Do I need an i7?

I've been researching various mobile hardware specs and such, but can't come to a concrete solution. Basically I've given myself a strict $1100 USD spending limit for a new laptop which will be a desktop replacement. I am not a PC gamer, so I definitly don't need top of the line everything, nor do I need some hideous looking gaming laptop... The most important requirement is that I am able to output 1080p mkv's to my TV while browsing the web and maybe have 1 or 2 more lightweight programs open. My current laptop struggles with some 1080p mkv's and thats with only 1 screen (the TV) and no other programs open. Other than that I like to play with VM's but not multitask with them and try out emulators such as the GC/Wii one. I think the video multitasking that will put the most pressure on the system.

It essentially comes down to an i7 with DDR3 ram or a core 2 duo with DDR2. Chip wise it would probably be a T6600 at 2.20 Ghz or the 720QM @ 1.60 Ghz. Both with have 4GB or RAM, but of course, the core 2 will have DDR2-800 and the i7 DDR3-1066.

I can snag an i7 for $999, but this is at the far end of my budget. Will I see performance gains with the i7 and DDR3 RAM that will make maxing my budget worthwhile or would it make sense to save money with a core 2 setup?

I'm inclined to go toward the i7 since I won't be replacing this computer for a while. Next will be a dedicated HTPC and a server/NAS setup.
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More about tomshardware
  1. The i7 will serve your VM needs. Other than that, you really wouldn't need much more than a higher-clocked dual.

    A T6600 should be able to pump out 1080 video, but it might hiccup every now and then, depending on the bitrate and the software you use. The i7 should be flawless.
  2. The more I think about getting the i7 the more I want it, lol. While it would be nice to save a few hundred, I'm sure the extra processing power of the chip will allow me to play with stuff like the ps2 and Wii emulators. I'm sure the 4GB of RAM will suit me. I don't use Adobe products and don't multitask too much. If I'm running a VM I wouldn't be doing much on the base machine at the same time.
  3. Here are some charts to see the performance advantages between processors.,1398.html
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