Intel recently launched the i3-10100 processor, which has added hyperthreading to the i3, but just how much of a performance boost does this give us over the older i3-9100 and i3-8100 CPUs in games and applications? Let’s find out and see how they compare.
All three processors have 4 cores, however only the newest 10th gen 10100 has hyperthreading, the older 8100 and 9100 do not.All three have the same amount of cache and same base clock speed, however the maximum turbo speed increases with each generation. I’m comparing these processors because I think it will be interesting to see how the i3 has changed over time, and also to look at the difference hyperthreading will make.
In terms of price differences, the 10100 seems to go for $140 USD, $75 USD for the 9100F, while the 8100 appears to be more expensive, probably as it’s older and harder to find. There is also the F version of the 8100, but that’s not what I have here, so you could probably save some money if you don’t need the integrated graphics.
All processors were tested in the same system, however I’ve had to change motherboards as the 10th gen uses the new LGA1200 socket.For the 8100 and 9100 I’ve used the MSI Z390 ACE, and for the 10100 I’ve used the MSI Z490 ACE. While none of these processors can be overclocked, using these more expensive motherboards does allow for faster memory.
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 bottlenecks. Obviously this is not typical hardware you’d match with an i3, the goal of this comparison is not to show you what you’d expect with more real world hardware, but to instead to compare the processors. It probably would have made more sense to test with slower memory, but I had this data for other comparisons and didn’t want to test all three processors twice.
Although all chips came with a stock cooler, I’ve done all testing with my Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste.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.
Starting with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the Intel i3-10100 processor at the top of the graph, the next level 9100F below in the middle, then the older 8100 down the bottom. Straight away we can see the 10th gen i3 has the largest boost in multicore performance owing to the fact that it has hyperthreading unlike the rest. This puts it 36% faster than the 9100 and 54% faster than the 8100.I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use it, and the margins were quite similar to what we just saw with the newer R20.Blender was tested with the Opendata BMW and Classroom benchmarks. The 10100 was able to complete this task around 60% faster than the 8th gen 8100, or 44% faster when compared to the 9th gen 9100, so some nice gains there due to this being another highly threaded workload.Handbrake was used to convert one of my 4K laptop review videos to 1080p with the HQ 1080p30 preset, and as another program that leverages additional threads, the i3-10100 was the fastest out of these options, coming out 28% faster than the 9th gen i3, and 42% faster than the 8th gen i3.Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K, and I’ve used VBR 2 pass so all were running for over an hour. Again the 10100 was completing the task fastest as expected, putting it 26% faster than the 9100F, or 40% faster when compared with the 8100.Premiere was also tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool, and this test factors in more than just export times such as live playback. The 10100 was doing much better in these combined Premiere tests now, scoring 42% faster than the 9100F, and a massive 63% faster than the 8100, so if you’re a video editor the 10th gen option does offer some nice improvements.I’ve used the Puget Systems Photoshop benchmark, and while there are modest improvements with the newer chips, the difference is less pronounced compared to other multicore heavy workloads. The 10100 was scoring 11% ahead of the 9100F, and 21% ahead of the 8100, which while sounding good, is one of the lower results out of all applications tested.7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds, and the extra threads with the 10100 appear to be offering a significant boost over the other options.AES encryption and decryption was tested using VeraCrypt, and this workload saw the largest improvement with the 10100 out of all applications tested, with the 10100 more than 80% faster than the 8100.The V-Ray benchmark uses the CPU to render out a scene, and as another multicore test, the 10100 was scoring much higher over the other two i3 processors. It was scoring 38% faster than the 9100F, and 48% faster than the 8100.The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene, and as another threaded workload the 10100 was doing much better than the others, completing the task 58% faster than the 9100F, and 75% faster compared to the 8100.I’ve used the Hardware Unboxed Microsoft Excel test, and the i3-10100 was once more completing the task the fastest, almost 50% faster over the 9100, and nearly 60% faster than the 8100.GeekBench 5 was seeing one of the lower differences in the multicore score when compared to the other threaded workloads, though the 10100 still has a 20 to 30% lead over the others in multicore score, and while the single core scores are higher too, this was the lowest improvement seen to single core performance out of all apps tested.
These are the differences between the Intel i3-10100 against the i3-9100F from last generation.As we can see, results can really vary based on the specific workload, however the 10100 was ahead in all cases, which makes sense given it’s got double the thread count and a 100Mhz higher turbo boost speed.
Here’s how the 10100 compares against the older 8100F from the 8th generationas the 8100 is clocked a fair bit lower without turbo boost speeds, the differences are much larger compared to what we just saw with the 9100.
Here’s how much faster the 9100F is in these same tests over the 8100I’ve left the X Axis scale the same to the last two graphs shown as this really shows how much more of an improvement the 10100 is offering.When we look at the total system power draw from the wall in the blender test, the 8100 was using the least amount of power as you’d expect, however I found it very interesting that the 10100 was using less compared to the 9100F.The 10th gen option must be a fair bit more efficient, because while using less power it’s completing this task around 44% faster than the 9100F.As the 10100 is using less power than the 9100F, it’s not too surprising to see it also running a little cooler as well, though the 8100F was cooler still, granted these temps under heavy blender load are no issues at all with my way overkill AIO, I suspect they’d be fine with their stock coolers too.
These are the clock speeds that were reached over all cores.All three of these options had no issues running at their maximum all core speeds.
Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested 15 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 in an unconstrained manner.Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode. I’ve got the 1080p results down the bottom, the 1440p results above. At 1080p there wasn’t too much of a boost in average FPS, while the 1% low was about the same on the 9th and 10th gen chips. At 1440p the averages are much closer together, though the 1% low continued improving the newer the processor.Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, and as a test that I’ve noted to be fairly CPU dependent in the past, the 10100 was seeing massive gains. At 1080p even its 1% low was above the average frame rate from the 9100F. The 10100 was 36% faster in average FPS over the 9100F at 1080p and 1440p, then a larger 51% faster than the 8100 at 1080p and 45% faster at 1440p.Call of Duty modern warfare was tested in campaign mode, and at 1080p the results were a little inconsistent as seen by the 9100F coming in a little behind the 8100. This was also noted in the 1% low performance at 1440p, however this time the average FPS was ahead of the 8100, but either way there are no major differences in this game between these three i3 processors.Borderlands 3 was tested using the games built in benchmark. Again not too much of a difference in terms of average FPS, though the 1% lows were a little odd with the 9100F seemingly doing better there at 1440p but then about the same as the 8100 at 1080p.Control was tested by performing the same test pass through the game on all three test systems. At 1080p the average frame rate was very close regardless of processor used, however the 1% low was improving more as we step up through from oldest to newest.Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and this test saw big gains from the 10th gen processor. At 1080p the 10100 was 49% faster than the 8100 and 33% faster than the 9100F, then at 1440p the 10100 was 36% faster than the 8100 and 22% faster than the 9100F, so less of a difference at the higher resolution as the processor typically matters less there.Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool, and there were also some fair improvements seen with the newer processors. At 1080p the 10100 was 18% faster than the 9100F just below it, but 29.5% faster when compared to the oldest 8100.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the built in benchmark with Vulkan. There was minimal difference to the averages at 1440p, though a bit more of a difference seen in the 1% lows. At 1080p where the processor often matters more though, the 10100 was 17% faster than the 8th gen 8100, and 11.5% faster than the 9th gen 9100F.Fortnite was tested using the replay feature with the exact same replay file run on all three processors. At 1440p the average FPS was similar, however there were nice gains to 1% low performance as we move up the stack to the newer options. At 1080p the averages were a little more different, but again the big difference was in the 1% low, where the 10100 was 45% faster than the 9100F in that regard.CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and as a game that’s typically sensitive to processor performance, the 10100 was doing best as expected.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. At 1080p we’re basically hitting the 300 FPS frame cap with the 10th gen i3, however there’s a much larger 20% improvement seen in the 1% low.The Division 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and with the 1080p resolution the 10100 had the biggest improvement out of all 15 games tested. At 1080p it was 61% faster than the 8100, and 49% faster than the 9100F, so some big gains that must be down to hyperthreading.The Witcher 3 was tested running through the same section of the game, and as a game that tends to be more GPU heavy, especially at this setting level, there wasn’t too big of a difference between the processors, though it was strange that the 10th gen had consistently lower 1% lows at 1080p, but was then back on top at 1440p.Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games built in benchmark, and this was another title where the 1% low performance with the 10100 had a significant improvement when compared to the other processors, presumably due to the extra thread count. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games built in benchmark, and although the improvements were less compared to some of the others, there were still consistent gains as we move up through 8th to 10th gen.On average out of these 15 games tested, the Intel i3-10100 was 14% faster at 1080p in average FPS when compared against the older i3-9100F processor. Some games like Control saw basically no difference, while others like the division 2 were almost reaching 50% higher frame rates.When we step up to the 1440p resolution though, the difference lowers to a 7% lead with the 10th gen processor, as the CPU typically matters less at higher resolutions like this.When we compare the 10100 against the older 8th gen i3-8100 at 1080p, there’s a much larger 21% boost to average FPS, but again results can really vary by specific game. Once more control saw basically no difference, while again the Division 2 had a massive 61% improvement.
At 1440p once more the difference is less pronounced, however the 10th gen chip was still able to achieve a fairly decent 12% higher average frame rate on average.There’s much less of a difference when we look at how the 9100F compares with the 8100. At 1080p the 9100F was less than 6% faster, while this lowers to around 4% at 1440pwhich I think really helps illustrate how much extra performance is on offer from the addition of hyperthreading. Yeah the extra clockspeed would be helping a bit too, but it’s nice to have this here.
When we take the costs into consideration, the 10th gen 10100 doesn’t appear to be great value at the moment. It’s going for around $140 USD on Newegg and I can’t see it at that many other stores, presumably due to low supply as is the case with many other 10th gen processors at the moment. This puts it almost twice as expensive as the 9100F, and while there’s an argument for the performance boost in productivity workloads, it’s difficult to justify when it comes to gaming given the 10100 was 14% faster than the 9100F on average.
Honestly based on what we saw in my 3300X vs 10100 review previously, the 3300X seems like much better value as it’s cheaper, offers a similar experience in many games, but comes out even further ahead in productivity workloads. It would seem that Intel were forced to introduce hyperthreading to the i3 lineup by AMD, as the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X both offer 4 cores and 8 threads for less to similar price points. Regardless of which you pick, we as consumers are winning here by having more options available which is good to see.
Based on all of this information, let me know which i3 you’d pick and why down in the comments, assuming of course you’re planning on going for an i3! Don’t forget that if you already have a 8100 or 9100 you need to upgrade the motherboard to use 10th gen.