Which, If Any, to Buy?
Intel isn’t making upgrading to Nehalem all that tempting this year. These chips, presuming they maintain Core i7 type performance (scaled down with price, of course), are certainly impressive. But most of Nehalem’s benefits have to do with multi threaded applications. Day to day use and even games won’t really see a pop from this for the time being.
Nehalem shines running the type of professional software you would usually find on top end PCs or even workstations. These machines obviously would be better fits for the top of the line Core i7.
Many users would love to upgrade to Nehalem without meeting the Core i7/X58’s entry fee. That leaves the Ibex Peak platform. Most people who rely on integrated graphics, in the home or office, don’t run out and buy the latest tech, particularly in a sour economy. Factor in that the graphics included in Clarkdale are a warmed over XMA 4500, and we can largely discount the popularity of that chip and the LGA 1155 socket (first pictured here): first 32nm CPU in the world or not. At least until some more processors are announced.
That leaves Lynnfield, which will debut earlier than Clarkdale (roadmaps here), and be quad-core, but will be 45 instead of 32nm. While not having the northbridge bottleneck will be an improvement, most people will hold off on an upgrade until 32nm, LGA 1156 socket CPUs, are available, or at least announced. Again, Intel is fighting a tight fisted economy.
Some might be put out enough by the lack of full bandwidth for multi-graphics card setups, or turned on enough by the triple channel memory, and consider a full on i7/X58 rig. Particularly if we consider that Intel is planning Gulftown: a six-core, 32nm CPU, that we hope will fit in existing LGA 1336 motherboards, due early next year. That gets your budget back up though, and we are back to the lack of consumer demand.