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?
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Taristin - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Total War: Atilla shows the incorrect graph for performance with a GTX card. It shows the Alien Isolation score (Which is... significantly different!)
  • yannigr2 - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Did I saw an Athlon 845 somewhere in there? Is a review incoming?
  • Bad Bimr - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    I miss the days of the cheap CPU with BIG TIME OC potential. My first foray in OCing was with the legendary Celeron 300A. That got me hooked. Next was the P3 600 and next came the P4 2.8 (Northwood) followed by the i7-920. Last year I bought a i7-4790k only to sell it when I came upon a thread on X-58 Xeon overclocking. Currently rocking a very conservative Xeon x5675 @ 4.15 Ghz (25x166) on stock voltage on air on all 6 cores with HT on. I have had it stable to 4.4 GHz but feel better with the lower voltage, plenty fast enough. Total cost for the x5675, $76 on eBay! I love cheap CPU overclocking.
  • OrphanageExplosion - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    This is a remarkable article. Anandtech has overclocked a *really slow* Core i3 processor so that it's not as fast as the slowest consumer-level i3 and written a *15-page* piece on it?!

    Why didn't you just buy the Core i3 6100?

    The data elsewhere demonstrates why Intel never released a K i3 - it gives quad-like performance for gaming at 4.4GHz, where the i5 is king. The value argument is diluted a bit by the fact you will need a third party cooler though, while the i5 6500 is pretty awesome just with a stock HSF and some fast DDR4.

    I really, really hope that AMD targets this sector aggressively with Zen - it could be a game-changer.
  • ReverendDC - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    The perfect explanation why AMD is needed in the CPU space as well. No competition = restrictions to force more purchases from a single vendor.
  • Achaios - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    I was thinking, looking at the gaming benchmarks, that I am going to be stuck with the 4770k for maaaaaaannnnyyyy years to come.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    I honestly think asking why an i3 K-series processor doesn't exist is an awful question.

    I think the real question here that everyone isn't asking is:
    "Why is Intel even selling non-K processors in anything but business grade (Xeon) CPUs?"

    Doing a 15 page investigation where you compare an awful starting point locked i3 sample (one that isn't even relevant to consumers), examining its overclocked results, and the results of a locked i5 sample, then concluding that yes, the lower grade processor indeed does have worse performance than an i5, that might be why they don't have a K-series i3, is both completely obvious yet misses the point entirely.

    Overclocking is a choice for the consumer. Whether or not the i3 part fully closes the gap with an i5 part is irrelevant, and if it doesn't close the gap, that's not a valid reason to then conclude that's why they don't sell K-series i3's. Overclocking gets me more performance than stock, and regardless of how big or small the overclock is, it should be up to the user to choose whether to overclock, not up to the manufacturer to dictate whether you can attempt to overclock at all (with non-K chips.)

    I still can't understand why people are trying to find logic in strategic marketing placement of Intel chips (ie: rationalizing it for Intel, exactly what their marketing department wants) when you should be asking "Why are you selling me a locked down chip? I should be free to run this at whatever level of performance I can muster, as after I purchase this product, it is wholly mine to use as I please"
  • RobATiOyP - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    From the OEM & Intel's point of view, having ppl add volts & frequency to their complicated processors, may well lead to unstable chips or non-functioning, which may be (attempted) to be returned under warranty. If you buy a 3GHz locked CPU they're not fleecing you by not letting it be run faster, like options you pay more for.

    What is more annoying to me, is how there are various instruction options, like encryption & virtualisation which they turn on/off for market segmentation.
  • zodiacfml - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    Awesome. More care and effort was given here than I expected.
    Simply, Intel refuses to. Limiting higher frequencies to i5 and i7. The market Intel is limiting is gaming market. They might open it if AMD, miraculously, becomes competitive again.
  • TheHolyLancer - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    honestly i think the author missed the fact that intel( and amd to a point ) prices their stuff no-linearly

    to jump from a pentium to i3 may only be 50 but to jump from i5 to i7k or the extreme (well soon? for the 2011 revamp?) costs a lot more

    i remember the i7 920 too and with an oc i had i7 965 extreme levels of performance for way way cheaper

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now