If you are looking for good performance from an Intel system without the cost of going with a Core i7, you might want to consider the dual core E8400.  It is a 45nm 3.0GHz processor with a 1333 FSB and 6MB of L2 cache and 65W TDP.  It has troubles keeping up with the Core i7 920 and the AMD Phenom II X4 955, but you also have to consider it is $100 less than the AMD processor and half the price of the i7 920.  PC Stats ran it through it’s paces, so you can see the performance difference and decide if the scores indicate a processor good enough for your usage.

“The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, a 3.0GHz dual-core processor based on the ‘Wolfdale’ core that is being manufactured on the 45nm process. This socket 775 processor packs in 6MB of L2 cache and operates with a 1333MHz Front Side Bus speed. The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 retails for around $170 USD which makes it considerably more affordable than quad-core processors with equivalent clock speeds and cache.”

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