Intel Core I7 3820 (Part 1)

6/20/2012 6:05:10 PM

Intel Extreme CPU’s quad-core version

This is a Sandy Bridge E CPU but is not as expensive as a full PC.

Intel is now launching its high-end chip series’s quad-core version. This is Core i7 3820, but in fact, we are completely not sure why it exists.

Description: Intel Core I7 3820

Before this chip, the cheapest Sandy Bridge E chip from $675 to $750 was Core i7 3930K, and $1,200 Core i7 3960X is at the top of Intel CPU series. Both are 6-core chips, with the Hyperthreading technology activating 12 threads of processing power – but they are really not 6-core chips. i7 3930K and i7 3960X both have 8-core host chip with two disable cores so as to be suitable for desktop computer segment.

Suspecters will say that Sandy Bridge E gives Intel a big chance to sell its Xeon chip series for desktop crowd to get big benefits. Obviously, Intel rejects this, by argueing that consumers will like to have higher clock speed on these two dditional cores, and it needs to sacrifies two cores to reach the 3.3GHz speed of a high-end chip. However, with the upcoming launch of E5 Xeon, Intel reaches 3.1GHz with a server chip based on Sandy Bridge E designed for socket LGA 2011. It is so doubtful.

How about Core i7 3820? Is this huge processor similar, too? Does it really have 4 dead cores inside? If so, it is a bit horrible.

New die shrink, thanks

Luckily, Intel Core i7 3820 is not an 8-core chip different to half of turned off cores. i7 3820 is a completely different die shrink than older brothers. And certainly, they are bigger – in fact around 1 billion 32nm transistors.

It still gives i7 3820 1.27 billion transistors in its structure. That means it is still bigger than Gulftown 6-core CPUs of the last generation, all Sandy Bridge series, and even AMD’s huge 4-module Bulldozer chips. The CPU’s die shrink is running around the large LGA 2011, small than 100mm2 compared to the die shrink’s size of other two Sandy Bridge E processors.

There is a main difference between this Core i7 3820 with CPUs having X and K suffixes from Intel. That is other chips’ unclocked nature. This processor has partially locked multiflier, which limits it with 43x compared to the 57x multiflier provided by other two Sandy Bridge E chips, together with i7 and i5 CPUs of the Sandy Bridge’s high-end K series.

The main battle of Intel Core i7 3820 is with Core i7 2700K, the leading Sandy Bridge CPU. With $390, both have low price, and with 6GHz compared to 3.5GHz of 2700K, they both have nearly equal clock speeds.

Raw performance

Description: Intel Core I7 3820

It can be guessed that everything is quite similar in raw performance – but not completely similar. Intel Core i7 2700K is still really leading in its own clock speed compared to the Sandy Bridge E Core i7 3820. In simple-threaded performance, 2700K is really faster than i7 3830K.

Sandy Bridge’s games are dominant when we start to carry out the World in Conflicts and Shogun 2 tests in different chips. When graphics card is taken out of the equation, in Shogun 2 DX9 CPU and World in Conflict tests, 2700K’s performance outspaces the both Sandy Bridge E chips. That is even right when we beat i7 3820 with overclocking.

i7 3820’s overclocking performance is a quite interesting result. Despite partially unclocked only, maening you have to face the 4.3GHz limit, you can push it up if having appropriate motherboard.

Thanks to BCLK, Sandy Bridge E chips can stand basic clock speed change. It is still limited with 100MHz, 125MHz, 166MHz and 250MHz, but it makes you spend quite a lot of time.

In overclocking race, partially clocked multiflier does not harm much. With an appropriate motherboard, you can receive overclocking performance similar to i7 2700K – about 4.7GHz – but no more than it.

You need a good motherboard to facilitate that – and this means you have to spend $300 for the motherboard. Together with $390, you are paying for a processor that still makes Sandy Bridge E base prove to be too expensive compared to the much cheaper Sandy Bridge.

Important statistics







LGA 2011

Production process


Core clock speed









10MB L3



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