I dont plan to overclock but was thinking of upgradin my stock hsf for my brandnew cpu and was wondering if this would help in, say, making my cpu last longer? What are the direct benefits of upgrading the hsf for a non-overclocker. Thanks!
It would make the CPU run cooler, and sometimes quieter.
I really don't see a need for an aftermaket HSF for stock unless you live somewhere really hot, the CPU is going to last long enough to the point that the lower temps from the new HSF would be negligible for extending the life.
An aftermarket heatsink might be a little quieter, but if you arent planning to OC and the stock heatsink is keeping it cool enough there are no significant benefits to upgrading the heatsink. You CPU will probably last 7-10 years with the stock heatsink on it, its unlikely that you will still be using it when it dies so while an aftermarket one might add some life onto the CPU, its not going to make a difference because it will be outdated long before it dies either way.
For the price of a X4 945 and a quality CPU cooler (about $40) you could get the X4 965 which will perform better for a non-overclocker.
For performance/cost the X965 and stock cooler is a much better value if you're not overclocking.
I wouldn't worry about extending the life of your cpu, at stock speeds running 24/7 it'll probably still last 10+ yrs, other components in the computer would die first. Not only that, but you'll want to upgrade long before it dies because it is going to be extremely slow. lol