AMD has launched their new Ryzen 3 3100 for $100 USD, but how does the cheaper $75 i3-9100F from Intel stack up? Let’s see what the differences are in games and applications at stock and while overclocked to see which is worth it.
Starting out with the specs, the new Ryzen 3100 is a 4 core 8 thread part, while the Intel i3-9100F has 4 cores but 4 threads, so no hyperthreading there. They both share the same base clock, however the 9100F has a higher single core turbo boost speed. The 3100 has more cache, though both have the same default 65 watt TDP, and I’m comparing these two processors because they’re only priced $25 USD apart.
It’s worth noting that Intel is about to launch their 10th gen i3-10100 which does have hyperthreading, so depending on the price that could change things up.
Both CPUs were tested in the same system, however I’ve obviously had to change motherboards. For the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 I’ve tested with the ASRock X570 Taichi and for the Intel i3-9100F I’ve used the MSI Z390 ACE motherboard. The rest of the components were otherwise the same, I’ve tested with 16gb of DDR4-3200 memory running in dual channel at CL14 and with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks.
Although both chips come with a stock cooler, I haven’t tested with that. I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H1 paste for both CPUs so we can get an apples to apples temperature comparison.
Testing was completed with the latest version of Windows and Nvidia drivers along with all BIOS updates available installed.
With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications, as well as power draw and thermals, followed by gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p resolutions afterwards, then finish up by comparing some performance per dollar metrics. I’ve tested both CPUs at stock to start with, but the 3100 can be overclocked which we’ll check out later.
Starting with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the Intel i3-9100F processor in the top bar, and the newer AMD Ryzen 3 3100 in the bottom bar. The 3100 has a 46% higher multicore score, however single core is much lower where it just had a 5% lead.
I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use it. The single core performance was even closer together here with the 3100 scoring just 2% higher, however when it came to multicore the 3100 was now a much higher 57% ahead. I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks, and as a test that works better with more threads it’s another win for the 3100 which was completing both tests faster. It was 51% faster for the classroom test, then 46% faster in the shorter BMW test. Handbrake was used to convert 4K video to 1080p with the HQ 1080p30 preset, and as another program that leverages additional threads, the 3100 was able to complete the encode 44% faster than the 9100F. Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K, and I’ve used VBR 2 pass so both were running for over an hour. In this test the 3100 was able to complete the task about 36% faster than the 9100F. If you spend more on a 9100 with iGPU though, it could do better by utilizing quicksync. Premiere was also tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool, and in this test the 3100 had a 50% higher score than the i3, and this score includes more than just export times which is what we saw in the last graph, it also tests things like live playback.
I’ve also tested the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere which is a less threaded workload and is used to smooth out a video clip. The 3100 was completing the task 16% faster, which was one of the lower differences out of all applications tested. Speaking of apps with smaller differences, Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the benchmark from Puget systems, and the 3100 was only scoring 6% ahead of the i3-9100F. 7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds, a workload that Ryzen traditionally demolishes Intel in. The 3100 was 68% faster when it came to decompression, and 50% faster for compression. AES encryption is another workload that Ryzen seems to thrive in when compared to Intel. In the VeraCrypt test the 3100 was over 91% faster for both encryption and decryption workloads, the biggest difference out of everything I’ve tested. The V-Ray benchmark uses the CPU to render out a scene, and as another test that sees a benefit from more threads, there’s a 41% higher score with the Ryzen 3 3100. The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene, again as another test that scales with additional threads, the 3100 was able to complete the task 51% faster than the 9100F. I’ve used the Hardware Unboxed Microsoft Excel test, and the 3100 was able to complete the big number crunch test 71% faster than the 9100F, making this one of the biggest differences out of all applications tested, so that Ryzen chip might make a nice office PC. GeekBench 5 hardly saw much difference between the two when it came to single core performance, the 3100 was just 1% faster, however there was a much larger difference to multicore, where the 3100 was now 27% ahead of the 9100F, though this is on the lower side when compared to most other multicore workloads tested.
These are the differences between the Ryzen 3 3100 and Intel i3-9100F in all of these applications tested. As we can see, results can really vary based on the specific workload, however the 3100 was coming out ahead in every single one of these tests, so both single and multicore workloads. The improvement seems fair and expected when you consider the 3100 costs about 33% more money than the 9100F.
When we look at the total system power draw from the wall however, interestingly both processors were running the blender test at 119 watts But as we just saw, the blender test was completing 46 to 51% faster on the Ryzen 3 3100, so it seems to be a fair bit more efficient with the power it’s using.
Although not exactly directly comparable, the 3100 was running 100MHz slower in this test. Not only is the 3100 performing much better while using the same power, it’s also actually running slightly cooler as well. The difference wasn’t big though, and even under this CPU heavy workload both were running quite cool, granted I am testing with a beefy cooler here, expect different results with the stock coolers.
Enabling the auto overclock feature through the Ryzen Master software only gave us a little boost The 3100 is already fairly tapped out at stock, which I think is good for the majority of people that will probably end up buying a lower end processor like this. The 9100F does not support overclocking.
Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested 17 games at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. As a reminder I’m using the RTX 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks, the goal of these numbers is not to show you what sort of frame rates to expect from these processors with more reasonable GPUs, it’s to compare the processors against each other. Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode. I’ve got the 1080p results down the bottom, and the 1440p results above. In this game the i3-9100F was coming out ahead in all instances, with a 13% higher average FPS at 1080p, and 10% higher at 1440p. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, and the results went the other way in this test, where the 3100 was in front in all instances. The 3100 had a 23% higher average frame rate at 1080p, and was 27% higher at 1440p. Call of Duty modern warfare was tested in campaign mode, and was another game that ran better with the 3100. The 1% low at 1080p wasn’t far behind even the average FPS from the 9100F, however the differences are closer together once we step up to 1440p. Borderlands 3 was tested using the games built in benchmark, and the 9100F was back in front in this test, with a 7% higher average FPS at 1080p, and a little lower 6% increase at 1440p. Apex Legends was tested with the Season 4 World’s Edge map running through the same section of the game. This game also appears to favour the Intel processor, at least in terms of average FPS, the 1% low performance was much closer together with the 3100 actually slightly ahead at 1440p. Control was also tested by performing the same test pass through the game in all instances, and there was basically no significant difference between the two processors here at either resolution, just an ever so slight lead by the i3 in most cases. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and the 3100 was ahead at both resolutions in average FPS. The 3100 was 14% higher at 1080p, then had a 7% lead at 1440p. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool, so no 1% low data here unfortunately. The average FPS difference was much closer here, however the 3100 had the lead once more, though just by 2 to 3 FPS. Fortnite was tested using the replay feature with the exact same replay file on both processors. The 9100F had a 6% lead in average frame rate at 1080p, though slightly lower 1% low result, then the two chips were much closer together at 1440p. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the built in benchmark with Vulkan. The average frame rates weren’t too different between the two, just a 2-3% lead by the 9100F, though interestingly the 9100F has a 14% higher 1% low result at 1440p. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and the results were basically the same with either processor, no major differences one way or the other, a couple of FPS in either direction. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane and was performing a fair bit better with the 9100F, this game saw the second biggest improvement with the i3 out of all 17 titles tested with a 15% higher average frame rate at 1080p, lowering slightly to a 13% lead at 1440p. Overwatch was tested in the practice range, and while this runs better than actual gameplay, it more easily allows me to perform the exact same test run, which is ideal for a comparison like this. There wasn’t much difference to average FPS, however the 3100 had a nice boost to 1% lows at 1080p. The Division 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and it was a win for the 3100 in all regards. Out of all 17 games tested, this game had the biggest improvement with the 3100 at 1080p, where the average FPS was 31% ahead of the 9100F. The Witcher 3 was tested running through the same section of the game, the 9100F was the winner here. Averages were barely ahead with the 3100 at 1080p, but it’s less than two FPS. The 9100F saw a slightly higher 4% boost to average FPS at 1440p, but perhaps more importantly there was a larger difference seen in the 1% lows. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games built in benchmark, this time the 3100 was in front in all cases. The difference to average FPS was more minor though when compared to the bigger gains seen in the 1% low results. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games built in benchmark, though this time the 9100F was back on top with some big gains. This title performed the best on the i3 out of all games covered and had a 15% higher average FPS at 1080p over the 3100.
On average over these 17 games tested, the Intel i3-9100F was just less than one percent slower than the Ryzen 3 3100. As you can see though, the results can vary significantly between individual game. Games like Call of Duty or The Division 2 really seemed to favour the 3100, while others like Far Cry and Dota preferred the 9100F. Many games saw minor differences one way or the other, but yeah once we average the results of all 17 titles tested, the 3100 was a little faster.
When we look at the 1440p results however, the i3-9100F now has a less than one percent lead over the 3100. This is a similar margin to the 1080p results, just going the other way now, however there are less larger swings between the two processors at this more GPU bound resolution. Based on these results, processor selection doesn’t really seem to matter too much in terms of gaming in the grand scheme of things.
On average they’re just one percent different in terms of average FPS. When we take the costs into consideration though, the 9100F is offering better value in terms of cost per frame. Although the gaming performance was similar on average, the 9100F is currently $25 cheaper, which is a significant amount at these price points. Basically if you’re only gaming, the 9100F is $25 cheaper while only performing 0.9% slower at 1080p, or 0.9% faster at 1440p, so it’s offering better value out of the two for games, granted it can depend vastly on the specific title.
That said though, if you’re after a good gaming experience, it’s probably worth spending a little more to upgrade the processor further to boost 1% low performance and have a smoother experience unless you’re on a really strict budget, I’m not exactly trying to recommend buying an i3 for gaming here, or the 3100 for that matter, again unless you’re after a lower end option. If you’re not gaming, or otherwise doing a mixture of gaming and core heavy workloads, as we saw earlier the 3100 offered some nice gains in the more productivity focussed workloads, so that would make sense as a better all rounder. For $25 more, some workloads were seeing in excess of 50% performance gains which could be worthwhile depending on what you’re using it for.
In terms of future upgradability, the 3100 also seems to offer the most options. As it uses the AM4 socket, technically if you buy a fairly decent mid range motherboard you could upgrade to the 3950X 16 core processor in future.
The 9100F could be upgraded to the 9900K 8 core processor at best, as Intel are moving to the new LGA 1200 socket for the 10th generation.
Additionally, Ryzen offers faster PCIe 4.0 support, while Intel 9th gen and even the upcoming 10th gen uses PCIe 3.0. As hardware unboxed have shown, the 3950X can run well in fairly priced B450 motherboards. On the Intel side, if you get a B360 board then memory for the 9100F will be capped at DDR4-2666 speeds, you need to go for a Z390 board like I tested with to use the faster 3200 speeds, which could be more expensive, whereas faster memory and overclocking is supported with the lower tier Ryzen boards.
It’s worth noting that at the time of the 3100 launch, Intel 10th gen isn’t too far away from launching. Once Intel launches the 10th gen i3-10100 with hyperthreading, I’d expect the story to change, of course depending on pricing. I’ll test it out in a future video once it’s available, but with the same thread count it should be much more competitive.
At the end of the day, I think we as consumers are winning here. AMD’s competitive processors are clearly one of the main reasons that Intel has brought back hyperthreading with their 10th generation processors, as it was missing from the 9th gen in all but the top end i9 series. Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, Intel’s i3-9100F or AMD’s Ryzen 3 3100? Granted at this point it’s probably worth waiting to see how Intel’s 10th gen stacks up.