Today we have our Intel Core i3-8100 benchmarks and review. Over the years, Intel has allowed the Core i3 models to fill the role as low-cost server CPUs for the edge. Unlike most of the Core i5 and Core i7 models, one can get unbuffered ECC DIMM support in the Core i3 series. Many server vendors such as Dell EMC, Lenovo, and Supermicro make workgroup servers or small tower servers that utilize these Core i3 CPUs in base configurations.
If you read our Intel Core i3-8300 review you will see that this series started as a different activity. We were trying to accelerate our Supermicro X11SCA-F Review and the Intel Xeon E-2100 chips were not yet available from US distributors. After we purchased the Intel Core i3-8300 intending to simply use it as a “light the platform” bridge, we realized that it has its own unique value proposition. That was a sample size of one SKU and we had requests to review other processors in the socket so we are adding the Intel Core i3-8100 to the mix. You will also see a few numbers for upcoming Intel Xeon E-2100 series reviews in this article even though those chips were not available at the time of the last review.
Key stats for the Intel Core i3-8100: 4 cores / 4 threads and 3.6GHz with 6MB cache. You read that right. The base clock is 3.7GHz, but it does not feature Turbo boost nor Hyper-Threading. The CPU features a 65W TDP. Compared to the Core i3-8300 this is 100MHz slower, with 25% less cache and a 3W TDP boost. This is a $117 price point which is fairly low on the overall spectrum of CPUs these days and less costly than the i3-8300. Here is the ARK page with the feature set.
Here is what the lscpu output looks like for the chips:
Compared to other CPUs in this price range, the Intel Core i3 can work in Intel Xeon E-2100 platforms, while at the same time offering high clock speeds at a low cost.
Here is our basic configuration for this class of CPU:
- Motherboard: Supemicro X11SCA-F
- CPU: Intel Core i3-8100
- RAM: 4x 8GB DDR4-2400 ECC UDIMMs
- SSD: Intel DC S3710 400GB
- SATADOM: Supermicro 32GB SATADOM
The CPU itself supports up to 64GB of RAM, in a 4x 16GB configuration, however, we see these platforms using 32GB or less given cost sensitivities.
Our test system booted immediately with the Intel Core i3-8100 which was a great feature. This was a case where everything simply “just worked” in the platform, even using a non-Xeon CPU.
There are going to be folks who want to point to AMD alternatives. As of this writing, there are really no alternatives in this space because while AMD may have competitive CPU parts, vendors have a vibrant Intel Xeon E-2100/ Core i3 ecosystem. AMD needs to do some work here to catch up, but it is not a focus market for them. Single socket servers in this segment are a relatively low volume area.
Next, we are going to take a look at our Intel Core i3-8100 benchmarks, we are then going to focus on power consumption then conclude with our final words on the processors.