Is the Intel Core i3 Processor Good for Gaming?

In essence, yes, the Intel Core i3 processor will be good enough for most games. However, that does not mean it will run on the highest settings available for those games, and you would need to pair it with a decent graphics card to get the most out of it.

I’m Anthony, and I have been working with and building computers for the last 8+ years. I currently work in the information technology field, and have worked with Intel processors building systems specifically for gaming. 

In this article, we will explain whether the Intel Core i3 is good enough for gaming, inspect a few games, and share some tips on how to get the most out of it. This will allow you to create or buy a good entry-level computer, and get started on playing the games that you want to play.

Key Takeaways

  • Intel Core i3 is good for gaming, with a decent graphics card.
  • Most games today will run with the Intel i3 processor.
  • Your display and storage will play a factor in gaming as well.

What You Should Know About the Intel Core i3 Processor

There are a few things to keep in mind when talking about the core i3 processor. 

With the newest generation of Intel processors, the company has added a massive boost in power. The i3’s from this generation can come with 4 cores on the low end, and 8 cores on the high end.

The lowest-end processor in the i3 line clocks in at 4 GHz speeds with 4 cores. This is higher than previous generations and will allow for faster processing. 

For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing this model and if you get a higher-end version, expect better performance.

Gaming with an Intel Core i3 Processor

Many of the games available today will allow you to play with an Intel Core i3 processor. We will be inspecting several games today, to see how they line up with popular games from today. 

It is important to remember that the specifications listed, also include other components such as RAM and graphics cards. These are important aspects of getting an i3 to work for gaming, and will be mentioned as well. We will also discuss them at the end of this article.


The recommended specifications for a PC playing Fortnite include an Intel Core i5-7300U (source). This is a processor from previous generations, which ran 2 cores at 3.5GHz. Using this information, it is safe to say that this i3 should be able to handle running on Fortnite.

It should also be noted that the specifications list an Nvidia GTX 960 or AMD R9 280 as the recommended graphics card. This would be important to have alongside the i3 processor, to give it the extra support to run the game on the highest settings.

Overwatch 2

The recommended specifications for Overwatch 2 include the i3 listed under their minimum specifications. This means that the game should run, although likely not on the highest graphical settings. 

This game does not list a specific model of processor, so it is possible that an earlier i3 may work as well. If that is the case, then a 12th generation i3 will be much better, as they come with higher speeds and more cores per processor. 

The graphics card recommended with this game is the Nvidia GTX 600 series for the minimum specifications, and a GTX 1060 with the recommended specifications. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The recommended settings for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare include an Intel Core i5-2500k. This is another processor that was released several years ago and has four cores running at 3.3 GHz. This means that the 12th generation i3 should be able to handle the game. 

The graphics card recommended is Nvidia GTX 970. They also recommend 12 GB of RAM, which is higher than most games. However, with those, you should be able to run the game on medium to high settings with no issues.

Other Games

There are some other games out there that you can play on an Intel Core i3. Valorant, GTA 4 and GTA 5, and Roblox will all run on an Intel Core i3. These games all have recommended specifications lower than the Intel Core i3, and should run on medium to high settings. 

What Else Should You Have with the Processor?

There are several things to consider. 

The i3 processor does come with integrated graphics, but many games will recommend a dedicated graphics card. While possible, I don’t recommend trying to play with the integrated graphics. It would slow down your game considerably.

The most common graphics card listed in the games we discussed would be the Nvidia GTX 900 series. This seems to be a good place to start for graphics cards to go with the i3, and would allow you to play most games on medium to high settings.

You should also consider the motherboard of a computer. If you plan to use this for a while, then an i3 may be the way to go. 

If you plan to upgrade in the future however, you may want to opt for a higher-level processor. This is because the Motherboard’s CPU slot is different for the i3 vs others, and you should try to keep the option of upgrading open if that is your goal.

The next thing to consider is that the monitor or display for your gaming may be a factor. Playing games on a 720p monitor will be very different from playing on a 4K monitor. This could also play a factor, but will matter less if you have a decent graphics card in your build.

Lastly, storage may play a factor. While HDDs were popular in the past because there weren’t many other options, an SSD for gaming would be the way to go today. This would speed up load times, and make your game more enjoyable to play.


Here are some other questions you might have about using i3 for gaming, I’ll briefly answer them below.

Can an i3 Run All Games?

There are certainly going to be a few games that this cannot run. VR games are the first to come to mind, as well as some more graphically intense games such as Genshin Impact. However, for the majority of gamers, this will allow them to play the most popular games.

Is Intel Core i3 Good for Streaming?

The Intel Core i3 can handle some streaming, although I would recommend getting a higher-level processor for streaming. Most of the games I mentioned would slow down to an unplayable point while streaming 60 fps. 

Is Intel Core i3 Good for GTA 5?

The GTA 5 recommended specs do require a 4-core processor with at least 3.2 GHz clock speeds. That means that the newer Intel Core i3 would be able to run the game on medium to high settings.

Final Thoughts

The Intel Core i3 processor is good enough to play most games. It can’t be alone however, as the integrated graphics would not support these games. Modern setups usually don’t rely on integrated graphics, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

If you have any experience with the 12th generation of Intel Core i3 processors, let me know your experience playing some of these games! Feel free to include some details like your GPU, motherboard, etc.

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