Latest i3: Intel Core i3 (12th Gen) i3-12100 Quad-core (4 Core) 3.30 GHz Processor

Intel launches new entry-level Core i3 N-series mobile CPUs

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(Image credit: Intel)

What you need to know

  • Intel unveils new entry-level CPUs at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, including high-performance i3 Core processors.
  • The Gracemount CPUs divide into two categories, with low-power Intel Processor N100 and N200 chips alongside higher-wattage Core i3-N-300 and N-305 variants.
  • The new chips support DDR4, DDR5, and energy-efficient LPDDR5 memory modules for extended battery life.
  • Targeting the education sector, these mobile processors offer low price points for high-performance productivity machines running Windows or ChromeOS.

Intel unveils its latest line of entry-level processors at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, the N-Series, to replace the Pentium and Celeron branding. These CPUs have been specifically designed with the education sector in mind to create affordable laptops in schools, alongside other scenarios requiring low-power computers with support for IoT (Internet of things) edge native applications.

The N-Series chips offer up to 8 efficient cores built on Intel 7 process tech and feature improved graphics capabilities without affecting laptop battery life, making them well-suited to help students and teachers immerse themselves in the classroom or elsewhere. Improvements included with Intel’s IPU 6 (image processing unit) support higher-resolution webcams with post-processing effects, such as noise suppression, at a lower cost to improve the videoconferencing experience.

Intel N-Series architecture (Image credit: Intel)

In addition to their focus on energy efficiency, Intel’s new N-Series processors also support modern Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+) wireless networking for more reliable connections on devices in the classroom and at home, with up to 3x faster speeds than Wi-Fi 5. Divided into two categories, the Intel Processor and Core i3 range of N-Series chips feature across-the-board improvements over their previous-generation counterparts.

With their new Gracemont microarchitecture, these low-power CPUs allow Intel to offer raised standards for collaborative learning with fantastic value for money. Revealing specifications for all four processor variants, the affordable Intel Processor N100 and N200 chips can clock up to 3.7GHz boost frequency while using only 6W power. Scaling up to the i3 Core N-Series requires more power, up to 15W for the i3-N-305 chip, but all variants include support for modern DDR5 or low-power LPDDR5 RAM, plus previous-generation DDR4 memory support.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Header Cell — Column 0 Intel Processor N100 Intel Processor N200
Max turbo frequency Up to 3. 4GHz Up to 3.7GHz
Cores/threads 4/4 4/4
L3 cache 6 MB 6 MB
Memory channels 1 1
Memory type LPDDR5 4800 MT/s LPDDR5 4800 MT/s
Row 5 — Cell 0 DDR5 4800 MT/s DDR5 4800 MT/s
Row 6 — Cell 0 DDR4 3200 MT/s DDR4 3200 MT/s
Graphics frequency Up to 750 MHz Up to 750 MHz
Graphics chip Intel UHD Intel UHD
Execution units 24 32
Max turbo power 6 W 6 W

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Header Cell — Column 0 Intel Core i3-N300 Intel Core i3-N305
Max turbo frequency Up to 3. 8GHz Up to 3.8GHz
Cores/threads 8/8 8/8
L3 cache 6 MB 6 MB
Memory channels 1 1
Memory type LPDDR5 4800 MT/s LPDDR5 4800 MT/s
Row 5 — Cell 0 DDR5 4800 MT/s DDR5 4800 MT/s
Row 6 — Cell 0 DDR4 3200 MT/s DDR4 3200 MT/s
Graphics frequency Up to 1.25 GHz Up to 1.25 GHz
Graphics chip Intel UHD Intel UHD
Execution units 32 32
Max turbo power 15 W 7 W

Choosing the highest-model Core i3 N-Series chip allows up to 42% overall performance improvements for general application use and up to 24% faster web browsing, perfect for remote learning. HDMI 2.0b support, alongside DisplayPort 1.4, allows 4K videos with HDR over up to 3 simultaneous displays, with 10-bit HEVC and VP9 encoding/decoding and AV1 decoding for higher color depth. Intel claims HD video presentations can last up to 10 hours before needing to recharge a laptop battery.

Intel N-Series features overview (Image credit: Intel)

Over 50 OEM model designs featuring the N-Series CPUs from manufacturers, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, are expected to launch within 2023 on mobile machines running Windows and ChromeOS. Supporting affordable storage, such as eMMC solid-state drives, alongside memory offering lower power draw or cheaper prices in the previous DDR4 generation means the N-Series chips should enjoy a long-lasting footprint in the entry-level PC category.

Windows Central take

Maximum energy efficiency is critical when targeting the education sector since you can’t expect a class full of students to be permanently hard-wired into AC power. The modern teaching environment has extended into a hybrid of at-home and collaborative conferencing scenarios, so any boost to battery life and wireless networking will help tremendously with video presentations and remote work. Expanding to Core i3 chips is an exciting prospect for the entry-level Intel category, but time will tell if 15W on the N305 is low enough to provide the promised all-day power.

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Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve’s Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @[email protected] to ask questions or share opinions.

i3 — improved tiling wm

i3 — improved tiling wm

Then you will love i3. Watch the screencast,
read the User’s Guide and install i3!

Download the latest version

i3 is a tiling
window manager, completely written from scratch. The target platforms are
GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems, our code is Free and Open Source Software
(FOSS) under the BSD license. i3 is primarily targeted at advanced users and
developers. Based upon the experiences we made when wanting to hack/fix wmii,
we agreed upon the following goals for i3:

  1. Write well readable, well documented code. Create additional
    documentation on how to extend i3 by explaining its internal workings.

    This includes being modifiable by people who do know how to program but who are
    not necessarily familiar with all of X11’s internals. That is, document why
    things happen and when they happen so that the user gets a picture of the whole
    process a Window Manager is responsible of by just reading the source code.
  2. Use xcb instead of Xlib. xcb has a much cleaner API and should be faster in
    quite a lot of situations.
  3. Implement multi-monitor correctly, that is by assigning each workspace to a
    virtual screen. Especially make sure that attaching and detaching new monitors
    like video projectors works during operation and does the right thing. Also
    provide support for rotated monitors.
  4. Use a tree as data structure. This allows for more flexible layouts than
    the column-based approach used by other window managers.
  5. Implement different modes, like in vim. You can use different keybindings
    when in the ‘resize’ mode than when you are in the default mode, for
  6. Implement an IPC interface for other programs. Provide subscription to
    certain events and accept commands.

    This approach should be more lightweight than wmii’s usage of the 9P filesystem.
    Furthermore, core functionality does not depend on a separate program, so that i3
    runs faster, especially when your system is under load.
  7. Be UTF-8 clean.
  8. The usual elitism amongst minimal window managers: Don’t be bloated, don’t be fancy
    (simple borders are the most decoration we want to have).

    However, we do not enforce unnecessary limits such as a maximum amount of source lines
    of code. If it needs to be a bit bigger, it will be.
  9. Do not add further complexity when it can be avoided. We are generally
    happy with the feature set of i3 and instead focus on fixing bugs and
    maintaining it for stability. New features will therefore only be
    considered if the benefit clearly outweighs the additional complexity,
    and we encourage users to implement features using the IPC whenever

In addition to these stated goals, we try our best to uphold the following
values when considering contributions to the project:

  • Never break configuration files or existing workflows. Breaking changes
    require a major version bump (v4 → v5).
  • Keep mental complexity low: once you know i3’s key features, other features
    should be easy to understand.
  • Only add features which benefit many people, instead of going to great
    lengths to support rarely used workflows.
  • Only documented behavior is supported. Clear documentation is a requirement
    for contributions.

© 2009-present Michael Stapelberg,

Core i3-9350K seen in the company of older CPUs Coffee Lake Refresh

Kaby Lake
Process technology, nm 14++(+) 14++ 14+
cores/threads 4/4
Nom. frequency, GHz ≥4.0 4.0 3.8
Boost frequency, GHz 4.2
Multiplier unlocked
L3 cache, MB 8 6
DRAM controller DDR4-2666, 2 channels DDR4-2400/DDR3L-1600, 2 channels
TDP, W ~91 91
Recomm. price, $ ~168 168 242

From the successor to the Core i3-8350K processor, we should first of all expect a higher operating frequency — within 4.1-4.3 GHz. The amount of L2 cache will be retained (8 MB), and the TDP is unlikely to be below 91 watts. The good news is that both the Core i3-8350K and Core i3-9350K will cost almost the same, which cannot be said, for example, about the Core i9-9900K processor, which is priced at 23% more than the boxed version of the Core i7-8700K by a Singaporean distributor.


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Intel Core i3 processors for LGA1156

As we promised in the previous article, the heroes of our today’s story will be Core i3-500 processors in the LGA1156 design. It seems to us that of the processors in this version, it is this family that will retain its relevance for the longest time in the near future. Indeed, supporters of buying quad-core models will most likely redirect their preferences to LGA1155, and not only we, but Intel itself considered the Core i5-600 family to be unpromising: even heirs in a new design are not planned for them yet. The processors of the Core i3-500 family will receive a worthy change in the form of the 21×0 family within the new platform, but the technical characteristics of these two lines do not differ very much. In addition, one cannot discount the fact that new processors in retail chains will not be widely presented immediately, and the assortment of motherboards with LGA1155 will leave much to be desired at first. Moreover, in the first months it will probably be strongly skewed towards expensive models that are not very suitable for assembling a budget computer (namely, both old and new Core i3 are aimed at this segment). In general, summing up, the processors being studied today are not only relevant now, but will remain so for at least a few more months. Which makes them a very interesting object of study, despite the quite ordinary technical characteristics.

Test bench configuration

900 48

Processor Core i3-530 Core i3-540 Core i3-550 Core i3-560 9 0033
Core name Clarkdale Clarkdale Clarkdale Clarkdale
Technology 32/45 nm 32/45 nm 32/45 nm 32/45 nm
Core frequency, GHz 2.93 3.06 3.2 3.33
Starting multiplication factor 22 23 24 25
Turbo Boost diagram
Cores/Threads 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4
L1 cache, I/D, KB 32/32 32/32 9 2×256 2×256 2×256 9 0033

L3 cache, KB 4096 4096 4096 4096
UnCore frequency, GHz 2. 13 2.13 2.13 2.13
RAM 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333
Graphics core frequency, MHz 3
Socket LGA1156 LGA1156 LGA1156 LGA1156
TDP 73W 73W 73W 73W
Price $149(48) $262(6) $123(8) N/A(2)

Initially, there were only two models in the family with indices 530 and 540, but in the second quarter of this year, the Core i3-550 appeared, and in the third quarter, the Core i3-560. In fact, now the representatives of this line intersect with the more «advanced» Core i5-600 in terms of starting clock speeds. However, the real workers of the latter are still higher — the main difference between Core i3 and i5, recall, is the lack of support for Turbo Boost. There are a few more “little” differences: the lower UnCore frequency, the lack of support for VT-x, TXT and AES-NI, however, only the first and the last significantly affect performance (and the latter only in a fairly narrow class of software). But in terms of prices, these lines do not intersect at all, since the most expensive older Core i3-560 has a selling price of $138, and the youngest and cheapest Core i5-650 is $176. Agree — in this price segment the difference is more than noticeable.

9 0048

900 03

Processor Core i5-650/655K Athlon II X3 445 Athlon II X4 645 Phenom II X3 740
Core name Clarkdale Rana Propus Heka
Technology 32/45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm
GHz 3.2/3.47 3 ,1 3.1 3.0
Starting multiplication factor 0033
Turbo Boost Operation 2-1
Number of cores/threads 48

L1 cache, I/D, KB 32 /32 64/64 64/64 64/64
L2 cache, KB 2×256 3×512 4×512 3×512
L3 cache, KB 4096 6144
UnCore frequency, GHz 2. 4 2.0 2.0 2.0
RAM 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333 2×DDR3-1333
GPU frequency, MHz 733
Socket LGA1156 9003 3

TDP 73W 95W 95W 95W
Price $245(10) / N/A(1) N/A(0) N/A Y(0) N/A(0 )

Is the price difference justified? We will definitely check this by comparing the family of subjects with the Core i5-655K (in normal mode, it is identical in performance to the 650). And the other three «reference» models are made by AMD — as we have already said, the lower the prices, the more noticeable the competition between the two main processor manufacturers 🙂 The main competitors of the Core i3 line are the processors of the Athlon II X4 family, the senior representative of which we took. But AMD positions the Phenom II X3 in the same way, so we didn’t deny ourselves the pleasure of presenting the results of the 740 model (especially since we haven’t tested it before). Athlon II X3 445 was also among the test subjects — firstly, this model is also new for us, and secondly, in testing according to the previous version of the methodology, truly budget processors of the Athlon II X3 family did not look so bad next to Core i3-530. I wonder how much the situation has changed (and changed) in more modern applications.

9 0030 Kingston KVR1333D3N9K3/6G (2×1333; 9-9-9-24)

Motherboard RAM
LGA1156 Gigabyte P55A-UD6 (P55)
AM3 Gigabyte 890FXA-UD7 (AMD 890FX) Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX (2×1333; 7-7-7-20-1T, Unganged Mode)


9 0005 Performance testing methodology (list of software used and testing conditions) described in detail in a separate article. For ease of perception, the results on the diagrams are presented in percentages (the result of AMD Athlon II X4 620 is taken as 100% in each of the tests). Detailed results in absolute terms are available as a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel format.

3D visualization

If in this group there was any benefit from increasing the number of simultaneously executing computational threads, then it clearly concerns only the transition from two to three threads, but no further — running at the same frequency Athlon II X3 445 and X4 645 showed similar results, and due to the inevitable measurement errors, they completely give superiority to the first model. Both of these processors turned out to be generally worse, but this is easily explained — a small amount of cache memory, which is still of considerable importance in visualization tasks. But the Phenom II X3 has a third-level cache, and as much as 6 MB, which allowed this relatively low-frequency and low-threaded processor to bypass not only both Athlon IIs, but also the younger Core i3. But only the youngest — others are faster. And the first place was taken by the Core i5-655K and Core i3-560 — similar in architecture and running at the same frequency when both cores are loaded. Moreover, the largest of all the subjects, which, most likely, affected.

3D rendering

In this group of tests, we observe a fundamentally different alignment — the more threads and «real» cores, the better. As a result, the younger Core i3-530 could not even cope with the «penny» Athlon II X3 445. Cache memory should not be neglected within certain limits — as we see, Phenom II X3 740, having a lower frequency than 445, bypassed not only this pair , but also the Core i3-540! But the cores are still better — the Athlon II X4 645 is simply out of competition. And it’s not surprising — only the Core i3-560 and Core i5-655K managed to exceed the mark of 100 points, which corresponds to the younger Athlon II X4 620. As we can see, other processors based on the Clarkdale core that have been tested can only compete with three-core AMD processors, but not with quad-core ones.

Scientific and engineering calculations

Again, we return to the area where a couple of cores are enough (not in all, but in most subtests), so the clock frequency and performance of the memory system (including the cache) are important. Accordingly, there is nothing surprising in the fact that even the youngest Core i3-530 can easily cope with any budget AMD processors, and only Core i5 processors can seriously compete with this family. Which for the most part are «the same, but a little faster.»

Graphic editors

Photoshop has some optimization for multi-threading, but far from complete. At the same time, he is alone, and there are already three “amateur programs”. And the latter do not need many cores and threads. Moreover, they sometimes have typical indigestion on such configurations, as a result of which, once again, out of two Athlon IIs with the same frequency, the three-core one turned out to be faster. In general, again it is obvious that Clarkdale will be the best. Including in the budget version — as you can see, the Core i3-560 even managed to get ahead of the more expensive Core i5-655K.


Multi-threaded optimization is in one test out of three, but cache memory is a critical resource for everyone, so it’s not surprising that the Phenom II X3 740 turned out to be the fastest among AMD processors. It also became one of the fastest is generally , taking third place — after the Core i5-655K and Core i3-560. The latter, by the way, this time noticeably lagged behind the closest “relative” – just because the UnCore frequency of i3 is lowered relative to i5.


The number of running threads is critical, so the Athlon II X3 was a foregone conclusion. But cache memory is also important, so the Phenom II X3 740 almost caught up with the Athlon II X4 645, where there are one more cores and a frequency of 100 MHz higher. Well, in general, these processors showed a very good result, lagging behind only two Intel processors — the very case when a defeat can be considered a victory, since, for example, the Core i5-650 «lives» in a completely different price class. However, there are no complaints about the Core i3 either — as we see, these processors, at the very least, are able to compete, if not with all, but with some multi-core models, despite the fact that they are inexpensive.


Program preferences are similar to the previous case, minus the cache. In general, Phenom II X3 and Athlon II X3 are almost equivalent here. But at the same time, they are still faster than almost all Core i3, except for the older model. And even the younger Core i5 do not reach the level of Athlon II X4.

Internet browsers

A new group of applications for the current version of the methodology, as we have already written more than once, can be considered an object of study in itself 🙂 It is difficult, however, to decide yet how interesting it is. But when comparing architecture-similar processors, everything quite understandably fits into the difference in the frequency of cores and cache memory. But Turbo Boost, it seems, does not work at all on such “irregular” code, like all scripts in surrogate programming languages ​​- with all the consequences . ..

Audio encoding

But here everything is «regular» — everything is decided by the number of threads, clock frequency and architecture. As a result, the Core i3 not only easily smash the representatives of the tri-core processors to smithereens, but also invade the territory of the quad-core processors. True, not all and not deeply 🙂

Video encoding

In general, the situation repeats itself, but there are nuances: when encoding audio, we rigidly set the number of execution threads to the one that can be executed in parallel (by the number of cores or HT pseudo-cores), and video codecs obviously do not need so much. As a result, tri-core processors are not so bad — they can compete not only with the Core i3, but also with the younger Athlon II X4. The older “real” quad cores are certainly better. However, we can conclude that any of the processors tested today is quite suitable for a family home.


Game manufacturers are working hard to make multi-core processors the best choice in these products as well. In the new version of the methodology, we helped them a little with this by adding a chess benchmark to the list of applications. However, as we can see, all these efforts are still not enough — Phenom II X3 is still better than Athlon II X4, even at a lower frequency: that’s what the life-giving cache does 🙂 The final verdict for this group of applications is close to that made based on the study of the previous — all are good. Even when using a sufficiently powerful video card, an inexpensive processor is unlikely to become a bottleneck in a gaming computer, but a budget video accelerator will limit the results itself, and much earlier 🙂 However, it is obvious that if there is enough money, a powerful processor will not hurt either, because the porridge you can’t spoil it with oil, but even the younger Core i3-530 is quite suitable for use in a good gaming computer.


A year ago, only Core 2 Duo came across in the assortment of Intel processors priced at $100-150. Unfortunately, the already legendary brand, unfortunately, could not oppose AMD’s budget multi-core processors from the Athlon II X3 and X4 families, which was demonstrated by our tests. Now the situation has changed dramatically — the release at the beginning of the year of the first processors of the Core i3-500 family and the appearance of new models in it a little later quickly restored parity in the budget class. Of course, not complete parity — in applications that are well optimized for multithreading, only two cores, albeit with doping in the form of Hyper-Threading, are unable to compete with four «real» ones. However, on the other hand, they can operate at higher frequencies, and this is inexpensive, and the “freed up” space can be taken up by a considerable amount of cache memory. All this allows the Core i3-500 line to perform well where multithreading is still not mastered by software developers.

In the overall standings, victories and defeats compensate for each other and. .. As you can see, even the youngest Core i3-530 outperforms the older Athlon II X3. And the Core i3-540 is able to cope with the older Phenom II X3 in the line! Of course, it doesn’t follow from this that it’s time for AMD triple-cores to definitely go to rest — Athlon II X3 and the price fits into the «up to $ 100» range, i.e. it does not compete directly with Core i3, and Phenom II X3 continues to be interesting for gamers or fans of fine tuning (unlocked multipliers in the older modification and a non-zero probability of unlocking the fourth core contribute a lot to this). However, at least last year’s situation, when a $150 processor competed with a $100 processor and eventually lost, does not repeat itself. In this standings, as we see, Core i3-500 can compete with Athlon II X4 in terms of price and performance, and when compared with the younger Phenom II X4 or still sold Core 2 Quad, these processors will not look like poor relatives at all.

The final result — successful processors that fully justify their price.