One of the more impressive Intel platforms at this very moment is the X79 motherboard series armed with a Core i7 series Sandy Bridge-E processor. Problem is, it's an expensive platform especially when you take Intel's Z68's platform with say a Core i7 2600K into account. The initial Sandy Bridge-E processors started at roughly 500 EUR with topping 1000 EUR for the most high end processor. And these are prices that make my eyebrows frown.
A month ago the Core i7 3930K became available in retail, a lovely processor yet it's a 500 EUR processor. Two weeks ago the pricewatch engines all of the sudden where listing the much awaited Core i7-3820. This in fact is a quad core model Sandy-Bridge-E processor however it comes at a much more interesting price of 285 EUR (give or take a few EUR). This processor combined with a nice X79 motherboard could be just what the doctor ordered, then again, it will still have to fight against the 2600/2700K processors from Intel.
Intels Core i7-3820 CPU is based on the Sandy Bridge-E die that packs only 1.27 billion transistors, compared to the 2.27 billion transistors found in Intels six-core parts. Together with the reduction in transistor count, the chip also has a smaller die that measures 294 square millimeters, making it roughly two thirds the size of the Core i7-3960X and i7-3930K (these chips measure 435mm2).
The chip features four computing cores with Hyper-Threading support working at 3.6GHz (3.8GHz max Turbo), 10MB of Level 3 cache memory, a quad-channel memory controller, and a built-in 40-lane PCI Express 3.0 controller.
There's a downside though, not only are you lacking two cores (four available in total), but the Core i7-3820 is a locked processor. And means you do not have the flexibility to overclock the 'easy way'. So Intel took away the enthusiast grade overclock options.
Still, the Core i7-3820 might not have its MP's unlocked, but that doesn't mean it cant overclock on the baseclock + it has a multiplier still capable of 43. Today we'll test the Core i7-3820 and will see how it performs in its baseline configuration and obviously also try to overclock it a little.