this is my new low budget workbench i'm building for video editing and rendering to replace my x4 965 and gtx 460. i do some light gaming in skyrim and some battlefield 3 but mostly my skyrim addiction
is the xeon better or equal to the i7 because saving this money to put towards a larger gfx card like a gtx 660 or 7870 would be huge for me. i will be using it on a asrock z77 with 16gb of 1600mhz ram.
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Since you're doing quite a bit of rendering, I feel like you would be better off with the i7 3770.
I'd also suggest the i7-3770. But get the " K " editon so the 3770K which means you can overclock your cpu. Also the reason you should get that over the Xeon , is that i7's a normally better rounded and it has a higher clock speed.
Higher base clock speed, hyperthreading, 8 threads, and also support for DDR3-1600 as the Xeon only supports up to 1333. If you can, get the i7-3770K.
i7 3770k is more ideal, also more overclock friendly incase you want the most out of your machine =). 2600k is still good too, performs on par with 3770k. Overclocks higher as well.