Case in Point: The Best CPU Under $300

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If you aren’t really concerned with having very large memory capacities, or upgrading to the six core Gulftown CPU next year, then the Core i7 860 is a much better deal than the Core i7 920. It costs less, and in most cases, we see expected performance gains. In a few cases, we see some big gains in single threaded performance. When you factor in the overall system cost – Socket 1156 motherboards, on average, cost less – you can build a more cost effective system with Lynnfield.

The big unknown is the long term upgrade factor. Will Sandy Bridge just plug into current LGA 1156 boards? That’s unknown currently. But if you’re building a system today, then Lynnfield systems are cheaper than Core i7 900 series systems, and as fast or faster. What’s not to like?

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