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When I first reviewed Intel’s Core i7-2600K and Core i5-2500K processors, I didn’t really consider the higher-end chip a solid value. After all, it offered a slightly higher clock, slightly more shared L3 cache, and Hyper-Threading.
However, compared to the Core i7-3960X, which is 212% more expensive, and only able to offer an average 17% performance improvement, the -2600K looks like a real winner. Don’t forget that you need a more expensive motherboard, more expensive memory kit, and an air or water cooler on top of the -3960X’s cost, as well.
The Core i5-2500K is the chip I’ve been recommending for almost a year now to anyone focused on getting the most performance per dollar with plenty of headroom to overclock.
Impressively, Core i7-3960X delivers a 28% average performance improvement over the i5-2500K—but at a 358% higher price (not including the pricier platform to go with it).