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Intel Core i7-7820X CPU Review

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Introduction

Nearly six years ago in November of 2011, Intel divided its lineup by releasing its first HEDT (High-End Desk-Top) in the form of the X79 platform and a trio of Sandy Bridge-E CPU’s with the flagship 6-core Extreme Edition Core i7-3960X. The platform eventually received an update to Ivy Bridge-E with three new CPUs. Three years later, the updated X99 platform was launched with another trio of Haswell-E CPU’s with the 8 core i7-5960X, later to be trumped with Broadwell-E’s 10-core i7-6950X. Fast-forward just under 3 years and Intel brings us X299. This time however, Intel changed the game and announced NINE different CPU’s over a stagger launch. Spanning 2 architectures at the same time, Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X, X299 hits the ground with a starting lineup from quad core to 18 cores, up to quad channel ddr4 memory and up to a hefty 44 PCIe lanes.

While we wait for the remaining Sky Lake-X CPU’s to arrive, we’ll take a look at one offering near the middle of the shotgun pattern launch with the 8 core, 16 thread Intel Core i7-7820X. Does it compare to the retiring 8 core champion of X99? We certainly aim to find out!

ProClockers would like to thank Intel for sending us the i7-7820X to check out!

Intel’s take on the 7th Generation Core HEDT processors

Intel® Core™ X-Series Processor Family

Something for every enthusiast! The new Intel® Core™ X-series processor family is designed to scale to your performance needs by delivering options between 4 to 18 cores for extreme performance, the latest technological advancements and headroom for the future. This platform comes ready to install Intel® Optane™ memory and Intel® Optane™ SSDs for amazing system responsiveness. Support for immersive 4K visuals, four channel DDR4 2666 memory, Thunderbolt™ 3 delivering a 40Gb/s bi-directional port for almost any peripheral you want to connect and up to 8 SATA ports for a RAID storage array makes this the ultimate desktop platform.

Game, Stream, Record

Enter the realm of extreme performance where game play is so life-like it is difficult to tell where reality ends and the game begins. Surrounded by multiple high-res displays and premium audio sound, you are totally immersed in the action of your AAA game title or the latest virtual reality thriller. Play extreme, live extreme, game extreme on a computer with an unlocked1 Intel® Core™ X-series processor. And because modern gaming extends beyond just gameplay, you want to simultaneously share your gameplay with the community and the world. Record all the action capturing that once in a life-time maneuver that brought you to victory, and convert your game play into a sharable format to immediately post on your social media page. That is extreme mega tasking and the power of the Intel® Core™ X-series processor.

Unleash Your Ultimate Creative Genius Now with an Intel® Core™ X-Series Processor

Your creativity is limitless, and once you are in the flow of ideas, you need a system that will keep up. You need the uncompromising performance in a PC powered by the Intel® Core™ X-series processor. The Intel® Core™ X-series processor family with 8, 12 or even 18 cores delivers amazing performance when multiple real-time workloads are stacked. Spend more time creating while your Intel® Core™ X-series processor powered system simultaneously handles uploading massive 4K files, rendering effects and other compute intensive workloads in the background. And with the updated Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, you have the control to give priority to the apps that need the power of the two best performing cores. Quad channel memory also delivers improved responsiveness and decreases start up time when you are working with large files and content creation applications. With an Intel® Core™ X-series processor you can focus on creating with the confidence that your results will be as remarkable as you imagined.

Features & Specifications

Intel Skylake-X Platform Block Diagram

7th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processor Die

Intel Skylake-X Specifications and Pricing

 

Core i7-7800X

Core i7-7820X

Core i9-7900X

Cores / Threads

6/12

8/16

10/20

Base Clock

3.5 GHz

3.6 GHz

3.3 GHz

Turbo Clock

4.0 GHz

4.3 GHz

4.3 GHz

TurboMax Clock

N/A

4.5 GHz

4.5 GHz

L3

8.25 MB

11 MB

13.75 MB

PCIe Lanes

28

44

Memory Channels

4

Memory Freq

DDR4-2400

DDR4-2666

TDP

140W

Price

$389

$599

$999

Core i7-7820X Technical Specifications

Essentials

  • Vertical Segment – Desktop
  • Processor Number – i7-7820X
  • Status – Launched
  • Launch Date – Q2’17
  • Lithography – 14 nm

Performance

  • # of Cores – 8
  • # of Threads – 16
  • Processor Base Frequency – 3.60 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency – 4.30 GHz
  • Cache – 11 MB L3
  • Bus Speed – 8 GT/s DMI3
  • # of QPI Links – 0
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency – 4.50 GHz
  • TDP – 140 W

Supplemental Information

  • Embedded Options Available – No
  • Conflict Free – Yes

Memory Specifications

  • Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) – 128 GB
  • Memory Types – DDR4-2666
  • Max # of Memory Channels – 4
  • ECC Memory Supported – No

Expansion Options

  • Scalability – 1S Only
  • PCI Express Revision – 3.0
  • Max # of PCI Express Lanes – 28

Package Specifications

  • Sockets Supported – FCLGA2066
  • Max CPU Configuration –1
  • Thermal Solution Specification – PCG 2017X

Advanced Technologies

  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Supported – Yes
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 – Yes
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology – 2.0
  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology – Yes
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) – Yes
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) – Yes
  • Intel® 64 – Yes
  • Instruction Set – 64-bit
  • Instruction Set Extensions – SSE4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0, AVX-512
  • Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology – Yes
  • Intel® AES New Instructions – Yes
  • Execute Disable Bit – Yes
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Compatible Products

Intel® X299 Chipset
  • 14 USB Ports
  • Up to 10 USB 3.0 Ports
  • 24 PCI Express Lanes (max)

A Closer Look

As with most non-retail samples, ours came in Intel’s generic black processor box.

Inside the CPU is sandwiched between ESD safe foam blocks.

The review sample of the Core i7-7820X in all its confidential glory!

The rear of the CPU shows 2066 pads to mate to the sockets 2066 pins.

A side by side comparison to its twin of yesteryear. i7-5960X on the left, i7-7820X on the right. Both 8 cores, and both a lot of fun. Intel has a rather unique heat spreader design on the new CPU’s.

Looking from the side, you can see the cpu heat spreader is a quite complex and covers a multi-layer substrate under the actual CPU die.

System Configuration & Software

Testing Hardware

  • ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9
  • Corsair Dominator SE 64GB (4x16GB) 3200 MHz DDR4 Memory
  • Sandisk Ultra PLUS 256 GB Solid State Drive
  • Galax GTX 1070 HOF

CPU Cooling

  • Custom Liquid Loop:
  • EKWB Supremacy EVO
  • EKWB PE240 Radiator
  • Monsoon MMRS Pump/Reservoir with EKWB D5 Pump
  • 2x Corsair ML120 PRO Fans

Testing Operating System and Utilities

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Professional

General System Benchmarks

  • PCMark 8
  • Super Pi

CPU Benchmarks

  • Fritz Chess
  • Cinebench R15 – CPU
  • 7-Zip
  • Y-Cruncher

Memory Benchmarks

  • AIDA64 Engineer
  • Passmark Performance Test 8 – Memory
  • SiSoft Sandra

Game Benchmarks

  • 3DMark Firestrike
  • Unigine Heaven
  • Grand Theft Auto: V
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Tomb Raider

General Performance & CPU Performance Results

We were rather constrained for time. We have included as many comparison processors as possible. In some cases, there wasn’t enough time to test every possible processor at our disposal, so we included the most pertinent for comparison.

General Performance Results

PCMark 8

“Use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.”

The 7820X shows expectedly strong performance, leading the pack and only just behind its 10-core counterpart, the 7900X.

Super PI Modded 1.5

“In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.”

Being dependent on a single thread, Super-Pi favors a fast clock speed. The 7820X is able to boost to 4.3Ghz under a light load, so it does fairly well here.

CPU Performance Results

Fritz Chess

Fritz Chess is a benchmark in which a fictitious game of chess is played. As each move has to be calculated by the computer, it is an excellent test of CPU muscle.

We see strong performance out of the 7820X, only really edged out by chips with a little faster clock speed.

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

Just under the 7900X is where we would expect this CPU to be, and it does not disappoint.

7-Zip

This form allows you to measure the performance of your computer. The benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So if you have modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reaches 100, the score is taken.

7-Zip reflects the exact same trend on this chart with our cpu only being edged out by its 10 core bigger brother.

Memory Performance Results

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

“FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises. The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.”

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Coupled with 3200Mhz ram, we see very high scores here, hitting more than 85GB/s in read speeds alone from its quad channel memory config.

We see pretty average latency scores here. For Intel, the more complex quad channel architecture tends to turn in a bit more delay than the dual channel chips.

Internal CPU L1 cache bandwidth is about what we would expect; turning in just shy of 2TB/s in read and copy operations.

Again, with the slightly slower Level 2 cache we see the same trend.

Level 3 cache bandwidth testing came up with an anomaly, slamming into a wall at about 100GB/s. We believe this to be a lack of support from the latest revision of AIDA64 that will be corrected shortly, and indeed AIDA64 does warn us after testing that our CPU may not be fully supported. Based on L1 and L2 testing, we would expect to see about 650-700GB/s read/copy and perhaps 500-550GB/s for write operations

Passmark Performance Test 8 – Memory

With the 3200Mhz quad channel memory, we again see a very high score.

SiSoft Sandra

“SiSoftware Sandra provides a robust package of diagnostic tools for testing your system and teasing out its problems–or potential headaches.”

And again, the very same trend, turning in north of 61GB/s in all tests.

Y-Cruncher

Written by Alexander J. Lee “From a high-school project that went a little too far…” y-cruncher, (y for gamma) is a number crunching program that can compute various mathematical constants. It was originally a small program specialized for computing the Euler-Mascheroni Constant. (Which uses gamma as its symbol, hence the name). It has since gained the ability to compute other constants. It is the first of its kind that is multi-threaded and scalable to multi-core systems. Ever since its launch in 2009, it has become a common benchmarking and stress-testing application for overclockers and hardware enthusiasts.

We tested using the built in benchmarks to compute Pi to 1 Billion Digits in both single and multi-threaded mode, and recorded the Total Computation time at the end of the run. Y-Cruncher is also able to take advantage of AVX512 instructions in compatible CPU’s. Due to the thermal load of running Intense AVX workloads, Intel has implemented and AVX offset clock that may scale the CPU’s clock speed back, even below stock speeds when running intense AVX loads. For this reason, we note the CPU’s clockspeed in both single and multi-threaded test modes.

With the higher core count it’s hard to tell here from the multi-threaded testing a big difference, of course more cores means a faster calculation time right? What I really need to point out here is the single-threaded score.

The i7-7820X is one of the very first consumer CPU’s to support the AVX512 instruction set, and this is one test that can take advantage of this new feature. The AVX offset on this platform scales the CPU clock speed back pretty heavily when running an AVX load on all cores, but running only one core, we are still able to boost to 4.0Ghz. The i7-5960X runs a full 3.5Ghz all the time no matter the load.

Considering the slight boost in clock speed, the new 7820X still manages a staggering 60% faster calculation time on a single thread over its older counterpart. That is the magic of the AVX512 Instructions, and gives you an insight on how much acceleration this can provide when taken advantage of. It even manages a faster time than its Kaby Lake-X counterpart that runs a faster clock speed on this test, but doesn’t support AVX512.

Synthetic Game and Non-Synthetic Game Performance Results

Synthetic Game Results

3DMark – Fire Strike

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

Firestrike shows a very strong CPU physics score which is ever so slightly reflected in combined scoring as well.

Heaven

“Heaven Benchmark immerses a user into a magical steampunk world of shiny brass, wood and gears. Nested on flying islands, a tiny village with its cozy, sun-heated cobblestone streets, an elaborately crafted dirigible above the expanse of fluffy clouds, and a majestic dragon on the central square gives a true sense of adventure. An interactive experience with fly-by and walk-through modes allows for exploring all corners of this world powered by the cutting-edge UNIGINE Engine that leverages the most advanced capabilities of graphics APIs and turns this benchmark into a visual masterpiece.”

Pretty similar test results to other CPU’s in this class thanks to use of the 1070. There are no apparent bottlenecks keeping the GPU fed.

Non- Synthetic Game Results

Grand Theft Auto: V

“When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber and a terrifying psychopath find themselves entangled with some of the most frightening and deranged elements of the criminal underworld, the U.S. government and the entertainment industry, they must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a ruthless city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other.

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Grand Theft Auto V for PC offers players the option to explore the award-winning world of Los Santos and Blaine County in resolutions of up to 4k and beyond, as well as the chance to experience the game running at 60 frames per second.”

Grand Theft Auto: V is the newest game in our benchmark suite. The game offers players a huge range of PC-specific customization options, including over 25 separate configurable settings for texture quality, shaders, tessellation, anti-aliasing and more. It has the highest recommended system requirements in our game benchmark suite.

The strong multi-core architecture coupled with a 4.3Ghz boost speed makes for a good benchmark run in Grand Theft Auto V.

Metro: Last Light

“It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt a midst the poisoned skies above.”

Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At its highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.

Metro: Last Light shows good results with a framerate within a few FPS of over tests we’ve ran with similar hardware.

Tomb Raider

“Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.”

Tomb Raider was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. It features a modified version of the Crystal game engine and was the first game to integrate AMD’s TressFX 2.0, which adds hair, fur and grass physics.

Tomb Raider also shows zero bottlenecks and turns in a blistering 223FPS, within margin of error of other high end CPU’s.

Power Consumption & Overclocking

The Idle power draw of a system can vary quite a bit between system configurations depending on what is running, but our loaded draw of 222 Watts measured at the wall via a Kill-a-Watt meter shows a fairly mild power consumption, only a few watts above the 6700K and 7700K with half the cores. This is apparently a fairly efficient architecture compared to last generation that is also reflected with the 7900X and the 7740X.

Overclocking

Starting out at stock speeds, or the maximum default boost speed of our i7-7820X, we set out to see how far we can push the clock speeds.

Most serious overlocking enthusiasts do all of their overlocking from the BIOS, and that’s exactly where we head to push the I7-7820X to its breaking point. We adjusted the line load calibration to its stiffest setting to maintain CPU voltages under heavy overclocking loads, in this case ‘Level 1’ which rigidly maintains exactly the same voltage all the time. I started bumping up the multiplier and then the core voltage when it became unstable.

In the end, we managed 4.84Ghz fully stable across all cores. 103Mhz base clock into a 47X multiplier. This also kicked our 3200Mhz ram up to 3571Mhz.

Here are the CPUz screenshots. We ended up having to relax the memory timings just one notch for full stability, but that is the ram being pushed to the limits and not really any reflection of the CPU’s capabilities.

Running these speeds, Our Cinebench score jumped from 1738 to 2108. Not bad at all!

Disabling Cores

Shutting 2 cores down from the BIOS, we were able to push the remaining six cores to 4.94Ghz.

Dropping down to half of the active cores, we managed a hefty, 5.12GHz. Quite the increase from the stock 3.6Ghz. We dropped to 2 and even 1 core active, but were unable to get any significant increase in clock speed above this point.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Intel’s Core i7-7820X is a beast of a CPU, easily capable of plowing through gaming, transcoding, rendering and streaming all at the same time. Handily beating Intel’s own i7-5960X of last generation across the board, and for a far lower street price of $599.99, this might be a tough choice to beat.

I feel this is about the sweet spot for most power users, It has the cores and thread count to brute force its way through heavy computing or enthusiast level multi-tasking, but still has a low enough core count to run at a nimble 4.1-4.3Ghz most of the time thanks to Turbo Boost 3.0 without resorting to overclocking.

Easily able to overclock into the upper 4Ghz range, this puts it in single thread striking range of overclocked CPU’s like the 7700K with half the cores. Pair with high speed ram in a quad channel configuration, it decimates any dual channel CPU in any memory intensive task and provides enough bandwidth to keep all sixteen threads fed.

For a crazy amount of CPU power, and at an affordable price point while still supporting all of the latest technology, we have to award this our coveted Editor’s Choice award.

 

ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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