While we here at AnandTech tend to be focused at the high-end of Intel's Core CPU product stacks, the company has a far more comprehensive lineup than we typically have the time to take a look at. There are the flagship models, of course, such as the Core i9-13900K and KS SKUs, which feature the highest core counts, clockspeeds, and support for overclocking. Meanwhile for users requiring fewer cores but still want other performance, Intel also has its Core i7 and Core i5 series with many different SKUs, including some enthusiast-aimed K-series parts.

Getting away from these enthusiast parts though, Intel has a significant number of vanilla, non-K series chips. These parts typically offer a better balance of performance, power consumption, and efficiency at every level. This is also where you'll find Intel's cheapest parts– which don't have enthusiast variations – the Core i3 series. Aimed at the entry-level market, the i3 parts are built around four Performance (P) cores, dropping the efficiency cores in exchange for offering entry-level users a cheaper alternative for non-critical and less demanding tasks.

For this generation Intel technically only offers a single i3 tier, the i3-13100, which is further broken up into three configurations: the base version, the 35W TDP version (i3-13100T), and finally a version without working integrated graphics, the i3-13100F. Today we're taking a look at the latter of those chips, which at an MSRP of $109 is the single cheapest chip in the 13th generation Core lineup, making it the true entry-level part for this generation.

From a hardware perspective, the Core i3-13100F offers 4 P cores with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.5GHz, which are backed by 12 MB of L3 cache. As previously noted, the only feature difference for this part is that the Core i3-13100F doesn't include the integrated graphics (Intel UHD Graphics 730) normally found on the i3-13100, and as a result it's intended for use with discrete graphics.

As the cheapest of Intel's 13th generation Core series SKUs, is there any real value to be found? And does the i3-13100F deliver enough performance to justify it to users on a budget? Today we're digging in to see if the Core i3-13100F does enough to claim the quad-core top crown, and determine how it compares to the rest of Intel and AMD's entry to mid-range offerings.

Before we dive right into the Core i3-13100F review, below is a list of our detailed Intel 13th gen Core/Raptor Lake coverage:

Intel Core i3-13100F: Comparing Apples to Apples, Alder Lake Refresh?

Intel and AMD have options to cater to the entry-level market with their Core i3 and Ryzen 3/5 series. While we've seen a number of these high-end and flagship SKUs from both parties over the last couple of months, and the entry-level range is perhaps where the highest levels of value can be had, especially for users and gamers on a tight budget.

There is, of course, a significant gap in performance going from an i3 with four P cores to a 24-core (8P+16E) Core i9 processor in terms of raw compute performance, and the higher Core i9/i7 series will undoubtedly munch through tasks such as video rendering and encoding faster. For any workload or task that can utilize more than four cores, it's likely more advantageous for enthusiasts and professionals to opt for the Core i9/i7 series, but, of course, not every user needs that much power.

The Intel Core i3-13100F is an interesting proposition for those types of users that don't envisage doing hefty workloads, but require a functional system that still delivers solid performance at a lower overall cost than Intel's higher-end chips. It's based around four performance cores based on Intel's Golden Cove microarchitecture, which is the same core as Intel's 12th Gen core series performance cores. 

Intel Core i3 Specifications
AnandTech Cores
L3 Cache
iGPU Base
i3-13100 4+0/8 3400 4500 12 730 60 89 $134
i3-13100F 4+0/8 3400 4500 12 - 58 89 $109
i3-13100T 4+0/8 2500 4200 12 730 58 69 $134
i3-12300 4+0/8 3500 4400 12 730 60 89 $143
i3-12300T 4+0/8 2300 4200 12 730 35 69 $143
i3-12100 4+0/8 3300 4300 12 730 60 89 $122
i3-12100F 4+0/8 3300 4300 12 - 58 89 $97
i3-12100T 4+0/8 2200 4100 12 730 35 89 $122

The performance cores of the Core i3-13100F feature a base clock of 3.4 GHz, with an all-core turbo of 4.5 GHz. When compared directly to the Core i3-12300, we reviewed last year; the Core i3-13100/13100F has the same cores, the same 12 MB of Intel Smart L3 cache, and the same turbo power rating of 89 W. The most significant difference between the top Intel 12th Gen Core i3 and the latest 13th Gen Core i3 is a 100 MHz variation in core frequency; -100 MHz on the base clock but a 100 MHz increase in the turbo clock speeds. All of Intel's 13th and 12th Gen Core i3 series chips can support either DDR5-4800 or DDR4-3200 memory, which adds some flexibility in terms of platform support available, particularly for users on a budget.

Given both the Core i3-13100F and the Core i3-12300 both have the same Golden Cove cores, very similar core clock speeds, and similar TDPs, it would be fair to think that the 13th Gen Core i3 series is basically a 12th Gen refresh here, and it's hard to argue that point. But underpinning hardware aside, this also reflects how Intel has compressed its i3 product stack for this generation of chips. Intel's previous 12th Gen Core i3 series had two variations – a (12)300 and (12)100 SKU – whereas Intel has rolled it down into just one primary SKU line for the 13th Gen Core i3: the 13100 series. This means that the i3 family really only offers a single performance level to pick from for this generation, though there are 3 variants in total. These are the baseline Core i3-13100, the Core i3-13100T for lower-powered computing, and the ultra-budget Core i3-13100F without integrated graphics, which we're reviewing today.


While we don't expect there to be any performance differences between the Core i3-13100F and the Core i3-13100 – they have the same cores, same clock speeds, the same everything bar the iGPU– the Core i3-13100F presents a straightforward improvement in Intel's CPU stack, especially at its current street price of $100. The Core i3-13100F all but replaces the $97 Core i3-12100F, offering 200 MHz more turbo headroom for what's essentially the same street price. Otherwise Intel's official MSRPs at least try to place the i3-13100F as a higher tier chip, but especially with the softening market for consumer tech spending, the i3-13100F has little choice but to fill in at $100 if it wants to more quickly move.

In any case, as with Intel's 12th Gen Core i3 processors, the retail versions of the 13th Gen Core i3 series CPUs also come with Intel's Laminar RM1 stock cooler. This reduces the overall system cost as an aftermarket cooler isn't required, but it's also a good move as an 89 W CPU doesn't need an AIO or a full-tower cooler such as the Noctua NH-D15. Sure, the Intel Laminar RM1 cooler doesn't feature flashy LEDs or RGB. Still, the crux is that the Core i3 series is designed as a mainstream offering to deliver proportionate levels of compute performance for an entry-level price.

The Entry-Level Segment: Core i3-13100F versus AMD Ryzen 3 5300G

Sizing up the competition, what's notable here is Intel's entry-level 13th Gen Core i3 parts end up being in a much cheaper product segment than what's available under AMD's flagship Ryzen 7000 lineup. AMD's hasn't released any Ryzen 3-grade quad-core offerings for their latest Ryzen 7000 series, so Intel isn't even going up against a current-generation AMD chip as their direct competitor.

instead, the most recently launched AMD Ryzen processor with four cores is the Ryzen 3 5300G processor, which was actually OEM only when it launched back in 2021. The Zen 3-based processor is currently available at retailers such as Amazon for $100 as well, making it the anchor of AMD's budget processor lineup and the direct competitor to the i3-13100F.

The good news for Intel here is that this means the 13th Gen i3 processors are going up against older Zen 3 designs, and not AMD's improved Zen 4 hardware – so this is basically the Alder Lake versus Zen 3 quad core fight all over again, a fight Intel won last time. The not-as-good news for Intel is that it means that AMD is offering a decent integrated GPU on their $100 chip when Intel is not, a potentially significant advantage on a budget system.

Intel Core i3-13100F CPU-Z screenshot

Otherwise, the next step up in AMD's stack is the Ryzen 5 5500G ($138), the six core version of the same die used in the 5300G. Two additional CPU cores are a significant gain among these budget processors, though the extra $38 is also a similarly big leap in pricing, relatively speaking.

Past that is AMD's cheapest Zen 4 processor, the Ryzen 5 7600 ($229). At over twice the price of the i3-13100F, there's a clear gulf between the parts in price and expected performance. Still, with six Zen 4 CPU cores turboing up to 5.1GHz, it's a chip that warrants a seat at the table, if only for the potential spoiler effect.

The Core i3-13100F is an interesting proposition for users and gamers on a budget. The Core i3-13100F and the rest of the 13th Gen Core series processors are supported by more affordable motherboards and a much lower price than the AMD Ryzen 7000 offerings. For this review and to create a level playing field, we've tested the Core i3-13100F (as well as all of Intel's 13th Gen CPUs) with DDR5-4800 memory as per the chip's JEDEC specification.

The Current CPU Test Suite

For our Intel Core i3-13100F testing, we are using the following test system:

Intel 13th Gen Core System (DDR5)
CPU Core i3-13100F ($109)
4 Cores, 8 Threads
58 W Base TDP
89 W Turbo TDP
Motherboard MSI MPG Z790 Carbon WIFI
Memory SK Hynix
2x32 GB
DDR5-4800 CL40
Cooling EKWB EK-AIO Elite 360 D-RGB 360mm 
Storage SK Hynix Platinum P41 2TB PCIe 4.0 x4
Power Supply Corsair HX1000
GPUs AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT, 31.0.12019
Operating Systems Windows 11 22H2

Our updated CPU suite for 2023 includes various benchmarks, tests, and workloads designed to show variance in performance between different processors and architectures. These include UL's latest Procyon suite with both office and photo editing workloads simulated to measure performance in these tasks, CineBench R23, Dwarf Fortress, Blender 3.3, and C-Ray 1.1.  

Meanwhile, we've also carried over some older (but still relevant/enlightening) benchmarks from our CPU 2021 suite. This includes benchmarks such as Dwarf Fortress, Factorio, and Dr. Ian Cutress's 3DPMv2 benchmark.

We have also updated our pool of games going forward into 2023 and beyond, including the latest F1 2022 racing game, the CPU-intensive RTS Total War: Warhammer 3, and the popular Hitman 3.

CPU Benchmark Performance: Power, Office And Web
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  • nandnandnand - Friday, April 21, 2023 - link

    Now that AMD is offering an iGPU on all current AM5 CPUs, it will be interesting to see if Intel changes its 'F' strategy in any way, which has been the norm for several generations in a row. Intel already cuts down EU count from 32 to 24/16 (UHD 730/710). Might as well go to 16 (50%) instead of zero graphics.

    It would also be nice to see Intel compete with AMD APUs. Put 96-128 EUs on a desktop chip.
  • mode_13h - Friday, April 21, 2023 - link

    Thanks for the review, guys. Unfortunately, it didn't answer a key question I had: WHAT IS THIS CHIP?

    Was it made on Intel 7 or Raptor Lake's improved version? Does it have any silicon-level improvements or tweaks? Is it exactly the same die as the small Alder Lake desktop CPUs, but with the GPU disabled and maybe some microcode tweaks?
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, April 22, 2023 - link

    I don't know if it was ever officially confirmed anywhere, but it should be identical to the i3-12100F, based on the same 6+0 die used to make the 12400/12500/12600 (non-K) on the same version of Intel 7. Just with 100 MHz higher base and 200 MHz higher boost clocks.

    Intel will get another chance to do something interesting at the low-end with Raptor Lake Refresh later this year. For example, a 4+4 based on a different die.

  • Otritus - Saturday, April 22, 2023 - link

    All 13th generation CPUs below the 13600K are made using Alder Lake dies. The i5s are made with Alder Lake's 8+8 design. The i3s are most likely made with Alder Lake's 6+0 design, as cutting from 8+8 down to 4+0 is probably less profitable compared to using 6+0. There is a Raptor Lake 6+0 die I believe, but Intel did not release it due to having a glut of Alder Lake dies.
  • ads295 - Saturday, April 22, 2023 - link

    1. What's the most powerful GPU you could pair with this and some fast RAM?
    2. What games could that run?

    Trying to understand how this fits into a budget gaming build.
  • Otritus - Saturday, April 22, 2023 - link

    The interesting thing about bottlenecks is that there is almost never a pure bottleneck towards any single component. This means you could arguably pair this processor with a 7900XTX to get maximum raster performance. The problem with this processor having 4 cores is that it is going to be a bottleneck in any modern game that isn't some simple indie game. The processor is however fast enough to hit 60 FPS in all older games and most if not all newer ones. AMD drivers have less CPU overhead than Nvidia ones, so AMD will be faster on this processor. You can easily get away with DDR4-3200 on this processor, and it can run all games. I probably wouldn't pair this CPU with anything faster than a 3070, but a 3060 or 6600XT seem pretty reasonable.
  • valtteris_big_batteries - Saturday, April 22, 2023 - link

    Great review, something I've been thinking about for a long time. Does seem like going with an AM4 5600G achieves better points overall, but for situations like mine where I have a lot of spare legacy dGPUs from a longtime tech addiction, the 13100F makes a case in price.
  • kkilobyte - Sunday, April 23, 2023 - link

    I really wonder what the point is to compare such low-end CPUs coupled with a high-end GPU?

    On amazon where I live (Belgium), the lowest price for the RX 6950XT is about 750€, and most references available are priced above 800€.

    So how is it a "good value for money for entry-level users" ? It doesn't have an iGPU, so you must factor that in the total cost. For reference, a GT710 (which is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel) is priced at around 50€ on amazon. The 13100F is listed there at 125€, while the Ryzen 5600G is at 132€. So, if you factor the GPU price in, that becomes a 132 vs 175€ comparaison, adding that the Ryzen iGPU is better than a GT710. Even if you add the motherboard in the equation, the Ryzen will still cost less: there are several B550 motherboards listed at around 110€. So that would put the price of the AMD-based platform at 242€ vs 270€, and you'd get a more capable platform for most tasks, including gaming.

    So, what exactly is the point of that test, if not showing that picking the -F serie is not economically sound? I don't understand your conclusions at all, and think it is edging a bit on the dishonest side of things.
  • abufrejoval - Monday, April 24, 2023 - link

    It's *your* fault, that I keep buying these new computers.

    But I couldn't do it if it wasn't for the kids and in-laws that I could push the older devices to.

    And in both camps there are still Ivy Bridge i7-3770 (not even K), which for some reason run quite happily at up to 4.2GHz using 16GB of DDR3. There are also some Kaby Lake i7-7700K (@4.8GHz), generally with DDR3-2400, because DDR4 was what DDR5 is now.

    In terms of GPU it's GTX980ti, GTX1070 typically and they are completely happy!

    Mostly because they have 1920x1080 screens.

    When I chance to look at them playing, I actually often feel a bit jealous, because my RTX3090 with the Ryzen 5950X somehow doesn't seem to get close.... at 4k.

    Of course, most of it is simply that they really know how to game, while I'm just a 10 minute dabbler (well, actually it's 10 seconds until I'm dead and 10 minutes until I give up trying).

    This discussion reminds me about the i3-7350K, a dual core Kaby Lake with hyper threading, which was hotly debated here vs. a "true quad" like the i5-7600K. I got one of those at the time and tried it and it was really rather capable; the main reason I eventually replaced it with a true quad was that those became rather cheap and I wanted to retain the value of the rest of the system, basically until today.

    Since I'm not a competent gamer, I might simply not be sensitive enough to notice the slight slow-downs that might be caused by "temporary core shortages" these days. But when I look at CPU graphs on my really big machines (16-18 cores), I don't see even recent games using lots of cores.

    Some, like the even the most recent version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator remain essentially single-threaded, others might use a little more but since truly balancing a gaming workload across 4, 8, 16 or more cores is very difficult to do, it's still rarely getting done.

    So if you are tight on the money, I'd also argue that the extra €50-100 are better spent on GPU, DRAM or SSD. At the same time extra cores will sleep saving thermal and electrical budget and give you the peace of mind that if you need the extra oomp, you can have it.

    I'd second the request to provide a bit of an overview on the current chips that Intel produces to navigate the near infinite number of SKUs they produce from them.

    And it seems that this really is a cut down version of what might already be the smallest (non-mobile) AD die, because for a Raptor Lake die, such a chip sounds like 30% active surface area, hard to imagine as a real yield result.

    I realize that Intel itself isn't keen on having that information out in the public, but that's why we turn to Anandtech: to learn more than vendors preach already.
  • Otritus - Monday, April 24, 2023 - link

    Modern games only need 6 cores to run properly. Consoles just got 8 proper high performance cores with SMT in 2020. In the future you will probably need 8 SMT cores or 6-7 SMT cores with little cores for background tasks. It's why Intel only maxes out with 8 P-cores before adding in little cores, and why the i5 still has 6 P-cores.

    The die used was Alder Lake's 6+0 die cut down into a 4+0 configuration. Raptor Lake also has its own die of 6+0 I believe that Intel never used due to a glut of Alder Lake dies.

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