I've been saving up for an FX 8350, but I now have a enough for a PII 965 BE and decent heatsink so I would OC it to 4.0GHz, which I think matches the i5 2500k at stock. My current CPU is an FX 4100 overclocked to 4.2GHz making it technically a 4170. How much better do you think a Phenom II 965 BE would be than my FX 4100 in not only games but other applications as well? I could also get a 1045t and overclock it to a decent speed as well if that would be better.
A phenom II x4 at 4.0 ghz is a hair under 20% faster than the 4170 at 4.2 ghz. The x6 1045 would be faster in applications and slower in games, depending upon the clock speed. But remember the 1045 is not unlocked.
Both the FX 6300 and FX 4300 aren't enough of an upgrade from my 4100 as it is. I don't do anything that would require more than a quad core CPU. The FX 4300, FX 4170 and Phenom II 965 BE perform similarly at stock clocks but Deneb has a much higher performance per clock, and when all 3 are at about 4GHz the Phenom II is gonna be the winner. But whether or not the upgrade to the 965 BE is worth the price is my biggest concern. I won't be getting a new CPU until 2015 if I go with the Phenom II 965 BE. Even at 300MHz lower the Phenom II 980 BE (basically 965 BE @3.7 GHz) is almost at par with the FX 8350 in terms of per core performance and is $100 cheaper. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/362?vs=697