Intel Core i3 10100F is currently the best gaming processor for $100 and is capable of handling mid-end GPUs like RTX 3060 easily. It is compatible with LGA 1200 socket motherboard and will run on any chipset featuring this socket that includes the entry-level H410/H510 chipset or even the high-end Z490/Z590 chipset.
However, it is important to note that i3 10100F is a locked processor that means you can’t overclock it more than the official stated boost clock speed which is 4.3GHz. Therefore, investing money in an expensive chipset like Z490 or Z590 is unnecessary except if you really plan to upgrade to something like an i7 10700K/11700K in the near future.
For most of us, upgrading too soon is not a viable option and therefore it is better to stick to an entry-level board that will be adequate for installing all your components and will help you save money to invest in a better graphics card or memory.
You will, however, still need to look for a good motherboard no matter even if you are going with the H510 chipset as certain motherboards come with better connectivity and onboard features that will come in handy. So, I recommend the following motherboards for i3 10100F that will prove to be better than anything else.
Gigabyte H510M H is one of the most entry-level motherboards out there but has a good amount of ports and slots to support multiple components and peripherals. While on the H510, you won’t see a lot of expansion slots, all you need is a single PCI-E x16 slot and a single PCI-E x1 slot for graphics card and wifi card respectively that is available on it.
For storage, it comes with 4x SATA ports and 1x M.2 connector for fast NVME SSD. It can support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM clocked up to 3200MHz which is more than what an H410 motherboard can support and surely a higher clocked memory module helps in better performance.
At the I/O, there are a total of 6x USB ports and 1x PS/2 port for peripheral connectivity which is admirable as a lot of entry-level boards don’t have that many USB ports. For internet connectivity, you will get a single 1G LAN but unfortunately no Wifi.
It is not the best motherboard for i3 10100F but can fulfill most of your requirements at a much lower price.
In my opinion, MSI produces the best entry-level motherboards with some features that can’t be found in motherboards from other manufacturers. Although the MSI H510M Pro has a standard VRM with 7 power phases and an equivalent number of slots and ports as the Gigabyte H510M H, but it has one more M.2 slot with E Key for M.2 wifi card.
It allows you to use the PCI-E x1 slot for any other purpose and gives you the flexibility to use connectivity options as you wish. Moreover, at the I/O, you have three display connectors including a DP that will be helpful if you ever use a processor with integrated graphics.
The best feature is, however, the EZ Debug LEDs at the top-right corner that eases troubleshooting several times. These LEDs can show what possible component is not allowing your system to boot if you ever encounter such a problem and these LEDs are generally available on all the MSI motherboards.
ASRock isn’t the best when it comes to motherboards but some of its motherboards in different chipset lineups are really good for their price. For instance, the H510M/AC comes with all the ideal features not present in any of the above-listed motherboards.
It comes with an Intel Wifi adapter that allows internet connectivity out of the box and saves you the cost for a dedicated wifi solution. For storage, it comes with 4x SATA ports and 1x M.2 slot and for memory, there are two DIMM slots with similar support as the MSI and Gigabyte motherboards.
The I/O is not that great as it only features 4x USB ports but has dual PS/2 ports for older peripherals. I don’t know a lot of people that prefer the PS/2 ports over the USB, therefore, this is certainly a drawback here.
Keeping this one thing aside, the motherboard does lead in headers that include an ARGB LED header and 3x headers that include 1x CPU-fan, 1x Chassis-fan, and 1x AIO pump header. This is certainly beneficial if you want to upgrade to an AIO cooler without changing your motherboard.
As you might have noticed that the entry-level motherboards hardly come with a heatsink on the VRM. The reason is that they don’t need it in the first place as the VRM on an entry-level chipset like H510 doesn’t require advanced cooling solutions but if you live in a hot place and if your case doesn’t have good ventilation, then the heatsink on Prime H510M-A Wifi will come into action.
It increases the cooling capacity and aesthetics at the same time. Moreover, the primary M.2 connector also comes with an aluminium heatsink to cool your SSD. For expansion cards, it comes with 2x PCI-E x1 slots instead of one allowing you to add two different types of cards at the same time
The I/O on this board is also hands down, the best I/O among all the boards listed here. It contains 6x USB ports, dual PS/2 ports and multiple display output connectors. Moreover, it comes with an inbuilt Wifi 5 adapter for wireless connectivity. This motherboard, therefore, is better in terms of upgradability and components support.
In case you want much better compatibility with the components, then B460 is a much better option. It doesn’t allow overclocking but can help you in other ways. First of all, it comes with 16 PCI-E 3.0 lanes compared to 6 on H510. This alone allows you to fill the SATA ports, M.2 connectors and PCI-E slots better than H510.
Secondly, there are 4x DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of memory. This allows you to increase your memory size easily. Along with these, there are several other significant improvements too that include USB connectivity, Intel Optane support and SATA ports.
MSI B460M PRO-VDH Wifi comes with dual M.2 slots for fast SSDs, 6x SATA ports for SATA drives and supports up to 2933MHz of memory clock speed. Here memory clock support is lower than the H510 as B460 is an older chipset but that shouldn’t be a thing of too much concern as you will be getting much more on other sides.
At the I/O, there are 6x USB ports and an Intel 3168NGW wifi adapter too. For cooling devices such as fans and pumps, there are a total of 4x headers and 1x RGB, 1x ARGB headers for RGB devices. And last but not the least, there are EZ debug LEDs for troubleshooting.
Going above this motherboard is not recommend for the i3 10100F unless you are really up to something like overclocking in the future.
Even though the 11th gen Intel processors are out, we still have the i3 10100F as the latest i3 processor. With 4 cores and 8 threads, this processor produces good results in games and for $100, it is among the top choices of gamers on a budget. Let me know what do you think about the above motherboards in the comments below.