my i7 920 effectively has 8 virtual cores, it will do everything that he listed there with ease... that's not serious computing.
you'll know that you are doing serious computing when you see the cpu utilization of all 8 of your cores pegged continously at 80-100%, with the cpu speed manually overclocked by, say, 25-35% or so.
If I have learned anything here, it is not that simple. For instance. for some applications an i5-670 running at its stock 3.46Ghz will handily outperform an i7 920 running at its stock 2.66GHz. How about Gaming?
And I don't think that there are many applications which i5-670 overclocked to 5.5Ghz is not at least as fast, or faster than an i7 920 running at stock 2.66GHz. Can the 920 be overclocked. Sure. But at around 4GHz you start to be able to cook eggs on it.
At least that's what it appears to me seeing benchmarkers using that to stress CPU heatsinks. Take the same super coolers that xbits uses to reach 4GHz on its 1366 socket testing system and it seems not unreasonable for that same cooler to support 5.4 to 5.5 Ghz on the 670. (I will admit that maybe this balance of horsepower changes if you are talking about water cooling - but that is going a bit too far off the bell curve for me)
So I guess if you are doing some heavy encoding or some such, a 920 with all its cores cooking has marginally more horsepower. Even for users of this site, despite all the talk about high end computing, that represents only the smallest sliver of time to which they put their computers.
That seems to make the 1366 chips look as practical as a 600 hp street Ferrari. Sure you can rationalize why you need it. But unless you have a convenient race track - it serves no purpose. And if you do have one, there are dedicated racing machines (ie database servers) that will kick its but.
An over-muscled over-heated quad seems, for almost all non-commercial users, to serve more of an emotional need than a practical need. And that is likely to remain so until the majority of commonly used software is reprogrammed to take advantage of multiple cores.
I think what I have just said is consistent with the learning espoused in this thread. I would never have imagined saying any of the above before the start of this thread. But it is hard to think otherwise after absorbing the knowledge laid out here.
Am I drinking koolaid, or is the above valid thinking?