The Intel-i3 processor was first introduced in 2010. It’s truly come a long way and gets better and better over the generations. And, by all accounts, the i3 is still a good CPU.
Maybe you have an i3 or want to get one, or just from curiosity, you desire to know how many cores the Intel i3 has.
In response, I’ll go over this processor generation by generation. Because the core and performance vary with generation. So, let’s get started and learn more about this specific processor.
How Many Cores Does an Intel i3 Have?
From the beginning, Intel i3 processors always have 2 cores. At the launch of 8-gen Alder Lake in 2017, the i3 CPU gained an extra 2 cores. As a result, you can state that Intel i3 processors have 2–4 cores, depending on the model and generation.
Furthermore, Intel i3 still performs well enough to stay competitive in the market. You can easily compare the recent i3 with prior i5 counterparts.
Keep in mind, CPU cores and logical processors aren’t the same.
Before diving into the Intel i3 core counts, let’s talk about the pointer that Intel provides with their CPU models. As an example, Core i3-10105F, where the F stands for “there is no iGPU or integrated graphics”.
- H – High-performance laptop
- U – Low-performance laptop – battery saving
- G – Low-performance laptop based – battery saving
- Y – Laptop with extremely low performance
- K – Unlocked desktop-based high performance (Overclockable)
- No suffix – High performance desktop-based
- F – Does not have an iGPU.
- T – Desktop-based power-saving technology (Low TDP)
- E – stands for Embedded.
- M – Low-voltage laptop processor with high-performance graphics.
These are the pointers to give you some idea about the processor’s features or what it is based on. Now let’s find out how many cores i3 has throughout the different generations.
Check out our separate post on how many CPU cores do i need.
How Many Cores Does Intel i3 Have Across Generations?
The first generation i3 was launched in 2010 with 2 cores with a frequency speed of 2.93 GHz to 3.33 GHz. But the recently released 13th generation i3 has 4 cores and 8 threads with a frequency speed of 2.4 to 3.4 GHz and the turbo speed raises up to 4.5 GHz.
Let’s see how many cores the i3 has throughout generations:
From the First generation to the seventh generation, intel offers 2 cores and 4 threads. With some processors, there are just 2 cores and 2 threads. But without those specific processors, almost all other processors have hyperthreading and have double the threads with the core number.
1st generations to 7th iterations:
|CPU||Generation & Code Name||Cores||Threads||Frequency|
|Intel Core i3-390M||1st (Westmere)||2||4||2.6GHz|
|Intel Core i3-2390M||2nd (Sandy Bridge)||2||4||2.5GHz|
|Intel Core i3-3240||3rd (Ivy Bridge)||2||4||3.4GHz|
|Intel Core i3-4370||4th (Haswell)||2||4||3.8GHz|
|Intel Core i3-5005U||5th (Broadwell)||2||4||2.0GHz|
|Intel Core i3-6320||6th (Skylake)||2||4||3.9GHz|
|Intel Core i3-7350K||7th (Kaby Lake)||2||4||4.2GHz|
From the 8th generation, Intel raises the core counts for the i3 equivalent but keeps the thread count same. Intel launched 4 cores and 4 threads processors in core-i3 in October 2017.
But from the 10th gen, the thread counts doubled for better multitasking.
8th generations to 13 iterations:
|CPU||Generation & Code Name||Cores||Threads||Frequency|
|Intel Core i3-8350K||8th (Coffee Lake)||4||4||4GHz|
|Intel Core i3-9350KF||9th (Coffee Lake Refresh)||4||4||4.6GHz|
|Intel Core i3-10105F||10th (Comet Lake)||4||8||3.7GHz|
|Intel Core i3-11100HE||11th (Rocket Lake)||4||8||4.40GHz|
|Intel Core i3-12100E||12th (Alder Lake)||4||8||4.2GHz|
|Intel Core i3-13100F||13th (Raptor Lake)||4||8||4.5GHz|
Note: Also, there is some core i3 model with 10 cores, like Intel Core i3-1220P, which has 10 cores which Intel makes possible with their hybrid core technology. 2 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores with 12 threads, and i3-N300 which has 8 cores and 8 threads.
These are not mainstream and just developed for certain criteria. That’s why this is not added or talked about throughout the article.
As you see, core count changes and the performance really stands in a competitive manner for Intel Core i3. It still offers adequate performance compared to its other core i5 and i7 siblings.
You can also refer to our guide on how to enable all CPU cores on your PC.
How the Latest i3 Performs Against i5 and i7
We always judge a CPU’s performance with its core counts. A certain portion is true, but there are other feature factors to consider when talking about the CPU’s performance.
I already mentioned Core i3 has been in the market for a decade. And you can easily compare the latest core i3 with the 7th or 8th generation’s core i5 or i7. You can even play some great game titles with modern core i3 processors.
However, it may come short with productivity like video rendering and other core-hungry applications. But for many games, it will be sufficient. If you wish to get one, then it depends entirely on how you will use the machine.
For your convenience, here is the benchmark for core i3 with other counterparts:
Does i3 have 6 cores?
The current Core i3 processor lineup from Intel is almost completely quad-core. Their Core i5 Chipsets for desktop PCs have six cores, while their mobile Core i5 processors are mostly quad-core.
Can I use i3 for gaming?
Though Core i3 Chipsets are the entry-level processors in Intel’s Core processor lineup, they are capable of gaming.
Is Ryzen 3 better than the i3?
All in all, the Intel Core i3-12100 performed 28.8% better than the AMD Ryzen 3 single-core score in Cinebench R23. Even in multi-core scores, Intel came out on top, with 26% improved performance than the Ryzen 3 3300X.
Is i3 low-end?
The Core i3 CPUs complete the Core series’ low-end offerings. They provide dependable efficiency but have restricted support for advanced applications and technologies.
The Intel Core-i3 processor still performs well enough to remain competitive in the market. Depending on the model and generation, it has 2–4 cores. The modern Intel i3 processor has four cores and eight threads. And Intel just offers two cores from the first to the seventh generation.
Through the article, I discussed how i3 has evolved over the last decade in the article. From two to four cores, and now outperforms old flagship counterparts.
Even today, the i3 is a fantastic middle-weight performer for moderate gaming and multitasking.