Again, there is no other point to using an unlocked CPU so I'm not certain why we would disregard overclocking. Out of the box, the i5 and i7 match up very well together in terms of gaming performance, but that changes when you use them as intended. There aren't any other components(monitor possibly but that's negligible at worst) that really factor into the equation. Your RAM is stable or it isn't. You have enough power or you don't.
I don't know why you're saying I'm disregarding overclocking. I never said that once. The entire first part of my last post was about how the i5 is also
a good overclocker. People can overclock their i5s to 4-5 ghz with the best overclockers hitting near 6 ghz, just like they do with i7s.
My comparison is, and always was, about the value of an i5 vs. the value of an i7, either of which can be overclocked with good results.
By the way, I do realize that an i7 can give a slight FPS boost over an i5, and for anyone willing to spend the extra hundred bucks for that slight boost, more power to them. I'm not going to say you shouldn't. But when the topic comes up of distributing your budget differently in order to maximize performance, I will suggest it every single time. In the techpowerup review I posted earlier, these are a few of the FPS differences between a 550 ti and a 560 ti at 1920 x 1200.
Battlefield 3: 36 vs 59
Call of Duty 4: 77 vs 125
World of Warcraft 43 vs 69
These differences are substantial, and an example of a very large gain for the money spent. To compare them to the i7 and i5, which have come within a few % of each other in every test I've ever seen, the differences are enormous. This is why in this situation, I find this to be the better option. I am not saying that nobody should every consider buying i7s, and I am not saying GPU always trumps CPU so stick a 680 in your pentium 4 machine and go to town. I am only advocating using your money wisely, and getting the most out of the money you are willing to spend. Edited, Apr 14th 2012 1:45am by Susanoh