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Intel Core i7 3820 and ASrock Extreme4-M review


The Intel Core i7 3820 is aimed at an X79 audience who have a limited budget. Currently we have the 3960X Extreme Edition, which retails for a whopping £850 in the UK, and the 3930k at a more realistic £500. The Core i7 3820 is a more modestly priced Quad Core solution targeted at the sub £300 sector.

The 3820 has 1.27 billion transistors and a die size of 294 mm2 which is smaller than the 3960X EE which has 2.27 billion transistors and a die size of 435mm2. The level 3 cache on the 3820 is 10MB, which is 5MB less than the flagship 3960X EE processor.

How does this compare against the current range of Quad Core processors for the P67 and Z68 platform?

Processor Core i7 2600k Core i7 2700k Core i7 3820
Cores 4 4 4
Base clock 3.4ghz 3.5ghz 3.6ghz
Turbo 3.8ghz 3.9ghz 3.9ghz
Cache 8MB 8MB 10MB
Memory Support Dual Channel Dual Channel Quad Channel

Our sample arrived without retail packaging, in a small black box.

Obviously, the 3820 is the same size as the 3960X EE, to fit into the LGA2011 socket. As expected, we received an engineering sample (ES).

System validation available here.

The Core i7 3820 is not a fully unlocked processor, unlike the 2500k and 2600k. The Core i7 3820 can be set to a maximum multipler that is four steps higher than the top turbo frequency. So we can therefore work out that it can run at 4.3ghz, 400mhz greater than the 3.9ghz top default turbo frequency (single core active). We will look at this more in the overclocking section of the review later.

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