Despite costing just around $130, the i3-12100F gives many last-gen CPUs a run for their money. In my opinion, it completely deserves labels like “Budget King” and “Little Gaming Giant” which many tech publications have hailed it as.
Unfortunately, the “F” designation means that it doesn’t have integrated graphics. So, a dedicated GPU is necessary if you want to use it in a PC for gaming and streaming. In this article, we’ll look at five great options you can choose from for your budget PC build.
Intel i3-12100F Specs
The specs of the CPU you’re using should be taken into consideration when choosing a GPU. Here are the detailed specs of the Intel i3-12100F:
- Socket: LGA 1700
- Cores and Threads: 4C/8T
- Max. Memory Capacity: 128GB DDR5-4800 or DDR4-3200
- Integrated Graphics: No
- Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz
- TDP Rating: 58W
- Cooler Included: Intel Laminar RM1
So, with that in mind, let’s jump into the list…
Top 5 Best GPUs for Intel i3-12100F in 2022:
1. Gigabyte Radeon RX 6650 XT Eagle – Best Overall
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- Stream Processors: 2048
- Base Clock: 2.05 GHz
- Boost Clock: 2.63 GHz
Don’t get me wrong, the RX 6600 XT would go great with an i3-12100F. But, the RX 6650 XT, its upgraded version, can be an even better combination. The primary performance uplift you see is a higher boost clock. The RX 6600 XT comes with a boost clock of 2.58 GHz whereas the RX 6650 XT pushes that up to 2.63 GHz.
This unit from Gigabyte has two HDMI and two DP ports. Thanks to the 8GB GDDR6 memory and 2048 Stream Processors, this makes it optimal for a multi-monitor setup. When it comes to cooling, there are three alternate spinning fans. To minimize scratches and protect the board components, there’s also a metal backplate.
Overall, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6650 XT Eagle is a good GPU to go with your Intel i3-12100F CPU. There’s potential for both 1080p and 1440p gaming here along with Radeon software tools like ReLive which can help with streaming.
- Good build quality
- Sleek and elegant design
- Effective cooling system
- RGB Fusion 2.0 software is buggy
2. MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH – Best on a Budget
- Memory: 4GB GDDR6
- Stream Processors: 1024
- Base Clock: Not Stated
- Boost Clock: 2.81 GHz
If you’re on a budget but still want a GPU from AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series, the RX 6500 XT is worth checking out. AMD is primarily selling this as a 1080p card, and the specs reflect that: 4GB GDDR6 memory, 1024 Stream Processors, and a boost clock of 2.81 GHz.
You can take a look at gaming benchmarks here, but if you’re interested in boosting FPS, you can also try out AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution upscaling tech. It is supported on AAA titles like Far Cry 6, God of War, Resident Evil Village, and many more.
In this unit by MSI, the twin-fan setup along with a collection of thermal pads on the board ensure proper cooling. In addition to that, the brushed-finish metal backplate makes it sleek and durable. In terms of software support, you get MSI Center, which allows you to monitor and tweak the card settings. To sum it up, it’s a great budget-friendly card.
- Suitable for 1080p gaming
- Decent build quality
- Mediocre raytracing performance
3. EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Gaming – Best Value for Money
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 2560
- Base Clock: 1.55 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.84 GHz
The EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Gaming might be worth checking out if you’re looking to get good value for your money. This dual-slot unit from EVGA is designed with space efficiency in mind, measuring just around 7.9 inches long.
This makes it suitable for both regular PC builds and small form-factor builds. It comes with a factory overclock as well, going from 1.78 GHz to 1.84 GHz. To keep things cool, it has dual fans and an all-metal backplate for protection.
It’s optimal for a 144Hz 1080p monitor and can jump above 60 FPS in 1440p at times too. If you’re interested in raytracing, it performs fairly well in that regard as well. Nvidia recommends a 550W PSU for this card, and power is delivered to it using a single eight-pin connector. Overall, this is a solid RTX 3000 series card, and especially suitable for streamers thanks to all the goodies Nvidia provides for that purpose.
- Efficient cooling and good build quality
- Capable of overclocking
- Compact card
- High power consumption
4. Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC – Best for SFF Build
- Memory: 4GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 896
- Base Clock: 1.48 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.62 GHz
One great thing about building your own PC is that you can design it according to your own requirements, both in aesthetics and form factor. If you’re building a small form-factor PC, the Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC might come in handy as your GPU of choice.
It has 896 CUDA Cores, 4GB GDDR6 memory, and is based on the Turing architecture. In terms of outputs, you get DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and DVI. So, it packs a decent amount of processing power and features within a compact 5.94-inch body.
It’s not the best, but it will let you play most games at 1080p in decent settings. You can take a look at some gaming benchmarks here. Everything considered, the Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC is a good GPU to use with an i3-12100F CPU in a budget Intel-based SFF build.
- Compact design perfect for small form-factor PC build
- Low noise level
- Lacks RGB; mediocre and basic design
5. Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Vision OC – Best White GPU
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 4864
- Base Clock: 1.41 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.67 GHz
An upgraded version of the RTX 3060, the RTX 3060 Ti comes with 8GB GDDR6 RAM and 4864 CUDA cores. It is suitable for either 240 or 360Hz 1080p monitors or 144Hz 1440p monitors.
If you’re worried about a CPU bottleneck, don’t be. The i3-12100F is more than capable of handling the RTX 3060 Ti. Yes, games that require more cores and threads, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs: Legion, will benefit from a higher-end CPU like the i5 12400F. But, if you play games that are more GPU bound, like Tomb Raider, it won’t matter as much.
This unit from Gigabyte, the Vision OC, is impressive too. It has a unique and eye-catching white design. The triple-fan cooling and extended heatsink will also ensure good temps. Overall, the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Vision OC is a great GPU to pair with the i3 12100F.
- Optimal for 1440p gaming
- Great for raytracing
- Beautiful design
Frequently Asked Questions
Which GPU is Optimal for Dual- or Triple-Monitor Setup?
As a streamer, you’ll probably be using at least two monitors in your setup, the primary one for gameplay and the secondary one for monitoring chat and browsing through your playlist.
The first point you need to keep in mind when searching for the right GPU is that it should have all the required ports. For example, for a dual-monitor setup, one DisplayPort and one HDMI would be fine.
Beyond that, you also need to make sure it has enough VRAM to manage all those extra pixels. From the above list, I would recommend the RTX 3060 Ti and the RX 6650 XT as both viable options for such a setup.
What’s the Performance Uplift from the i3-10100F to the i3-12100F?
If you want to save a few extra bucks, you might’ve considered opting for the i3-10100F instead of the i3-12100F. Although that could be a good solution in some instances, I would strongly recommend you go with the i3-12100F because it generally provides a 20-25% jump in performance for what is arguably a tiny premium. If you want a side-by-side comparison of the two, check out this video by NJ Tech.
The recipe for a great ‘Bang for your Buck’ budget Intel gaming and streaming PC is rather simple these days: just get an i3-12100F CPU, a decent H610 motherboard, and a 16GB DDR4-3200 CL-16 RAM kit. The only remaining element is the GPU, and in this article, I gave you five optimal recommendations. Here’s a quick summary of the list:
- Gigabyte Radeon RX 6650 XT Eagle is Best Overall
- MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH is Best on a Budget
- EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Gaming is Best Value for Money
- Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC is Best for SFF Build
- Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Vision OC is Best White GPU
If you have any technical queries regarding the i3-12100F or the GPU you’re using with it, feel free to let me know in the comments below!
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