When are the long awaited 8-core processors from AMD and Intel going to be commercially available? Will they use current sockets and chipsets or require new ones?
What kind of applications would fully make use of an 8-core 16-thread processor? Certainly there aren't any PC games that would need or use so much CPU resources. Do I really need this much CPU power if I'm just playing games, viewing photos, and browsing the internet?
I can't remember, but does the Ivy Bridge use Intel socket 2011 or 1155?
The newer generations of CPU's appear to be focused more towards energy efficiency and cooling rather than sheer performance.
The newer generation of CPU's are not only focusing more on energy efficiency, but performance per watt
Currently, Ivy Bridge is only available on LGA 1155. That will soon change with Ivy Bridge-E on socket 2011.
There are 8 'core' offerings from AMD at the moment. They are the FX-8150 and FX-8120; AMD will soon release two more offerings with the new Piledriver architecture later this month - AMD FX-8350 and AMD FX-8320.
There are also 8-core offerings from Intel as well, however, you will have to spend large amounts of $$$ to purchase Xeons.
And last, no, there is no way in heck you will need an 8 core CPU to do the tasks you listed. Right now, a Quad-Core (without Hyperthreading) is MORE than enough for the tasks you listed. Heck, even an i3 (Dual core, Hyperthreading) is considered enough for gaming!
AMD has 4-module bulldozer chips out now which are marketed as 8-core, but get beaten by an i7 (4c, 8t). You don't need more than an i5 for gaming (i3 ok if on tight budget), photo viewing and web browsing will run on a Celeron.
IB is on LGA1155. LGA2011 is used for Sandy Bridge-E (up to 6c, 12t).