Looking for CPU recommendations on intel i5 vs. i7 vs i7 qm level procs w/ data

Hello,

I work very often with data-intensive applications such as very large data sets in Access, Excel, SPSS, JMP, ESRI GIS ARCmap mapping software, and similar. I currently have a core 2 duo @ 2.2 GHZ, and that is not adequate for my needs, with processes taking 3-5 minutes in SPSS and ArcMap for anything moderately complex. Not too heavy graphics usage, but no matter what I'll be going for a decent dedicated graphics card.

I don't know if these types of applications benefit from multi-cores or if the top speed of individual or dual cores will dictate performance, so I don't know if I should get an i5 with the best speed or a lower end i7, or even an i7qm with turbo boost for dynamic proc allocation.
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More about looking recommendations intel level procs data
  1. look into the phenom x6 as well
  2. AMD procs aren't an option on the machines approved by my workplace.
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