Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Intel Core i7 3930K

If you've got a BIG budget this is the processor we'd recommend.

Intel Core i7-3930K Review


The Intel Core i7 3930K is the cheaper alternative to the top-end Sandy Bridge E processor. But then many second hand cars are cheaper than the top-end Sandy Bridge E processor.
At nearly £500 it's still an expensive CPU, but currently it's the only LGA 2011 processor worth a look.
The Intel Core i7 3960X, that top-end Sandy Bridge E, is a positively preposterous processor. For in excess of £800, you get a chip that's not substantially quicker than Intel's own Core i7 980X of two years ago.
Not at stock clocks, at least. Admittedly, the Core i7 3960X does overclock very nicely indeed and in doing so opens up a gap from ye olde 980X.
But we've reviewed the 3960X elsewhere and deemed it disappointing, moderately sinister (it's prima facie evidence of Intel carpet bagging in response to AMD's failure to bring out a really quick chip) and largely irrelevant to human existence.
This then is the Intel Core i7 3930K and it's not the same chip. Not precisely, anyway.
Technical Specifications
Certainly looking at the specifications table we're only losing a tiny bit of speed and a little bit of cache when compared to the i7-3960X, so the i7-3930K shouldn't be too badly hindered.
Status                                          --->      Launched
Launch Date                                --->      Q4'11
Processor Number                       --->      i7-3930K
# of Cores                                    --->      6
# of Threads                                 --->      12
Clock Speed                                --->      3.2 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency                  --->      3.8 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache                      --->      12 MB
Bus/Core Ratio                             --->      57
DMI                                             --->      5 GT/s
Instruction Set                               --->      64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions              ---> SSE4.2, AVX
Lithography                                   --->      32nm
Max TDP                                      --->      130 W

The fact that you're getting almost the same sort of performance out of this £500 Sandy Bridge E as the £850 Core i7 3960X makes it a more intriguing prospect.
The other boon of the Core i7 3930K is that it's got the same huge amount of overclocking headroom sitting in that CPU package. You can reach extraordinary speeds out of this architecture.
As it's still based on the same architecture as the Core i7 3960X it's also got the same flaws, namely that it's actually an eight-core CPU with a couple of cores turned off.
And despite the fact it's over £300 cheaper than the top end chip, the Core i7 3930K is still an incredibly pricey processor.
Final word:
Much better value than the 3960X. The obvious choice if you're thinking of the LGA 2011 platform.


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