Until today LGA 2011 platform seemed like a niche solution targeted at those users who need extreme performance – this is the only desktop platform for contemporary six-core Intel processors available today. However, now there is also a Sandy Bridge-E LGA 2011 processor with four computational cores available, and as we have just shown in our review, it doesn’t fit that well into the original platform concept. Core i7-3820 turned out to be a niche processor for a niche platform, and there are only two more features besides its relatively low price that could attract potential users. First, it is the support of 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, which may be useful for building fully-functional CrossfireX and SLI configurations with the latest generation and upcoming graphics accelerators. And second, it is a quad-channel DDR3 SDRAM controller, which advantage is not high bandwidth, but the ability to support memory capacities beyond 32 GB. However, no one is talking about unprecedented computational performance of the platform any more.
It turns out that the top LGA 1155 processors do not lose any of their appeal against the background of the new Core i7-3820. They not only allow building noticeably more affordable and energy-efficient systems. Their performance appears just as good as that of Core i7-3820 based systems, and in some cases, such as games and regular general-purpose applications, LGA 1155 processors can even outperform LGA 2011 ones. Moreover, Core i7-2700K and Core i7-2600K can also be successfully overclocked and in this mode offer even higher performance than the overclocked Core i7-3820.
Taking into account all of the above mentioned arguments, we will continue to recommend specifically Core i7-2700K or Core i7-2600K out of all Intel’s quad-core offerings existing today. Compared with the new Core i7-3820, the one-year-old Sandy Bridge solutions offer better platform price-to-performance as well as performance-per-watt.
However, if some of the features of the LGA 2011 platform are more appealing to you, then you should first of all consider the junior six-core Core i7-3930K. Its performance is substantially different from that of quad-core LGA 2011 and LGA 1155 CPUs, but its price is not as high as that of an extreme Sandy Bridge-E processor – Core i7-3960X. As for Intel’s decision to expand their product line on the “lower”, it will hardly affect the popularity of this platform. It is fairly difficult to call Core i7-3820 and an LGA 2011 mainboard an attractive combination, so it will hardly become increasingly popular.