I'm wondering whether I should get an i5 3550 or an i5 3570k. The difference is $10 but I would need to buy a Z77 board if I did get the 3570K. I just want to know if the overclocking something as awesome as an Ivy Bridge i5 really makes a difference or not? I'm kind of scared of overclocking too but their are guides to help me. Will I even need to overclock?
I would say at this point in time there is no real need to overclock an i5 3xxx for gaming. But as time goes by, and more demanding games come out, you always have the potential to make it run faster with overclocking. So yes overclocking an i5 3570k does help, but right now with current games, you probably wont notice the difference because they will all run fine on stock cpu settings. But remember, its as important, if not more important, to have a good GPU for gaming.
agreed that is not necessary to OC, however I always find and hardware enthusiasts try to squeeze as much real world performance as possible out of their hardware. If you like tweaking, get the 'K' model
The idea of the K unlocked processor is so you can overclock.
Think of it this way:
Every year new CPU's come out, your CPU is going to start to get slower and slower. By overclocking you can match or even sometimes surpass those newer processors in terms of performance.