I'm currently running a Q6600 on a 790i Ultra and feel that this setup has met all of my needs thus far. I am making a slight upgrade w/ram - going to 2x4GB of Corsair's. Unfortunately I bought the ram before finding out that this motherboard has issues running 4gb sticks. From the sounds of it, they probably won't work with my board. With that said I'm going to seriously consider going with an i5 and corresponding motherboard.
Ideally, I would just get another 775 board, but of course, no good ones are on the market anymore, forcing everyone to upgrade to the next series, when most games haven't even caught up to the previous gen hardware yet. I won't get on that soapbox though.
Anyway, if I do upgrade to the i5, which direction should I go? Is the Sandy bridge worth the extra money? It seems to me that the best bang for the buck is the 2300. I'm not looking for 4Ghz+ clocks, anything within the 3.3-4 (non K) should do me just fine. If the 2300 can accomplish that, is there anything else that I lose vs the 2500?
Red Orchestra 2
Supreme Ruler Cold War
Other than that, just basic use w/some minor video editing and converting.
The answer to the question should you upgrade to the 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors? Yes there is no reason to stay with the older processors as the 2nd generations Intel Core processors are yielding about 10% to 15% additional performance over the 1st generation Intel Core processors at the same speed. The 1st generation Intel Core processors yielded a performance increase of about 15% over the Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Core 2 Quad processors. So there is a real step up going to the 2nd generation Intel Core processors. Also another point in selected the 2nd generation Intel Core processors is that you are not going to be tied down to the old technology in the 1156 or 775 socket processors.
Now which processor is going to fit your needs the best? That really comes down to your budget and the performance that you need from your system. The single best gaming processor on the market today is the Intel Core i5-2500K for a number of reasons. The Intel Core i5-2500K gives you top of the line performance for games and does so for around $100 less than the Intel Core i7-2600K. Also since the Intel Core i5-2500K does have an unlocked multiplier it is very easy to overclock and get great performance out of it. It is not unheard of to reach 4.5GHz or above. So the Intel Core i5-2500K one of the best processors in both performance and value vs. performance on the market today.
Now one thing you need to be careful with on these 2nd generation Intel Core processor is that they need memory that is running at 1.5v ±5%. If you are using memory that is running at 1.65v or above you can damage the processor and void your warranty.
Thank you Christian for the excellent answer. The new memory that I have on the way runs at 1.5v, so I should be good there, and thanks for pointing that out. My budget for the chip, I'm trying to get something for around or under $200.
I guess my main thing is that I don't necessarily want the best specs out there, I just want what's best for me. So say for instance that the 2300 (or 2400) offers enough performance over the Q6600 to warrant the upgrade, along with being capable of running the games I mentioned above, then I'm happy and would rather save the money. If that's not the case then I'd certainly go 2500k.
After some searching, I can get the 2500 SB for $195 at newegg. So that seems pretty solid, but if I understand correctly, you can't OC these at all? So, would 3.7 at turbo suffice? Right now I'm running 3.0 on my Q6600.