|Intel Core i7-3820 Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Tuesday, 06 March 2012|
Page 17 of 17
Intel Core i7-3820 Conclusion
As we have explained in the past, it's very hard to isolate a single component within a system. While we try to keep as many of the components static throughout the testing environment, it's impossible to keep everything the same. Any of these other components can cause fluctuations in the performances shown by the benchmarks. With that in mind, the i7-3820 performed pretty much just where it should have in our tests. It topped out the quad-core CPUs in most of the tests and beat out the six-core 980X in many of the tests. Of course, so did the i7-2600K. I would have liked to see a little better performance, but it sits nicely for its price.
While the Sandy Bridge Extreme CPUs brought on six-core processors, the i7-3820 isn't one of them. In fact, the i7-3820 resembles a normal Sandy Bridge CPU in architecture more than one of the six-core Extreme CPUs. It trades in the on-die GPU for an extra 2MB of cache. In the end, however, there is nothing new or unexpected about the i7-3820.
Overclocking the i7-3820 turned out to be a real pleasure. I have to give the i7-3820 props. As a CPU without an X or a K attached to the end of it, you really wouldn't expect it to overclock very well. We've become accustomed to the locked Sandy Bridge CPUs only being able to overclock 400MHz higher, and even then only on one core and only when turbo-boost is in use. With the new ability of the Sandy Bridge Extreme platform to overclock the bclk, however, things have change dramatically. Pushing the bclk frequency up will overclock the CPU from the start, regardless of Turbo-Boost or number of cores in use. By increasing the bclk to 125MHz over 100MHz, I was able to give the i7-3820 a 1.15GHz boost in clock speed. That's quite a bit more than the 400MHz we might have expected from a Sandy Bridge locked CPU.
Functionally, the i7-3820 is very similar to top end of the regular Sandy Bridge CPUs, the i7-2700 with a little more cache. Pitting the i7-3820 against the high-end of the regular Sandy Bridge series isn't going to yield much different results. The functionality of the i7-3820 really lies in the Sandy Bridge Extreme chipset and its increased capabilities.At $319.99 (NewEgg), the i7-3820 is actually less expensive than both the i7-2700K and the i7-2600K. The 3820 also comes stock clocked at 3.6GHz, 100MHz faster than the 2700K and 200MHz faster than the 2600K. It also has 2MB more L3 cache. Just looking at the specs, the i7-3820 is amazingly priced. The difference comes in chipset. You'll have to spend more money on the motherboard, offsetting the few dollars you'd save on the CPU. Depending on what your using it for, however, it's likely worth it.
+ Best Quad-Core Performance
+ Locked CPU that can still be Overclocked
+ Lots of Overclock Headroom
+ 48 PCI-E 3.0 Lanes
+ Quad-channel memory architecture
+ Better price than Slower CPUs
- Can't get this deal without an X79 Motherboard, adding to the overall price
- No CPU Cooler Included
Final Score: 9.25 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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