Intel launched their X79 platform in November and Kitguru was on hand with multiple reviews. Since this launch we have looked at several motherboards primarily targeting the hardcore, high end overclocking audience. There is no doubt the Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition is the processor to rule them all, but at £850 inc vat it is out of reach for 95% of the audience reading this. For those on a more realistic budget, Intel are releasing the the Core i7 3820 for the X79 platform, a new Quad Core design at a much more reasonable price point … around £260.
To make the review more interesting today we decided to build an ultra high end media center using this new processor, The award winning Lian Li PC60 and the new ASRock Extreme4-M motherboard. Is this worth your money?
The Core i7 3820 is based on the Sandy Bridge E design which works on the LGA2011 platform, via motherboards already on the market. It supports Quad channel memory and 40 lanes of PCI Express which are capable of PCIe 3.0 speeds. The processor is also equipped with Hyperthreading, for a total of 4 physical and 8 logical cores.
The other product we are analysing today is the latest Micro ATX board from ASRock … the Extreme4-M based on the LGA2011 socket. This board may be small, but it is feature packed, with support for the latest range of Intel processors and Quad Channel 2400+ (OC) DDR3 memory. It is equipped with 3x PCIe 3.0 x16, SATA 3 and USB 3.0 ports and incorporates an advanced 6+2 Power Phase design with premium gold capacitors for long life and stability under stressful conditions.
We aim to build one of the fastest small form factor systems today, and even try our hand at overclocking.