All I want out of my machine is gaming performace and longevity. An i3 3220 would give me the performance for now, but will it go the distance? Should I plump for an i5, I really want best bang for my buck in the longterm.
If I plump for an i5 will the extra cores give me the extra moneysworth in the longterm, or will it be equaly as outdated as an i3 in ....3 years lets say.
Considering how CPU progress has been largely stagnant for most of the past five years, I would expect whatever you buy to be roughly as adequate in ~3 years as it is today except for software that tries pushing CPUs harder.
Going from i3-3220 to i5-3470 would give you about 70% more processing power for ~50% more cost so the bang-per-buck for this "insurance policy" is fairly good. Going for the 3570k and a 20% overclock would give you close to 100% more performance but 120% the cost once you account for the additional cost of going from h77 to z77 motherboard, not quite as cost-effective.
If software CPU requirements increase by ~10%/year (this is how fast desktop x86 CPUs have been progressing for the past six years), the i5 should last you 3-4 years longer than the i3. The 3570k route may add another 1-2 years more but by this point, you may already be contemplating a whole-platform upgrade due to PCIe 4.0, SATA4, DDR4, etc.
If you can afford it I would recommend getting the 3570k over the 3220 in my opinion , I highly doubt anything in the next 3 years will come out game wise that will bog down a good modern processor such as the 3570k in addition you can always overclock it later down the road if needed.
You make a persuasive argument invalidError. I was already going for a z77 anyway since the price difference was so little with the features I wanted. Cheers, now how to I choose a best answer and close this?