I've been looking into building a new system for primarily playing Blizzard games (COD - Ghosts,WoW, SC2, Diablo 3, and some Skyrim occasionally), along with a little bit of light Photo Shop usage. I want to be able to run these games on max settings on a 16-18 inch monitor (so 1366x756res). I understand Blizzard games (WoW cod at least) typically are more CPU based than GPU, so I wanted to get an idea of which Intel CPU would give me the most bang for my buck when it comes to running these games.
Would it be mostly a waste of money for me to go with the more expensive i5 2430m? I've recently started to look at the i3 3110m, and it seems that it would be more than sufficient to run these games.
The main question I guess: Would an i3 3110m paired with a amd 7670m ddr3 graphics card be the best bang for the buck? Or would it be more worth it to spend that extra $ on the i5 with AMD7470m ddr5? Do any WoW and cod players out there notice much of a difference between the i3 and the i5 for playing blizzard based games?
I have extensive knowledge with Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 (I am currently platin league, but ended almost all previous seasons diamond or master), so I may be able to add some info here.
These Blizzard games scale poorly with the number of CPU cores. This makes Intel a better choice than AMD, because Intel's single-core-performance is much stronger (but you are on the Intel track already, so no problem here). SC2 can use a maximum of two cores, and the Core i3 has two cores (plus emulating 2 additional ones by means of hyperthreading), with the Core i5 having 4 cores, from which 2 will stay idle in SC2. For that reason, CPU performance in SC2 should be identical comparing Core i3 and Core i5 with same clock speed, except that the i5 also has a larger cache. Remembering hwo well this game ran even on my old Phenom 2 X2 565, I can assure you with 100% certainty that this game will run flawlessly on a Core i3. Same goes for Diablo 3.
As for the graphics card, I own a Radeon HD 7770, which is a middle-class card of the previous card generation. I had to make some details compromises while using the Phenom 2, but with the very same card can run everything at ultra in SC2, so you can achieve optimal graphical performance with a Radeon R7 250 graphics card whose price is less than $100. This card will also do nicely in Diablo 3. Of course you can opt to get a better card for other games if you have the money to spend, but for Sc2 and D3 I can assure you will not need it and notice no difference other than in your purse.
Are you going to buy a laptop? You never explicitly said so, but the CPUs you compared were laptop ones. I could not imagine playing Sc2 on a laptop, but so everyone has his preferences. It is an important detail though, so make sure you point it out.