I'm looking at 2 processors as an upgrade route. These are both from Microcenter, so no i5 2500.
i5 2400 - $150
i7 2600 - $250
I'm not overclocking. I will be doing a lot of gaming and I will always be using FRAPS to record my games and I do have a second 1TB Spinpoint F3 as the storage drive for FRAPS. With the recordings, I make a lot of videos for YouTube with Sony Vegas and I'm looking into Adobe After Effects. I also do the basic internet browsing as well as some Photoshopping.
Will the i7 be worth the $100?
Also, will these processors be worth the upgrade from a Phenom II x4 965?
I also have no idea which chipset I should go for, if I do upgrade. I'm looking at the P67 because I really don't need the features of Z68, and if I do end up buying an SSD, it will be bigger than 64GB.
Is there any performance differences in games with either chipset?
I'm looking for a motherboard under $150 not including rebates. So far I have found:
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 - $150
Asus P8P67 (Rev 3.1) - $160
No. If you're not overclocking, then the stock performance isn't worth $100 extra, but some folks will disagree. Run that with a 4x4 gb kit of 1600 gskill or corsair ddr3. I like the ripjaws series from gskill. Either one of those boards will work fine. But if you plan on getting the 2600 anyway, pay the extra for the "k" version. You may find it overclocks so stable that you prefer it.
The i5-2500 would be ideal, but since Microcenter doesn't have it......
Paying an extra $100 for the i7-2600 is not worth it if you are just playing games. The i7-2600 is 100MHz faster than the i5-2500 and has Hyper Threading. Games do not make use of Hyper Threading, so if you think paying $1 for each extra 1MHz is worth it to you, then go for it.
I would only buy a P67 motherboard over a H67 motherboard if the P67 mobo has certain features you are looking for that are not on the H67 mobo. The single best thing about a P67 mobo is the ability to overclock the CPU. Since you are not gonna be overclocking then....