|Name||CPU: Intel Core i7-3820|
|At a glance:||3.6GHz quad-core CPU (3.8GHz Turbo Boost),Quad-channel memory architecture,Socket LGA2011,130W Thermal Design Power|
|Summary:||A welcome addition to the Sandy Bridge-E range but limited appeal compared to Intel's other offerings.|
Late last year Intel released an update to their line of Sandy Bridge processors dubbed Sandy Bridge-E (for ‘Enthusiast’ according to Intel). Since the launch of the initial pair of six-core CPUs, the i7-3930K and i7-3960X, only one other chip has emerged, in the form of the quad-core i7-3820.
The i7-3820 shares the main attraction of the other Sandy Bridge-E chips, which is the quad-channel memory architecture, and compensates somewhat for the loss of two cores with an increased core speed of 3.6GHz (compared to 3.2GHz and 3.3GHz respectively for the i7-3930K and i7-3960X). Note that its Turbo speed of 3.8GHz merely matches the i7-3930K and is 100MHz short of the 3.9GHz Turbo speed that the i7-3960X is capable of.
As mentioned in our initial Sandy Bridge-E review, these new chips are designed for the LGA2011 platform, so you can’t just perform a drop-in upgrade from an older Sandy Bridge CPU. And just to kick sand in your face, you probably can’t use your old CPU cooler, either, because the new motherboards have much more widely-spaced mounting holes around the CPU socket.
In our tests, the i7-3820 offered no significant improvement in gaming over quad-core Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs with similar specifications, although there were marginal improvements in video transcoding and 3D scene rendering, possibly due to the increased memory bandwidth.
Intel’s new Ivy Bridge platform is actually newer technology and offers more features than Sandy Bridge-E, so unless you use applications that can take advantage of the doubled memory architecture the i7-3820 is a bit of a hard sell.