With the Ryzen 5000 lineup, AMD completely ignored the entry-level market. The lowest-end Zen 3 SKU was the Ryzen 5 5600X with a price tag of $299. The Ryzen 3 5300G was launched towards the end of 2021, but it lacks a large L3 cache, thereby limiting its gaming performance. Furthermore, shortages have largely prevented the 5300G from becoming mainstream. Therefore, the launch of the lower-end Alder Lake-S processors has given Intel the opportunity to completely pull the budget segment from under AMD’s feet. And it does just that with its 12th Gen quad-core i3s.
Testing conducted by TG (video below) shows that the $100 Core i3-12100F outmaneuvers the $300 Ryzen 5 3600 in every game tested. The deltas stay between 5-10% but the fact that the 12100F manages to beat a 3x more expensive CPU is absolutely remarkable. Under normal circumstances, the Ryzen 5 3600 being a few years old would have been priced close to $200, but courtesy of the semiconductor shortages, its market price is still ~$300.
As for the i3-12100F, its sticker price is $129.99, but most retailers are selling it for $110, making it an unmatched budget gaming CPU in the $100-150 range. On the downside, stocks have mostly dried out, and we’ll have to wait and see if Intel can satisfy the demands of the mainstream market.