My friend is about to buy a new pc and I'm a little bit unsure onto what to recommend as a final build. (Also I haven't been given the final maximum budget so I still have to adjust as I go).
Some of the details of what my friend would be doing with his pc: - Mostly gaming, any production work would probably be an after-thought or spur of the moment thing. - Most likely no X-Fire or SLi as it wouldn't be worth it unless you're getting the top-end.
For the 1156, I'm thinking either of the i3-530 or i5-750 For the AM3, it's a mix-up between the Athlon II X4 620 or Phenom II X3 720 BE, or (for the higher end) the PII 955.
This is more of a "which platform" rather than which processor question, as my friend would probably upgrade 2~4 years later down the road.
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Without a stated budget, it is hard to truly recommend a platform to build off. If you are looking for a breakdown of the better platforms to build off of, here is my breakdown...
Current Best: Socket 1366 Socket 1156 AM3
Best Upgradable: Socket 1366 - Hex Cores later this month AM3 - Hex Cores later this Spring (believe the current release date) Socket 1156 - No plan to upgrade to higher cores, currently.
Based on what you have listed for your friend, I would go with an AM3 build. It is cheaper of the platforms and will allow you to increase your GPU power, which is good for gaming. AM3 & Intel are pretty close in gaming benchmarks but Intel pulls ahead nicely in Applications, which isn't a current priority of your friend.