaming performance in different games with the

The gaming performance isn’t very promising with the iGPU. But, the result changes when you pair it with a dedicated graphics card.

Power Efficiency

The Intel Core i3 processor requires minimal power to operate and is ideal for daily and laptop users. The i3-12100 has a 60W max TDP, whereas the i9-13900k needs 241W.

You can expect low power consumption and save your electricity bills with the i3 CPU. 


The $100 – $150 processor price segment is very competitive, and there are many close options in this range. However, the i3 is ahead of everyone else in this segment for its performance and price ratio.

You can get your hands on an Intel Core i3-12100 for just around $142. And you can save around $30 by purchasing the non-iGPU version, i3-12100F, for only around $115.

If you are looking for a low-budget CPU and use it for minimal tasks, the Intel i3 processor is a good choice.

The i3 processors are very cheap according to their performance, and you can expect an equivalent performance to the AMD 3300X processor.

But, to understand the performance, we must look at their synthetic and real-life benchmarks. And the following passage will provide the score and help you choose the i3 processor regarding your usage.

Should I Buy the Intel Core i3 Processor?

If you are looking for a budget and cheap CPU, you should buy the Intel Core i3 processor. It can provide good single-core performance and satisfy you in gaming while paired with a dedicated GPU. But if you’re a heavy PC user, you should consider a better processor.

Before buying a processor, you must look at the simulation and real-life performance to match your expectation. Depending on the usage, we’ve discussed various sections and placed the Intel i3 processor among them to give you an idea about its capability.

I’ve described all the crucial points of the Core i3 processors with its tested benchmark and provided them below. Consider reading the following passage before purchasing the Intel i3 processors.

Single & Multi-Threaded Benchmark

The single and multithreaded benchmark refers to the performance of a CPU and helps to compare with others. It’s called the synthetic benchmark and measures with popular benchmarking applications like Cinebench and Geekbench 5.

The following chart will show you the single and multithreaded performance of the Intel i3-12100 and compare it with other Intel processors.single-and-multi-threaded-benchmark

As expected, the Intel i3 is far behind the mid and high-end processors in terms of single and multi-core performance.

The single-core performance is relatively close, and you can get a good result for apps and games which require only single-core performance.

But, due to its 4-core, the i3 processors are far behind in the multi-core performance, and won’t help you in the multithreaded process.

Likewise to the Cinebench R23, we’ve got a similar result in Geekbench 5 benchmark. The following chart will give the Geekbench 5 scoring of the i3 processor.geekbench-5

So, if you need to do lots of multitasking, the Intel i3 isn’t much suitable for your everyday process.

But, if you prefer the single-threaded performance, Core i3 is a cheaper option for you.

Productivity Benchmark

Among the productivity applications, Blender, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe Photoshop are very popular. The productive performance gives a real-life benchmark and idea about the processor’s capability.

The following chart will describe the scoring of Intel Core i3-12100 in various software.core-i3-12100-in-various-software

We’ve run our custom logo in Blender 3D with a different processor, and the performance of the Intel i3-12100 isn’t so satisfying.

It took way more time compared to the average, and not preferable for 3D rendering.3d-rendering

The high-end CPU outperforms the low-end PC in the Adobe Premiere benchmark. However, if you occasionally do the editing, the i3 shouldn’t give you much hassle.adobe-benchmark

After coming to Adobe Photoshop, it performed comparatively better than the previous test. The Intel i3 even outperformed the best processor of the 9th gen.

So, the Core i3 processor will give you enough performance in photo editing, but for the best, you need to choose the high-end CPUs.

Gaming Benchmark

The previous passage has shown you the gaming performance of the Intel i3-12100 with the iGPU. But after using a dedicated graphics card, it provides great performance in games, and most AAA games are easily playable.

The Core i3 processors may have fewer numbers of cores. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing, since how many cores you need mostly depends on your usage. Most modern games depend on single-core performance, and multicore doesn’t affect much experience.

We’ve tested various processors with the same rig and game settings to get a gaming benchmark. For the test rig, We’ve used an RTX 3080 and 16 GB RAM.

The following chart will show you the benchmarks of the Intel i3 processor and compare it with other Intel CPUs.Intel-cpus

CS: GO is a CPU-bound game. But when paired with a dedicated graphics card with the Intel i3-12100, it provides more than 250 FPS in a match.

Also, Intel has introduced the turbo boost from the 8th gen processors, and you can enable the Intel Turbo Boost to maximize the CPU performance.cpu-performance

Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t a well-optimized game. But still, the Intel i3 has provided a 143 FPS in this massive game.massive-game

In the Far Cry 6, the 12th gen Intel Core i3-12100 has provided a slightly better frame per second compared to the 11th gen i5 processor. But the i3 is still 30% behind the most powerful CPU in the FPS segment.fps-segment

We’ve also seen a similar performance in Read Dead Redemption 2, and the Intel i3 stays at the bottom of the benchmark chart with 140 FPS.

After running multiple games with dedicated GPUs, we’ve found the i3 processors at the end of the list, which isn’t unexpected.

Power Consumption

When it comes to power consumption, the low-end processor provides a better ratio than the high-end CPUs.

Check the tables below to see the power consumption and estimated energy consumption of Intel 12th gen Core i3 processors.

CategoryIntel Core i3-1215UIntel Core i3-12300Intel Core i5-12600KIntel Core i7-12700KIntel Core i9-12900K
Power Consumption15W60W150W190W241W
Estimated Power Consumption/Year10.943.8109.5138.7175.9
Estimated Running Cost/Year$2.74$10.95$27.38$34.67$43.98

As shown in the table above, Intel i3 processors are very energy efficient and perfect for saving money.

The desktop version of the Intel i3 consumes 60W of power, while the laptop variant requires 15W—75% less than the desktop processor.

Value for Money

The value for money is a major factor when buying a processor. The CPU value is calculated by the Passmark score and the price of a processor.

The following table will show you the CPU value for the Intel processors.

ProcessorPassmark ScorePriceCPU Value
Intel Core i3-1210013813$14297.2
Intel Core i5-12600K27786$237117.2
Intel Core i7-12700K34762$34999.6
Intel Core i9-12900K41589$412100.94

The CPU price of Intel i3-12100 may be less, but the other processor has the better CPU value. But, the value ratio is very marginal, and if you have a low budget, the i3 is a definite choice.

After evaluating all the synthetic, real-life performance, and CPU value, the Intel i3 processor is far away from the mid and high-end processors.

If editing, streaming, and hard-core gaming are your main priority, then you shouldn’t go for the Intel Core i3 processor. But, if you are a minimal PC user, the i3 can be beneficial and save you a lot of money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is i3 better than i5?

No, the Intel Core i5 is better than the Intel Core i3 in terms of clock speed, performance in productivity, and gaming.

Is Intel i3 good for gaming?

The newer Intel i3 CPUs are the fastest budget gaming processors while pairing with a dedicated graphics card.

Is i3 good enough for students?

Yes, the Intel Core i3 is ideal for students to perform daily tasks, online classes, research, and many more.

Final Thought

The Intel Core i3 processors are manufactured for low-budget users and laptops for maintaining efficiency. It can serve you well in everyday activities, official tasks, and moderate gaming.

The above article has given a clear picture of the Core i3 performance and will help you before buying the next budget CPU.

If you find this article helpful, don’t forget to share them in the comment box below.