Used to be amazing, is now merely good.

foofer1233
Posted · Updated · 354 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: Fast, extremely overclockable, 6 cores means it's still relevant today

Cons: Now that Ryzen is out it's a bad value proposition, not to mention that it's on a dead platform. Also, it runs pretty hot when overclocked.

Ah, where to begin? Back in 2014 when this CPU was announced, it was a killer. Quad-channel DDR4 (the first CPU lineup to support DDR4 might I add), 6 cores for the then-mere price of ~$450, and overclockability with the only downside being a lack of PCIe lanes compared to its bigger brother? Sign me up! Who cares about PCIe lanes anyway, all you need is a GPU and maybe an add-in card, right?

Three years later, things have changed a bit. Most importantly, AMD's Ryzen came out which means that I can have an unlocked 6 core, 12 thread CPU that matches/outperforms this CPU in most tasks for only ~$230. Granted, Ryzen tends to top out @4 GHz in this iteration whereas I've taken my 5820K to 4.4GHz with relatively no sweat (1.29v which I'm told is kind of mediocre silicon lottery but still acceptable), but I find that benchmark-wise the R5 1600X @4GHz vs my 5820K @4.4GHz tends to be about dead even with the Ryzen even winning sometimes (possibly due to AMD's superior implementation of multithreading.)

But another tradeoff is the PCIe lanes, the only reason you'd pick this CPU over a Ryzen in 2017. Whereas mainstream Ryzen only has 20 (as far as I remember), this CPU has 28. Not much difference, and if you want the full complement of 44 lanes you'll have to buy the 5930K (which is around $500 at the moment I believe.) Sounds fine? Well, no, because for that same price you can now get an AMD Threadripper 8-core 16-thread processor with a whopping 64 (!!!) lanes of PCIe bandwidth, not to mention the benefit of being on a platform that is, as I mentioned in the cons section, not dead like X99.

All the same, I'm not pissed off because I only paid $290 for this CPU and got to have it about 6 months before Ryzen came out. Having it at 4.4GHz (with some room to spare, might I add) gives me some bragging rights over the 4GHz that the R5x and R7x series can attain, and it's still nice to be on an HEDT platform as it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside not to mention that I get quad-channel RAM allowing me to have up to 128GB of it (I think; not that I'll ever install that) and ample PCIe lanes and space for expansion cards. My motherboard is quite nice (AsRock Extreme4), I didn't pay too much for it, and I do gain the benefit of having the X99 platform which has fully matured. That said, though, I would never recommend a 5820K over an R5 1600(X) in the present day.

And if you're thinking about going on the brand-new X299 platform with the new HEDT Core i5 (lol) i7 and i9 CPUs? You can forget about it, unless you like being thermally limited by toothpaste under your IHS because Intel was too cheap to pay for Indium on $1000+ CPUs and enjoy brownouts due to the whopping ~250w (up to 364w before a motherboard shutdown in Prime95 according to TomsHardware) that the i9-7900X pulls, then be my guest. But obviously, I recommend strongly against that. Having HEDT problems? Look no further than to AMD's TR4 socket and X399 platform which brings 16 cores and 32 threads at 4GHz for less power than Intel's new 10-core pulls while overclocked, whilst grinding the 7900X's face into the dust in literally every benchmark. EVERY ONE. But then, how can a 10-core compete against a 16-core? I should add that they both cost $1000, by the way.

So now that all the shilling is over, here's what should be your takeaway: is the i7-5820K a good CPU? Yes, it is. But is it worth buying in the present day? No, no it is not, unless you get a really special deal that makes the platform cost less than Ryzen in which case, jump on the deal but know that you're going to want a good cooler to tame this beast as it will get quite hot if you want to push it above 4GHz.

4 Comments:

As an owner of this CPU and an 1800x I just have to say that the grass isn't greener on the Ryzen side. Everything is slower on Ryzen except for only less then a handful of multithreaded applications.
Hell, on unigine valley in 1080p with a 1080ti there is a 100fps difference on the max. Both CPUs overclocked to the hilt.
Huh, really? I know for gaming that the average framerates on the Ryzen side are lower but doesn't the 1800X make up for the difference in productivity apps? Also, what frequencies is your 1800X/5820K running at?
my 1800x is running at 3950mhz with an ASrock X370 Killer SLI/ac 16gb ram at 2400

my 5820k is running at 4.6ghz core 4.3ghz cache on an ASrock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 with 32gb ram at 2800

i got the ryzen at launch just in order to benchmark it pretty much, never had a plan to upgrade anything. i did bench it, i even replaced my main rig with it for a bit but just ended up going back to my trusty 5820k (which i only got like a couple months before ryzen came out). even though i do rendering and video work, the ryzen never felt faster where it mattered. whenever i wanted to game i felt bottlenecked, considering i use a 1080p monitor with 144hz. truthfully the gap closes when gaming at higher resolutions but there is still something "beta" feeling about the zen platform as a whole still.
oh sorry, the ryzen ram is at 2666 not 2400, i had to check