I'm gonna build a new computer and I want the pc to last at least 7 years. So, my question is what would be a better buy, a 4 core or 6 core?
So should I get a 1100T or wait for sandy bridge? Would the 6 core give a better performance in say 4 years when applications and games take full advantage of the full 6 core than say the sandy bridge quad core i5?
that's a good question... right now the sandy bridge will most likely be an overall more powerful option than the 6 core 1100T.. because not many apps today will utilize 6 cores, as you mentioned yourself, so the sandy bridge 4 core will outperform the 6 core 1100t when 4 or less cores are used...
7 years is a long time for a PC's life-span however (without major upgrades in between), so it would be hard to predict what the software landscape will be, let's say 4 years from now, when it comes to multi-threading optimizations, etc...
having said all that... i would recommend looking 3-4 years ahead (even though you might keep it for 7 years), for the reason that we don't know now how multi-threaded the average app will be that far in the future.. so you may as well "gamble" on the near future...
so unless you will be doing a lot of video rendering and such (in that case i'd go for the 6 core now) - i would recommend you go the intel i7 route...
I'll be using the PC for a little bit of everything with a little more leaning toward gaming. I'll most likely upgrade the graphic card in around 3-4 years, so I don't want the CPU to be bottle necking it.
for an all-around PC leaning towards gaming, as well as a CPU that won't be bottle-necked from a powerful graphics setup in the future... then the Intel sandy bridge for both reasons for sure... or even the current core i7-950... make sure that you get a good quality motherboard (asus or gigabyte for example) that also has USB3 + SATA3 as well, for future proofing...
-The CPU is less powerful than a $45 CPU today
-The video card upgrade is limited by the interface. Since it only supports PCI and AGP, we'd have to upgrade to a radeon 4670 for AGP
-Even a 4670 would be CPU limited by that 3200+
-The fastest processor released for this socket was the 3700+, a single core at 2.4GHz. Still slower than the newer $45 processors.
So based on this, more than likely in the future:
-Your CPU will be the limiting factor in games for any video card over $100 released 3-4 years from now, regardless of which you choose.
-Relatively speaking, looking back, there will be virtually no performance difference between the two CPUs you are looking at.
-in the next 7 years, a new expansion slot will likely be developed for video cards. Then again, we do seem to be on a good roll with PCI-e 1.0>>2.0>>3.0 etc.
Just make sure you are aware that within the next 7 years, your ability to keep up without changing the motherboard will net you a very low end computer by 2017. That said, a radeon 4670 and Athlon 3700+ could probably play a number of modern games with lowered settings. The CPU would be the limiting factor though, which is why I didn't say anything about playing at a lower resolution. And you definitely couldn't play anything like DAO or GTA4, no matter what you did. And also, you never know what the future may hold. This prediction is based on past history.
Anyway, I recommend neither CPU. Instead, get a Phenom IIx6 1055t for $180-200. You get 6 cores to keep for the next 7 years and when you get to that 7 year point, you will look at your CPU and think, "I'm glad I saved that $100 because compared to today and the needs for today, there is no difference in performance between the 1100t and the 1055t".
If you overclock, this will be the case for today since the overclock potential is usually the same.
If you have no real price limit and are a bit of a gambler as to the patterns programmers will start to follow, then instead consider either a pair of opteron 12 cores or a pair of intel 6 cores. (your choice depends on how much you are willing to gamble that the near future is seriously multicore.