If you’re a PC gamer looking to build a PC on a tight budget, you must have considered one of AMD’s Ryzen 3 or Intel’s Core i3 CPU lineups. These are the entry-level gaming CPU lineups to cater to AMD and Intel fans looking to build a gaming PC without spending much. But which lineup is better? Today, we find out as we compare Ryzen 3 vs Core i3 in terms of history, specifications, and performance.
- Intel’s Core i3 lineup launched in 2010, while AMD’s Ryzen 3 lineup launched in 2017.
- Intel’s Core i3 CPU (12100F), compared to a Ryzen 3 (4100) CPU of the same price ($99) and year, was 42% faster in 1080P gaming.
- All the AMD Ryzen 3 CPUs support overclocking, but only a few Core i3 CPUs support overclocking.
- All CPUs from the Core i3 lineup contain integrated graphics, but not all Ryzen 3 CPUs have integrated graphics.
- Both the Core i3 and Ryzen 3 CPUs have similar power consumption numbers.
- There is a large variety of Core i3 CPUs (new and used) on the market, with new CPUs coming to every generation. The same can’t be said for AMD’s Ryzen 3 lineup, as AMD has not released any Ryzen 3 CPUs on their Zen 3 or Zen 4 architectures.
History Of Intel Core i3
The first lineup of Core i3 CPUs launched in January 2010. A year after the launch of the Core i5 and two years after the launch of the Core i7 lineup. At the time, the Core i3 lineup was intended to replace the dual-core Core2Duo lineup. Keeping that in mind, these were also dual-core CPUs but with hyperthreading, meaning they had 4 threads.
Also Read: Intel i3-12100F vs Ryzen 5 5600x
Being entry-level CPUs, they were priced just above the $100 mark, and the first generation Core i3 lineup had a TDP rating of 73 watts across the board. Intel aimed to make them more and more power efficient with each generation, though.
The first major change occurred when Intel launched the 8th generation Core i3 lineup. Here, Intel moved from 2 to 4 cores but retained the 4 threads as hyperthreading was disabled.
Then from the 10th generation onwards, hyperthreading was added again to the Core i3 CPUs, giving each CPU 4 cores and 8 threads. Intel has persisted with this 4-core/8-thread configuration as of the launch of the 13th generation Core i3 lineup.
With the launch of the 13th generation Core i3 lineup, Intel has continued to deliver impressive gaming performance at the same $110-$140 price point while keeping these chips extremely power efficient.
History Of Ryzen 3
The Ryzen 3 lineup was released in January 2017, along with Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7, and was created on the Zen architecture. This lineup was introduced as economic quad-core chips to compete with Intel’s Core i3 lineup.
AMD’s entry-level lineup hasn’t been seen getting as much attention as the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 lineups and it also hasn’t seen major changes except for architectural upgrades.
The Ryzen 3 CPUs have been rated at 65 watts through every generation, with lower power “E” models being more power efficient at 35 watts. They also followed the 4 cores/4 threads configuration until the launch of the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X in 2020, which had 4 cores and 8 threads.
The last launched member of the Ryzen 3 lineup is the Ryzen 3 4100, launched in 2022. Although it was launched after the Ryzen 5000 series, it’s based on the older Zen 2 architecture.
Core i3 Vs Ryzen 3
Now, let’s look at the main differences (or lack thereof) between the two competing lineups.
Core And Thread Counts
The Core i3 CPUs featured 2 cores with 4 threads up till the launch of the 8th generation lineup. After that, hyperthreading was added to the 10th generation lineup, and this 4 core/8 thread configuration has been retained as of the launch of the 13th generation Core i3 CPUs.
In contrast, the Ryzen 3 CPUs initially contained 4 cores with 4 threads, except for the discontinued Ryzen 3 Pro 2200GE, which had 2 cores and 4 threads. AMD moved to 4 cores and 8 threads with the launch of the Ryzen 3000 series, but the APUs retained the 4 cores/4 threads configuration. The APUs were also upgraded to 4 cores and 8 threads starting from the Ryzen 3 4000 series chips.
The difference in core and thread counts can be better summarized through this table:
|Lineup||Intel Core i3||AMD Ryzen 3|
|Cores (Threads)||2 (4) [1st Gen-7th Gen] 4 (4) [8th Gen-9th Gen] 4 (8) [10th Gen-13th Gen*]||4(4) [Ryzen 1000-Ryzen 2000] 4(8) [Ryzen 3000 (minus APUs)-5000*]|
The Ryzen 3 CPUs have 8 MB of L3 cache (except for the Ryzen 3 4100, which has 4 MB of L3 cache, and the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X, each of which have 16 MB of L3 cache). Also, all the Ryzen 3 APUs also have 4 MB of L3 cache.
The Core i3 lineup has had varying amounts of L3 cache with every generation. However, let’s discuss those that launched around or after the launch of AMD Ryzen. The 7th and 8th generation Core i3 CPUs have 4 MB L3 cache in the more powerful chips, while lower-end CPUs have 3 MB. In the same way, the 9th and 10th generation Core i3 CPUs have 8 MB of L3 cache for the more expensive models, and cheaper models have 6 MB of L3.
From the 12th generation onwards, all the Core i3 CPUs have 12 MB of L3 cache.
Depending on which particular CPUs you compare, either Core i3 or Ryzen 3 could have higher L3 cache counts. However, if you compare 12th generation or newer Core i3 chips to Ryzen 3, the Core i3 CPUs will take the upper hand.
All desktop Core i3 CPUs have integrated graphics built into the chip, including low-power “T” CPUs. On the other hand, only Ryzen 3 CPUs with the “G” suffix contain integrated graphics – these chips are classified instead as APUs (accelerated processing units).
Only a select few (those with the K suffix) Core i3 CPUs support overclocking. Although, depending on the generation, you can use BCLK overclocking, which increases your CPU’s clock rates along with the motherboard’s base clock rate. Intel’s Turbo Boost technology can also overclock newer Core i3 CPUs.
On AMD’s side, all the Ryzen 3 CPUs are overclockable by default, including G and GE variants.
Prices And Market Aims
The Core i3 and Ryzen 3 lineups have the same market goal: to appeal to PC gamers on a budget. In terms of prices, a Ryzen 3 CPU will cost you anywhere from $99 to $129. Most Core i3 CPUs also cost around $100, but some variants are closer to the $150 mark.
With power efficiency being the aim, all the Ryzen 3 CPUs have a TDP rating of 65 watts, and the “E” SKUs have a lower power draw at 35 watts. Looking at more recent Core i3 CPUs, they have similar TDP ratings or less! The 13th generation Core i3-13100 has a base TDP of 60 watts, while the power-efficient SKUs are rated at 35 watts.
You may be interested to read: How to Check Insufficient Power Supply?
It’s difficult to compare the performance of the Ryzen 3 vs Core i3 lineups, but we can look at the performance of two CPUs launched around the same time at similar price points. The most reasonable comparison would be Core i3-12100F vs Ryzen 3 4100. Both the CPUs were launched in 2022 with an MSRP of $99.
- Core i3-12100F on Asus ROG STRIX Z690-A D4
- Ryzen 3 4100 on ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) 3200 MHz
- Graphics Card: MSI RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO 10G
- Storage: 2x SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 2280 1TB
- Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850i 850W
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
God of War
- In God of War, the Core i3-12100F manages a healthy 143 FPS on average, with the Ryzen 3 4100 trailing by 40.1%.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 is also comprehensively beaten regarding the %1 lows, managing 61 FPS compared to 97 FPS of the Core i3-12100F.
Also Check: Intel 12th Gen vs 11th Gen
Grand Theft Auto 5
- Intel’s Core i3-12100F racks up 100 FPS on average, and the Ryzen 3 4100 counters that with 75 FPS.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 only manages 45 FPS in terms of %1 lows, while the Core i3-12100F scores 68 FPS.
Forza Horizon 5
- Both the CPUs perform quite well, but still, there’s a significant gap between them. The Core i3-12100F averages 195 FPS, while the Ryzen 3 4100 scores 155 FPS.
- Moving to the %1 lows, the Intel Core i3 12100F scores 129 FPS, and the Ryzen 3 4100 is 30% behind with 99 FPS.
- In CS:GO, the Core i3-12100F scores a massive 521 FPS on average and beats the Ryzen 3 4100 by a huge margin of 91%.
- The Core i3-12100F recorded 142 FPS in terms of %1 lows; the AMD Ryzen 3 4100 scored 91 FPS in reply.
Red Dead Redemption 2
- Red Dead Redemption 2 shows another big win for the Core i3-12100F as it notches up 112 FPS on average, beating the Ryzen 3 4100 by 45%.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 falls below the 60 FPS mark when it comes to the %1 lows, while the Core i3-12100F still maintains a healthy 81 FPS.
Also Read: Ryzen 9 5950X vs Core i9-10900K
- The Core i3-12100F is the better CPU of the two yet again, outscoring the Ryzen 3 4100 by 76%.
- Coming to the %1 lows, there is a 50% difference between the two CPUs – the Ryzen 3 4100 scores 30 FPS, and the Core i3-12100F scores 60 FPS.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 scores 75 FPS on average, and Intel’s Core i3-12100F counters that with 115 FPS.
- Both the CPUs show terrible %1 lows – the Ryzen 3 4100 scores only 26 FPS, while the Core i3-12100F scores 43 FPS. This indicates poor game optimization.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
- The Core i3-12100F comes out on top again with 121 FPS. The Ryzen 3 4100 scores 90 FPS – a 34% difference.
- Intel’s Core i3-12100F falls to 90 FPS in terms of the %1 lows, while the Ryzen 3 4100 drops to 66 FPS.
- Another significant victory for the Core i3-12100F is recorded as it scores 156 FPS compared to 105 FPS of the Ryzen 3 4100.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 scores 41 FPS during the lowest %1 frame time, while the Core i3-12100F still scores a hefty 74 FPS.
- In the final test, the Core i3-12100F wins by a 54% difference in average FPS.
- The Ryzen 3 4100 scores 56 FPS at the %1 worst, trailing the Core i3-12100F by 55%.
Overall Performance Comparison
- The Core i3-12100F scored 129.4 FPS on average across the 9 games, and the Ryzen 3 4100 countered that with 90.6 FPS. Thus, the Core i3-12100F is 42% faster in 1080P gaming.
- In terms of %1 FPS, the Core i3-12100F recorded 80.8 FPS compared to 52.8 FPS of the Ryzen 3 4100 – a 53% difference.
Also Read: Ryzen 5 7600X Vs Core i5-13400
The Core i3 lineup is still a primary focus for Intel, along with the more powerful “Core” lineups. Except for the 11th generation, there have been new Core i3 CPUs in every generation. Most recently, Intel released a new batch of Core i3 CPUs for their Raptor Lake generation, and they continue to dominate the budget PC market.
AMD has mostly ignored the Ryzen 3 lineup since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs. In fact, they have not released any Ryzen 3 CPUs on their Zen 3 OR Zen 4 architecture, which tells us that AMD’s focus is on the Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9 lineups. Perhaps this is because Ryzen 3 simply couldn’t compete with Intel’s Core i3 lineup, as we’ve analyzed in the performance tests.
Overall, Intel’s Core i3 lineup provides much more variety, with new CPUs still launching with every generation.
We’ve summed up the Ryzen 3 vs Core i3 differences in a table. Note that the red cross doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular feature is missing from the CPU lineup but that it’s more easily found in the other lineup. For example, all the Ryzen 3 CPUs are overclockable, but only a handful of Core i3 CPUs can be overclocked. No tick or cross means that the particular feature or specification can’t be compared because it varies in different lineups.
Looking at the comparison table, the Core i3 lineup has more wins than the Ryzen 3 lineup, but let’s analyze further.
The Core i3 and Ryzen 3 lineups have comparable core and thread counts and L3 cache, but in terms of performance, it seems that the Core i3 lineup is far ahead of Ryzen 3. Ryzen 3 CPUs are around the $100 mark, while some Core i3 CPUs are closer to the $150 mark. However, this equation is canceled out if the Core i3 CPU performs better, as we saw in the comparison.
Also Read: Ryzen 7 5700X Vs Ryzen 7 5800X3D
Every CPU in the Ryzen 3 lineup supports overclocking. Regarding integrated graphics, the Core i3 lineup wins as every Core i3 CPU has built-in graphics while only the Ryzen 3 APUs have iGPUs.
Finally, in terms of variety, the Core i3 lineup has a much larger lineup to choose from across 12 generations of CPUs (so far!). On the other hand, the Ryzen 3 CPU lineup is not as vast, and AMD have not released any Ryzen 3 CPUs on their two latest architectures: Zen 3 and Zen 4.
So to conclude our Ryzen 3 vs Core i3 comparison, the Core i3 lineup is much better than the Ryzen 3 lineup as things stand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Intel’s Core i3 lineup is better than AMD Ryzen 3 regarding integrated graphics and variety. Depending upon the particular CPUs, Core i3 may also be faster. For example, the Core i3-12100F is faster than the Ryzen 3 4100.
Only the Core i3 CPUs with the “K” suffix can be overclocked. You can still try overclocking your CPU by using BCLK overclocking or Intel’s Turbo Boost option.
While some Core i3 CPUs may cost close to $150, most of them still cost around the $100 mark, which is the same price for an average Ryzen 3 CPU.
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