so i stumbled across this interesting CPU http://ark.intel.com/products/52271 the Xeon E3-1230. Its priced a slight bit more than the i5 2500k but has hyperthreading and more cache. http://www.servethehome.com/intel-xeon-e31230-sandy-bri... < heres some benches. I wont likely be buying one but was just curious as it may be good for people wanting near i7 2600 speeds with a lower price. The intel website also states it has 2 PCI Express ports. Does this mean it can potentially do dual 16x pcie speeds without the need for an nf200 chip? I know some people will probably say, bah thats old news, but i've never seen an article about it till i stumbled across it.
I am running a new build with the E3-1230. I specifically chose it because I was building a database server, did not need/want the integrated graphics, and at 80W was lower power (built in a 150W mini-ITX case) than the i7. I am extremely happy with this CPU and the performance (Windows 2000 Advanced Server shows 8 CPUs).
If choosing this chip, the lack of integrated graphics should be considered as you either need to run it with a PCIE graphics card (I used a cheap low-end PNY GeForce 8400GS) or a motherboard which provides on-board graphics not requiring the chip to have the integrated graphics. For this chip, that's actually pretty difficult to come by - you need to use one of the more expensive server motherboards out there and almost all require use of more expensive ECC memory.
The chip will work with motherboards compatible with the i7 2x00k's (though not advertised). I am personally running mine on a ASRock H67M-ITX, with regular DDR3 non-ECC RAM and though the board is not spec'd for the chip, it is running just fine. My personal belief is that this is essentially the i7-2600k (but @ 3.2 GHz) with the integrated graphics disabled.
I am running with CPU ratio of 36, the motherboard shows it at 3.6 GHz and CPU benchmark numbers are a bit (though not enormously) higher.