Price vs. Performance, Two Different Outcomes

Now it's time for the price vs. performance scatter plots. We're going to be looking closely at the Premiere, Corona and F1 2017 results...

Please note we're using the Core i3-8100 DDR4-3200 data since you can only buy Z370 boards for now and that'll make even more sense in a moment. So here we are, the Premiere price vs. performance scatter plot and it's looking all Intel in this category.

The Core i3-8100 and i5-8400 provide the best value, beating the 1300X, 1500X and 1600 processors quite easily. However, what happens if we factor in motherboard price. We now know the cheapest Z370 boards cost $120 while a typical B350 board will set you back $70. Adding those two prices to the appropriate CPUs this is what we get.

Well that certainly looks more competitive. The Ryzen 3 1300X, R5 1500X and R5 1600 are all quite similar in terms of value here while the Intel Core i3-8100 and i5-8400 are certainly poorer options once you factor in the price of the absolute cheapest Z370 boards.

Next up we have the Corona results and here the Ryzen 5 1600 and 1500X look far more competitive when just factoring in the CPU cost. Again it's the Core i3-8100 and i5-8400 that look impressive while the 8350K is almost off in no man's land.

However, what happens if we favor in the price of entry-level motherboards?

Doing that turns the scatter plot red, at least where it counts, and even the Ryzen 7 1700 stacks up pretty well. Again we see that with motherboard costs factored in, Ryzen is a much better value proposition for these productivity workloads.

This by no means represents all gaming but we feel like the results are pretty typical for CPU intensive DirectX 11 titles. Ryzen is usually more competitive in the modern DX12 games. Keeping that in mind let's see how F1 2017 pans out.

Here we see that the Core i3-8100 to the i5-8400 are the best value options of Intel's sub $200 Coffee Lake lineup and they are considerably better value in this game compared to Ryzen.

Even with the motherboard pricing factored in, Intel remains comfortably ahead and while Ryzen's performance is respectable, it's not comparable to the Core i3-8100 and Core i5-8400 in terms of value. Again the 8350K is pretty poor in comparison though its price to performance is quite similar to that of the R3 1300X.

...the Core i3-8100 is a bit special at $120, a price that nearly makes it a Ryzen 3 killer. I say nearly because right now we're missing one key ingredient: affordable motherboards.

Wrapping It Up

We're aware that we didn't factor in the price of a cooler for the Core i3-8350K in the scatter plots above and that will further reduce its appeal. We don't think we need to get into it too much more, the 8350K is a pretty poor value even if you consider its overclocking capabilities.

At least you'll have to buy a $20 cooler and you're not hitting 4.9GHz on a budget cooler. I was up around 90 degrees with a 240mm AIO liquid cooler, so expect around 4.5GHz with a basic air-cooler. That's a 13% bump over stock, so you'll be lucky to extract 10% more performance. At best it will match the Core i5-8400 while costing more, consuming more power and running hotter.

As it happens, the Core i3-8350K really is a worthy successor to the 7350K: they both suck equally in respect to their own product lines.

On the other hand, the Core i3-8100 is a bit special at $120, a price that nearly makes it a Ryzen 3 killer. I say nearly because right now we're missing one key ingredient: affordable motherboards. It appears that Intel won't be releasing H370, H310 or B360 motherboards until the Q1 2018. Only then will the i3-8100 truly shine as a budget offering along with sub-$100 motherboards.

As good as it is, sticking the $120 CPU on a $120 motherboard doesn't make all that much sense. Instead, I'd rather get a Ryzen 3 1200, slap it on a B350 motherboard and overclock it to at least 3.8GHz with my fingers crossed for 4GHz.

The Core i5-8400 is a seriously tempting option and I'll cover that in more detail in another piece very soon. For now, those after a budget productivity setup will find the best value in the Ryzen 3 and 5 series processors on a B350 board, which will be as fast or faster for the most part and cost less.

Shopping Shortcuts:

For a budget-minded gamer, the Core i3-8100 looks great, it just needs to be complemented by a more affordable motherboard. If you enjoyed this second pass at Coffee Lake, stay tuned because the Core i5s are coming up next...

Intel Core i3-8100 Scorecard


Pros: The Core i3-8100 puts up great gaming and encoding performance, good thermals, and generally respectable results against Ryzen 3 and 5.

Cons: Intel's platform costs a lot more than AMD's right now if you're on a tight budget. We need more affordable Intel boards.

Intel Core i3-8350K Scorecard


Pros: The Core i3-8350K overclocks well and does great on gaming loads.

Cons: Respective to the rest of the lineup and Ryzen competition, the 8350K is almost off in no man's land, We'd rather pay a little bit more for a much better i5-8400. Intel's platform is expensive (for now) and the 8350K exacerbates the issue with no box cooler.