Currently, which models of desktop processor from either Intel or AMD offer the best value? I'm building a desktop PC, want more than two cores and am considering spending under $300.
Below $300, if you apps dont benefit a lot from hyperthreading, i5 2500K imo is a really nice CPU for the money, if you dont need the HD3000 or an overclock CPU, check the i5 2400. Now if you do benefit from hyperthreading and still below $300, Intel Core i7-2600
All the intel CPU line will be referesh by april 8 with ivy bridge, expect replacement both the i7 2600K and i5 2500K on launch, the gains on performance wont be that big as its mostly a die shrink, maybe around 10%, but they will consume less power, but one decent gain in the integrated GPU, the HD4000 will be around 30% faster than the HD3000.
Doesn't have to be cooled passively, although I will at least want a good aftermarket _quiet_ CPU cooler.
Depending on the mobo and case, if you dont have any clearance issues i recommend, Thermalright HR-02 Macho
or Scythe Mugen 3