I'm interested in building a new desktop soon and I'm evaluating my options, namely the choice of CPU.
CPUs like AMD's X4 630 are cheap, at 4-cores for $100. Plenty of selection for motherboards, even a choice between DDR2 and DDR3.
I'm also interested in encrypting my disks, which would make Intel's Clarkdale CPUs very appealing since they include new hardware AES encryption/decryption instructions. They also have integrated graphics included on the processor, which would suit my needs fine in Linux.
The downsides of the Clarkdale CPUs are that they're significantly more expensive than AMD's offerings. The dual core (4 thread) Core i3 530 will cost $123 according to Wikipedia. The i5 661 has the fastest graphics core, at 900 MHz, but will undoubtedly cost more than $200.
Now, if I didn't need to purchase a graphics card as well, $200 for a CPU might be OK. But I'm not so sure that even the i5 661 would be able to run the few games I play (In Windows, Day of Defeat: Source, Counter-Strike: Source).
I currently play them on a Turion ML-34 (1.8GHz, single core) with 1GB RAM and an X850XT. If I could be certain that the i5 661 would give me at least the graphics performance I'm seeing now, I think I could pick it, given it's other cool features, like hardware AES.
What do you guys think? Are there other options I should be considering?
They have got vaapi for mpeg2. h264 is announced for this year. no idea for vc1. Well i5 cpus are really fast, so this should not be that important - you just could watch movies and compile with gentoo without any speed decrease. For gentoo a quad is certainly much better too...
Mainly because gaming isn't my top priority. I'm really only concerned with the two I mentioned.
The i5 750 costs as much as the i5 661. Add in a discrete graphics card and the cost goes up by at least 50%.
I say go for the i3 and save the money, for that price difference you could get a low-end Radeon HD that'd still toast the i5's GPU. Doing so also gives you the benefit of leaving your options open - you'd have the choice of the i3's GMA, xf86-video-radeon (which works very well in 3D already), or fglrx if you're willing to sacrifice everything for 3D speed (but you'd just be running windows if you wanted blob drivers...)
Before you buy an ati card for use with oss drivers i would test the intel driver first. But you have to consider the compile speed of a quad against a dual core with your favorite distro.
Only if you plan to do a lot of compiling. That being said, one has to consider that even though running a encrypted partition through hardware engine the performance penalties for kicking it old school and doing it through software are minimal as previous benchmarks have shown. It really depends on if that minimal increase in speed is worth the extra cash.