My rig is as follows:
AMD 435 X3 running at 2.9ghz (revision BL-C2)
Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H rev 1.1
4gb patriot OC ram 800mhz
9600gt OC edition
old 500gb 7200rpm westen digital HD that came with my last retail computer
550W antec BP550 plus
I am in college for computer programming and a do a fair amount of gaming on my computer. Would I see that big of performance increase from switching to the 555 BE, plus I would be buying the hyper 212 to go along with it for overclocking. My max overclock on my current chip is a whopping 3.2ghz, unstable no matter what I do after that point. Also if it is worth the upgrade, should I get it from newegg or amazon, it seems they are different model numbers and I don't know if it's worth the risk not getting a C3 from amazon.
I'm guessing that you could get a higher overclock with a better cooler. If you're only getting 3.2Ghz your either using the stock cooler or you may just have a bit of a lame chip ^_^. The Athlon II X3 would be a little faster in games and apps that make use of 3 or more threads, but would be slower in those coded less efficiently that only make use of 2.
Anyway, getting the X3 doesn't make sense for you. If you want to upgrade your CPU hold off for Bulldozer next year. In the mean time a better CPU cooler should help you get a higher clock speed and more performance to tide you over. Just make sure you keep it stable if you need it for school stuff ^_^