I'm planning to buy a new desktop and, not being particularly hardware-savvy, am just going to opt for a pre-built system. I have narrowed it down to three choices which are roughly equivalent, with the CPU being the main difference:
The X4 option is the cheapest, with the Q8300 being +£30 and the i3 adding a further £50 onto this. What would you recommend? I won't be using it for anything hugely intensive, but would like things to be fairly snappy so don't mind the extra cost if it's worth it.
maybe your prices are diff, because the Q8300 is actually more than the i3, however if i was in your situation i will get the Q8300 as its the strongest one out of them and will do your tasks just fine!
but there is no upgrade path for the lga 775 (this is the motherboard for the Q8300), so if you want to upgrade your system after sometime you will be stuck and will need to get a new mobo.
whats your budget and what tasks do you want to run on your computer? i'll try to get you the best performance for the buck.
Out of the three you listed, probably the i3 530. It utilizes hyperthreading technology which would in essence perform equally ( virtually 4 threads ) to the quad cores you listed, with the advantage of L3 cache.
As one previous poster had mentioned, the 1156 platform that the i3 uses, would have better forward compatibility than the Q8300.
It has a higher clock speed than the X4, as well as the 32nm architecture, as compared to the 45nm of the X4.
Close race, but the nod goes to the i3 in this instance.
My shout goes to the X4. You mentioned you're not doing anything particularly intensive and wanted something snappy so the X4 should blitz anything you can throw at it. It's a very fast processor for the price. I currently have it installed in my system and have been very impressed with its performance. It's a true quad core unlike the i3 and I think with the growing trend of software companies to produce programs that can fully utilise multi-core processors its hard to recommend a dual-core CPU with or without Hyperthreading. Personally, I feel the X4 will give you that little bit more for the future particularly if it has DDR3 memory. Plus both components can probably be upgraded in the future if needs be. Good luck with whichever you choose
Thanks to all for the very helpful replies! Although it'd be even more helpful if you would all have given the exact same answer.
nocteratus - strangely, the Q8300 is listed as having DDR3 memory, that is one thing I had read to check for.
Raidur - I realise that I could quite comfortably get by with a cheaper computer - the fact that I've lived from a netbook for the past month pretty much proves that. That said, I don't mind spending a little bit extra to get a good system as long as I feel it is worth it - I suppose I'm trying to get an understanding of what tangible difference if any I'd notice between the various options. From the feedback I've had the answer to that seems to be "not much", so the cheapest option is probably the way to go. I'm not much of a hardware guy though (hence why I'm looking for guidance on here) and don't have a full understanding of what the CPU impacts, so if you think even the X4 option is complete overkill for me I'm happily open to persuasion.
moody89 - thanks for the useful feedback and particularly the kind wishes