What just happened? Intel confirmed the long-rumored non-K Alder Lake desktop chips at CES last week, including the Core i3-12100. It may be classed as an entry-level CPU, but one of the first reviews of the processor has shown it can hold its own against the Ryzen 5 3600, outperforming AMD’s offering in gaming benchmarks.

As with the Core i3-12300, the Core i3-12100 features four Golden Cove Performance cores and no Gracemont Efficiency cores. It also has eight threads, 12MB of L3 cache, a base frequency of 3.3GHz, and can single-core turbo to 4.3GHz.

The Core i3-12100 retails for about $122 - $129, or around $100 for the F version that lacks integrated graphics. Art of PC put team blue’s chip up against AMD’s previous-gen Ryzen 5 3600, which features six cores, twelve threads, a 3.6GHz base, and a 4.2GHz boost. It still sells for around $290 - $299.

The publication used a test setup consisting of 32GB of 3600MHz DDR4, a ROG Strix Z690-A D4, Dark Rock Pro 4, and GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. The Ryzen 5 3600 benchmarks swapped the motherboard for an Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero.

The Alder Lake chip outperformed the 7nm Zen 2 CPU in all the tested games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator, Forza Horizon 5, and Cyberpunk 2077. On average, Intel’s CPU beat AMD’s chip by 7.85% across all the titles.

Additionally, Art of PC notes that only three games were unable to offer at least 144 FPS@1080p with Alder Lake: Warzone, Flight Simulator, and Cyberpunk 2077, all of which are very CPU-intensive.

The results will likely make the Core i3-12100 an enticing option for gamers looking to save money on a new processor, especially with the F version priced around $100. It seems like we could have a new budget CPU king on our hands.