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How do first gen i7 processors stack up?

My sister had bought herself a Macbook Pro last year and used her student loan to get herself a real beast of a computer. Actually... wait, it may have been 2 years ago... Whenever they were selling the first-gen i7s, that's when she bought it. She only does relatively simple stuff on Adobe programs (she's studying in animation), but she figured she wanted something that will stay useful for years to come. I don't remember which one it was exactly, but I think it had 6-cores (though I could be wrong about that). And I know it cost her a pretty-penny.

What I'm wondering is, will it really stay capable for years to come? We're already on the 2nd generation of i7s, and Ivy Bridge is just around the corner. How would a high-end first gen i7 processor stack up to the 2nd gen i-series? And how fast will it become outdated?

I myself am building a computer now (I'm going desktop, I don't need a laptop). And I figure I'll probably go for a 2nd gen i5, I do plan on gaming, but I don't need any overclocking (I doubt I'll even get that twin-graphics-card set up, SLI/Crossfire). But yeah, I'm curious. How would 2nd i5 stack up to a 1st i7? Generally speaking of course, I know that an exact comparison would require too many variables than I can name right now.
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  1. Ivy bridge will come out in a few months. You can google for some info. If she offers to sell you the laptop for a song, then I'd take it. It's still plenty fast.
  2. No no, she doesn't want to replace it, lol, she uses that thing all the time. I just don't want her to get depressed when she sees the plethora of new CPUs come out this year, I want to know if I can genuinely say "Oh don't worry, your i7 is still fantastic" without it being a lie. I want to be able to tell her that she made a good investment.
  3. Best answer
    the 1st gen i7 is still very capable

    just upgraded from an i7-920 to sandybridge 2600k

    my i7-920 was overclocked to 4.2ghz and when i run my 2600k overclocked to the same speed the actual

    difference isnt that great

    but most 2500k and 2600k are good for 4.5ghz with a decent cooler and i can get to 5ghz on mine

    so would be a shame to go sandybridge and not overclock

    but to answer your question i would say set at the same speed i would roughly say the sandybridge is about

    15% faster
  4. still more power than 90% of programs need, and more than most people need, so its still good.
  5. mcnumpty23 said:
    so would be a shame to go sandybridge and not overclock

    Yeah, so I keep being told. But I'll be upgrading from an old AMD Athlon II X2 220, a simple little dual-core. Even at stock clock speed I think an i3 will be more than satisfactory. The only thing I could do that might tax it is to try and game at 1080p, and I think that's more of a graphics card bottleneck, so I should save my money for that.

    Though even there I don't plan on playing Crysis or Battlefield 3. I like simple games like Starcraft, Portal, Bioshock, Mass effect, and all their accompanying sequals. I also plan on getting Diablo III when it comes out. Even at high graphics, none of these should require an exceedingly powerful GPU.

    Oh and, thanks for answering my initial question, you've reassured me.
  6. Best answer selected by PTNLemay.
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