We have caluclated all benches in constrast to the i5-2500(K). Higher than 100% is better than i5-2500K at stock clocks and HT enabled, while lower of course means less performance.
To make the comparision fair, we have chosen more expensive motherboards. All boards cost between €99 and €107, but of course, especially with AMD, you can buy a €50 board which will improve AMDs standing. The H61 chipset does offer lower costs, but performance also will suffer with only single channel memory. We did not worry about the CPU's graphics performance at this time, since we will test with H67 later.
As was expected, the new generation of CPUs blows away its predecessors and AMD as well. However, AMD keeps its sockets for years, whereas Intel changes it all the time, which is more than annoying. There is no real reason to do so, besides to get the customers money and with a profit of 33%, saying that Intel does great is an understatement.
This CPU is a completly different die compared to the quad-cores. With only two cores and Hyperthreading, this CPU generation looses AES-NI, TXT and VT-d. Especially for business customers this features would be helpfull to build cheaper desktops. For causual gamers, even a i3 is enough for anything you can think of. The 2100T with a TDP of 35W is also quite nice for HTPCs but note that AMD's E350 can do this job very well too. Both the i3-2100 and the i3-2100T are available for less than 100€, which is not cheap but affordable. If you can live with a CPU with 65W TDP you get the i3-2100 which is clocked at 3.1GHz and costs about €94,-.
These are the successors of the i5-700 series which was the most popular CPU. Prices start about €145,- which is about 50% more of an i3, but you get four real cores. You should be aware of Intel's confusing naming scheme by now so the i5-2390T is actually an i3 with only two cores. The i5-2000 series can take anything you throw at it and is suitable for anything a normal customer might wish for. As long as AMD Bulldozer is not out, that's the CPU to go with. The only downside is that you need a new board which renders your previous investments nearly nil and void, but at least your PSU and memory kit can be recycled. Our overclock-free i5-2500K is a bit more expensive but at about €166,- it's not as expensive as previous K processors.
As usual, Intel has its quad-cores also with Hyperthreading. With four real cores, most applications will not benefit from it, or may even slow down some applications, especially games. We only noticed it with Win7 startup, which was slower with the i7-2600K CPU compared to the i5-2500K. Prices start at about €225 and with only HT enabled this is really expensive because it doesn't cost Intel a dime. You can see that on the Xeon E3-1200 Series prices. The E3-1220 clocks at 3.1GHz and costs about €165, but the E3-1230, which clocks 100MHz faster and does support HT, costs only €190. So, for 25€ more you get HT which is reasonable pricing. So if you need all the bells and whistles and don't care about overclocking, Xeon E3-1230 is a much better choice. The i7-2600K now costs about €241,-.
While we are not happy with the new socket, the performance speaks for itself. So, if you're not keen on waiting for AMD's Bulldozer Cores, the i5-2500K is the CPU of our choice.