Base Clock Overclocking the Core i3-6100TE: The i5 Competition

Now we have the data, I want to pull up the data for the overclocked Core i3-6100TE and pit it against the data we already have in our database for the most likely contenders. Sitting at $117 at the base cost, and ignoring for the fact that it is almost impossible to buy because it’s a TE model, we’ll look purely at the overclocking compared to an equivalent i5 to see where having four physical cores (and more L3 cache per core) will beat the dual core with hyperthreading. We've also added in the Pentium G3258 results, overclocked to 4.7 GHz, to see where that sits. The i5 in this is the Core i5-6500 processor, which sits at a 3.3-3.9 GHz frequency. We've tested it but not yet written up the review, but the results are included.

CPU Short Form

HandBrake v0.9.9 LQ Film

Handbrake with a low quality file relies mainly on pure frequency and floating point performance, hence why the overclocked Pentium at 4.7 GHz beats the i3-6100TE at 3.65 GHz.

HandBrake v0.9.9 2x4K

When we move up to large frame conversion, the benchmark is more in line with the number of threads available as well as frequency, so the i5 takes more of a lead at the top and the Pentium comes down. The overclocked Core i3 holds station at mid-field, and in our benchmark database it sits at the top of the i3 parts, but significantly behind the Core i5s.

Dolphin Emulation Benchmark

Dolphin likes single core performance and high IPC, but also gets a boost from Haswell and beyond in terms of CPU architecture. This is why the G3258 when overclocked can beat almost everything else at stock.

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Total Time

Photoscan is a mixed back of threading, where at some points high frequency wins the day but at others it's a combination with cores and threads. Here, the lack of true cores (and in turn, L3 cache per thread), is the issue.

WinRAR 5.01, 2867 files, 1.52 GB

While WinRAR is a variable threaded load, it sits more comfortably with more cache, faster memory and more threads. There is still a big gap between the Core i3 parts and the Core i5 parts, even when the Core i3 is overclocked.

Cinebench R15 - Single Threaded

Cinebench in single threaded mode is all about frequency and IPC, hence the i3-6100TE OC can beat the older i5 parts. The Pentium G3258 at 4.7 GHz storms ahead here as a result.

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded

However, the lack of true cores brings it down to earth in the multithreaded test. The difference between the overclocked i3-6100TE and the Core i5-6600 is a big 50%, which is hard to make up on frequency alone.

3D Particle Movement: Single Threaded

3DPM v1 in single thread mode loves frequency and IPC, hence why the overclocked i3 sits at the bottom of this small graph but in the middle of the older i7 parts in our benchmark database.

3D Particle Movement: MultiThreaded

In multithreaded mode, while the i3 and i5 parts can spawn similar amounts of threads, the 3.6 GHz overclock on the i3-6100TE isn't enough to bring the fight to the Core i5s.


WebXPRT is a big fan of responsiveness, and having an overclocked system seems to help here. This means both the i3-6100TE OC and G3258 OC storm ahead.

Google Octane v2

Octane is more multithreaded than WebXPRT, relying more on synthetic testing. In our benchmark database the overclocked i3 pushes above some of the older Core i5s, but the Skylake i5-6600 is still on top.

TrueCrypt 7.1 Benchmark (AES Performance)

For AES encryption, the Pentium parts drop out due to the lack of AES-NI instructions, but it does become a case of threads and frequency here.

POV-Ray 3.7 Beta RC4

Overall conclusions on the pure CPU performance puts the stock Core i3 at the bottom end of our table in most tests, but overclocking it +35% turns it into a very average performer. In single threaded tests, depending on the memory footprint, it either handily beats or goes toe-to-toe with the Core i5s, usually sitting a pace behind. When the threads come out to play though, there is still that gap between the Core i3 and the Core i5 segments, by virtue of hyperthreads compared to real cores. This makes the issue more to do with cache per thread, and more trips out to higher latency memory to fetch data - typically highly threaded environments are processing a lot of data anyway, making it a compound effect.

GPU Tests on R9 290X

Alien Isolation on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Alien Isolation gets a good +12% boost in frame rates from that 35% overclock, pushing it above the Sandy Bridge i7 when the i7 runs at stock speed, but still behind an i5.

Total War: Attila on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Total War rises to an asymptotic peak of frame rates as cores and frequency increases, and while the overclocked i3 can't match the i5s they can get very close, as shown above.

Grand Theft Auto V on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Similarly with GTA, we get a good 20% rise in frame rates from the overclock but it still isn't enough for the last 1-8% or so to the old i7s or newer Core i5s.

GRID: Autosport on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

GRID responds to a number of benefits, especially relating to DRAM speed, IPC and frequency. Using DDR4 helps the Core i3 here it seems, with that overclock giving a good 30% push in frame rates and putting the i3 and i5 within a margin of error.

Shadow of Mordor on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Shadow of Mordor on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Mordor is relatively flat on CPU performance.

With the AMD GPU tests, the overclocked Core i3 sits very much in mid table when looking at the big picture. The overclock doesn't really pull any of the games out of the gutter, but the use of DDR4 seems to help in games like GRID which love it when any component is upgraded. In games like Mordor, the GPU is the bottleneck so everyone seems to perform the same.

GPU Tests on GTX 980

Alien Isolation on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Total War: Attila on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Grand Theft Auto V on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

GRID: Autosport on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

In everything except Mordor, the overclocked i3 is anywhere from 10-15% behind the Core i5 in frame rates, but mid-table overall.


Everyone has been wondering for a while just how good an overclocked Core i3 part is. Well, here is our data, and the answer is perhaps somewhat surprising: a faster Core i3 moves itself into a mid-table position. In most cases it sits behind the Core i5 parts, unable to get over that hump of using two threads per core and having to share cache resources between hyperthreads. Having real cores in this instance makes a big difference. In a number of cases, the overclocked Core i3 sits above the older Core i7s, especially when improvements to the architecture have a profound impact on the performance of the processor.

But is an overclocked Core i3 going to feel like a part of higher value?

Base Clock Overclocking the Core i3-6100TE: Scaling So Why Do We Not See an Overclockable i3 CPU?
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  • RobATiOyP - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    Yep.. and that's why desktop CPUs are 2 or 4 core; programs tend not to scale linearly to CPUs thanks to lock contention and Amdahl's law.
    When a program waits for net or disk i/o or user input, it rests in an OS wait queue, woken up when the event has completed.
  • rscoot - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    The heyday of overclocking for me was getting 50% OCs with a celeron 300A in a 440BX mobo, through mobile AMD XPs that you could push from 1.5GHz to 2.7 and beyond if you had some BH-5 and a DFI Lanparty mobo to Athlon 64s that would go from 1.8GHz to 2.7Ghz with the same RAM.
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    The 300A was a good time for overclocking. I never had much luck in the chip lottery with AMD CPUs. My T-birds and T-breds must have been duds, but there was a 350MHz K6-2 that I squeezed pretty hard using a peltier cooler I snagged from a computer show. Doing nothing to mitigate condensation wasn't a bright idea though. My favorite overclocked chip was a 100MHz Pentium which was getting long in tooth by the 1998. A few minutes messing with DIP switches on the motherboard got it up to 133MHz with no consideration to cooling or voltage. The heatsink was glued on by the OEM and the chip (which still exists to this day in a cardboard box) was utterly apathetic to the change.
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    It is really a shame that you pretty much do have to go back in time to get overclockable parts, but careful shopping will get you quite a lot for a little. My current build which I just put together a few weeks ago was a Xeon X3470 ($70) with an Asus P7F7-E WS motherboard. BCLK overclocking went from 2.9ghz to 4.2ghz.
  • pizzahut22 - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    This article is so silly. Why did you overclock a i3 6100TE? You basically took it and made it into a standard i3 6100... Not to mention its an OEM part that nobody will be using for this.

    This article blows my mind. Just overclock a standard i3 6100 and give us the numbers compared to stock i5 and i7s, and overclocked i5 and i7s. Also give us some graphs about price/performance and talk about that. This article is well below typical Anandtech standards.
  • OrphanageExplosion - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Eurogamer has all the Core i3 6100 overclocking data you need plus tons of FCAT:

    In CPU-limited scenarios, an overclocked i3 with fast memory dukes it out with a Core i5 6500 with slower memory when both are paired with a Titan X (which means you're CPU-bound more of the time). I would imagine that the gap narrows if you're running something like a GTX 970.

    The real question I want answered is this: if I apply a BIOS update that locks out Skylake non-K OC, do I get it back by reverting to an older BIOS?
  • dualsmp - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    I wouldn't update if you have a working overclock. I've seen a few posts about people updating their board, then reverting back to the old BIOS and it does NOT overclock anymore. It sets some kind of kill bit and overclocking does not return.
  • OrphanageExplosion - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

  • silverblue - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    I'd be somewhat annoyed if I'd written a 15,000 word article only to have it shot down by people who don't see my point of view, but maybe I'm not getting it.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    This has got to be some kind of joke. There is already an i3-6320 which runs at 3.9GHz. What is this review supposed to be telling us? Seems completely pointless. And then they throw in a 4.7GHz G3258 just to further highlight the pointlessness. Where is the 4.7GHz i3?

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