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Competitors for Core i7-3820: Core i7-3930K and Core i7-2700K

If you are planning to buy a quad-core LGA 2011 processor, you might also want to consider available alternatives. The first one is Core i7-2700K for LGA 1155 platform, which has very similar characteristics. It is based on the same microarchitecture and is manufactured using the same production technology, but the Sandy Bridge design of this processor doesn’t have any server origins, which makes it more energy-efficient, but only supports dual-channel memory. The clock speed of Core i7-2700K is 100 MHz lower than that of Core i7-3820, but if you build a system around it, you will be able to save around $50-$100.

Overclocking can become another serious argument in favor of LGA 1155 processors and Core i7-2700K (or even Core i7-2600K) in particular. Since these processors have an unlocked clock multiplier, they are just as easy to overclock as Core i7-3820. However, overclocking results will most likely be 200-300 MHz better, because the semiconductor die in quad-core LGA 1155 CPUs is much simpler than the Sandy Bridge-E die.

For example, our test Core i7-2700K easily overclocked to 4.9 GHz with the same exact NZXT Havik 140 cooler. It also indicates that the improvements of the 32 nm manufacturing process made over the past few months have increased the frequency potential of the Intel processors a little more.

We raised the core voltage by additional 0.15 V above the nominal, which suggests that this operational mode can be suitable for long-term usage.

Six-core Core i7-3930K LGA 2011 processor can be considered another alternative to Core i7-3820. Unlike LGA 1155 products, it supports the increased to 40 number of PCI Express 3.0 lanes and quad-channel memory, so if you prefer it over Core i7-3820, you won’t have to compromise. Of course, it is twice as expensive, but it won’t stand out too much against the price of the entire platform. In this case 1.5 times more computational cores will partially make up for slightly lower clock frequency of the Core i7-3930K.

As for overclocking, here Core i7-3930K can perform just as well as Core i7-3820. During the first overclocking experiments on Core i7-3930K we only reached 4.5 GHz frequency, but as we found out later, this particular sample had pretty low frequency potential right from the start. Today we are going to use a different CPU, which we pulled from the channel, and it overclocked much better – to 4.7 GHz.

To ensure stability we raised its core voltage to a quite safe 1.36 V. The temperatures in this case remained within acceptable range at all times.

So, at this point we can conclude that the overclocking potential of six- and quad-core LGA 2011 processors is almost the same. In other words, the overclocked six-core Core i7-3930K will in any case deliver higher performance than the overclocked quad-core Core i7-3820.

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