The Intel Core i3 12100F replaces the previous-gen Core i3 processors by taking the best budget gaming processor crown for under $150. This chip comes with 4 cores and 8 threads that are capable of running all the games without bottlenecking them at the least unless you combine it with a crappy GPU.
Graphics card’s performance matters the most when a budget CPU like i3 12100F comes into action as you want to squeeze out as much juice as you can to play games with high fps at 1080 resolution.
Currently, there are not as many good graphics cards for a decent price as used to exist 2 years ago but the availability and pricing are definitely showing some signs which should get you a decent GPU to finally build your own gaming PC.
Here are the top 5 graphics cards you can use with the i3 12100F and play games on resolutions like 1080p up to 1440p.
Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 G5
Despite being more than 2 years old, the GTX 1650 is the most popular budget graphics card right now. This is the only $150 card that is one of the most bought GPUs on the market due to a few reasons. GTX 1650 is based on Turing and thus brings better efficiency with higher performance than the previous generation.
The card features 896 Cuda Cores and 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM which is faster than the GTX 1050 Ti that was very dominant 3 years back. It is significantly faster in gaming and can play almost every game at 1080p resolution with up to high settings easily. Some older games can be played with ultra settings with some settings compromised that shouldn’t be any problem if you love eye candy.
For a processor like i3 12100F, this is the least I recommend if you want to build a budget gaming system in 2022.
Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660
GTX 1660 is the next Turing GPU you can opt for. The GTX 1660 provides around 5-10% improvement in fps and features better specs that make 1080p gaming more enjoyable. It comes with 1408 Cuda Cores and 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 8Gbps. The reason why I am recommending it but not the Super is because it is cheaper and we have an alternate card for 1660 Super from Nvidia.
Moreover, GTX 1660 is the only card that originally costs less than $250 which makes it stand out as it has no competitor in this price. It is also power-efficient with 120W of TDP and requires a reliable 450 watts power supply that doesn’t break the bank.
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3050
Geforce RTX 3050 is the latest addition to Nvidia’s Ampere family and it is currently the slowest and cheapest card that is capable to do Ray Tracing. It is originally there to replace the GTX 1650 but it offers the performance equivalent to GTX 1660 Super. However, it is much more costly than the 1650 and is a little more costly than the 1660 Super.
It comes with 2560 Cuda Cores and features 2nd gen RT cores and 3rd Gen Tensor cores that makes it much better than Turing cards. The only disadvantage of this GPU is that it is limited to 8x PCI-E lanes but in most cases, there is no bandwidth bottleneck and makes it a decent gaming GPU for 1080 resolution.
In my opinion, it is very much suitable to use with the i3 12100F or any other similarly powerful CPU.
AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
AMD currently has cheaper options than Nvidia. The only problem with AMD right now is that it doesn’t have any decent GPUs in the budget category except for the RX 6500 XT which is the crappiest card you can buy. If you can get RX 6500 XT for $200, only then consider buying it, otherwise, go for RTX 3050 or RX 6600 XT if you have more cash.
Currently, the RX 6600 XT is the best 1080p as well as 1440p card for its price. It can max out most games even at 1440p resolution and still gives 60 fps. It comes with 2048 Stream Processors, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM clocked at 16Gbps on a 128-bit bus.
It also comes with the capability of Ray Tracing but I don’t recommend turning that feature ON as AMD is still far behind Nvidia in this technology.
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060
Last but not the least, the Geforce RTX 3060 is the best choice for the i3 12100F and the maximum I recommend for a 4 Cores/8 threads processor. RTX 3060 is equivalent to the RX 6600 XT in most games but surpasses it in a few. The best advantage of RTX 3060 over the RX 6600 XT is its Ray Tracing performance and DLSS.
Yes, the RX 6600 XT has the FSR and RSR features, but DLSS is old now and is very much developed compared to FSR and RSR. Ray Tracing combined with DLSS will provide playable framerates at 1080p resolution.
RTX 3060 comes with 3584 Cuda Cores and a good-sized memory of 12GB GDDR6. This should be sufficient for any game at 1080p and 1440p resolution and will enhance textures, anti-aliasing, foliage etc. which requires more VRAM.
The above-listed 5 graphics cards are the best choices in 2022 for i3 12100F and even for other budget processors under $200. Though there are some other choices in the same price range as the above GPUs, they are either overpriced or are too old for today’s games, and that’s why I simply excluded them from the list.
Let me know which graphics card you are going to buy for your gaming build in the comments below.