The new LGA 2011 platform for enthusiasts didn’t really impress us that much at launch. Of course, it was not worse than the previous LGA 1366 and LGA 1155 platforms, but it still couldn’t be called a real break-through revolutionary product, to be honest. It seemed that six cores in combination with Sandy Bridge microarchitecture could allow Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K processors to offer unprecedented level of performance, but it was all theory at best. In reality there are hardly any tasks that are capable of using all the potential of this configuration to the full extent. Therefore, computers on the new platform were just as fast as the flagship LGA 1155 systems in most applications that do not deal with multimedia content creation. However, the LGA 1155 systems were significantly less expensive, much more energy-efficient and offered way better overclocking-friendly functionality.
However, LGA 2011 solutions have several indisputable advantages that may make them increasingly popular in the enthusiast community. First, this platform supports PCI Express 3.0 bus today already, which may be very handy for the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards. Second, it supports much more PCI Express lanes than LGA 1155, which allows building uncompromising high-speed multi-GPU systems. However, the problem is that these advantages will make most sense in the gaming systems, where six-core processors are usually not recommended because in most cases they will have lower frequency than the quad-core CPUs, and therefore will demonstrate lower performance in gaming applications.
Luckily, there is a way out of this situation. Besides six-core Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K, Intel is prepared to launch a quad-core LGA 2011 Core i7-3820 processor, although it hasn’t begun selling just yet. Nevertheless, there are only a few days left before this long-anticipated event occurs, so we decided to get a closer look at it the first chance we got.
This new acquaintance is particularly intriguing, because Core i7-3820 for the today’s top LGA 2011 platform is practically identical to the top-of-the-line products in the Core i7 series for LGA 2011, specifically in its frequency, L3 cache, number of cores and threads. And it means that we may be witnessing a very interesting duel between Core i7-3820 and Core i72700K, especially taking into account that the recommended retail price of the quad-core LGA 2011 processor is even a little lower than that of its LGA 1155 rival.
So, the new Core i7-3820 allows combining the advantages of the new platform with the advantages of Sandy Bridge-E design and end up with a price-wise affordable solution. Will this configuration be able to make us change our mind about the new LGA 2011 platform? This is exactly what our today’s article is about.