Don't get me wrong, I love my E5200 @ 3.6ghz, but I think the ship has sailed for the E5200 as the champion of price/performance. I think with the Phenom II 710x3 with mobo being about the same price as the E5200 with quality mobo (needed to get the high OC that made it the champ) its hard to say that a dual core 2mb L2 system is worth it. Look at the recent Prototype review and how the extra core scaled. More and more games are going to be written to take advantage of the extra cores and put more demands on the L2 than 2mb can handle. I have my doubts my E5200 will still be able to perform adaquately compared to a tri core with loads more cache after a year or two. The egg has the 710 for $99.00 right now. WOW is all I have to say.
I think this can be a great respectful debate. Looking forward to it.
I guess I made a large assupmtion on context. For building a machine that one is trying to get the most bang for the buck, I'd still go for a 710.
The question I'd ask then for you're $70 price point, are you OC the CPU? If yes, the E5200 is a solid choice, but if not, anandtech bench has the E5200 trading blows with the X2 7850, but the AMD has a solid lead in games. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=66&p2=90
So for profit margin, what mobo would you choose for each and what is you're target market? The numbers are close enough to have to ask the question of the 7850 is worth it. It does have 1 more meg of cache.
Hmmm, I see what you are saying but for the price, the e5200 setup is clearly the winner. Also, isn't their a new stepping for the e5200? I think you are unaware that the e5200 is known to reach 4.0 ghz easily with a ~$50 mobo. I am not sure of the capabilities with the new stepping.
Also, when you are ready, the e8600 is always an upgrade in the future which is known to do 3.7 ghz with no voltage change and up to 5.0 ghz+ with a good chip. I7 is a new platform and personally too expensive than most people want to pay for, especially when the e8600 takes the top in a few places, let alone while overclocked. The 6mb of L2 cache I agree is slowly showing it's limits, but for gaming, that is different. The only people that need more cache or more cores then two at the moment are serious professional developers. Again, for the price. For those people who want to spend a few hundred dollars more for that ONE game that MIGHT benefit just a tadbit on stock settings, that's their decision. Personally, I'd opt for a quad graphics setup for a lesser price and better overall performance.
Don't listen to the quad haters who are still waiting for their multi core apps since the beginning of time, I7 is laughing at those people. I can show you threads since 2005 of people saying the same thing. Funny thing is, only a few use professional apps.
You compared stock speeds of cpus? That's a joke right? No really...
To answer the original post question. As a whole platform price ratio, it actually doesn't.
If your not gaming, using a professional, or anything too graphic intensive, there is no need for the best graphics. Just get the best that fits the budget.
EDIT : 3.6 ghz on a p5q platform? I accidently and uncontrollably spit my drink out reading that. My $50 asus g31 mobo can almost reach those speeds and it doesn't even have voltage control.
"What is the purpose of these PC's?
For normal web browsing and office work, you will probably get better performance with a good hard drive like the WD caviar black. The bigger, the better."
A bigger drive lessens access times. A smaller and faster drive is a better option. You need that much space on a hd for office use and internet browsing? Hmmm...
Using only the fastest, outermost cylinders of a large drive is actually faster. Because those cylinders are denser, they transfer more data per revolution, and therefore transfer data faster. Also, because they are denser, it takes a smaller arm movement to find the proper track. Yes, it is somewhat of a waste to "short stroke" like this, but if you only need 50 or 100 gb, it is very fast.