My current PC is about 4 years old, so I've been looking around at what available, comparing the nice cpubenchmark.net graphs which are much easier to parse than the unorganized stuff on openbenchmarking.org, reading about different stuff that's currently available, etc. Needless to say, this has not left me happy.
There seems to be no clear path towards assembling a decent system at the moment. I'm going to explain why, and then hope that some of you guys can tell me I'm wrong or missing something.
Issue the first: The only CPU that seems overall sensible is only supported on a handful of ridiculous motherboards.
AMD bulldozer CPUs don't seem compelling. They suck power compared to other options, but don't have any clear performance benefit. AMD also seems a bit like they're in stasis and not really moving forward. Their Fusion APU products are intriguing, but they seem to be a low-end compromise that makes sense for laptops, or maybe HTPCs, not so much for a desktop.
Intel i-series CPUs seem to fall into camps which don't really match the features or performance I want. Why do I need the integrated GPU in an i7, for example?
The Intel CPUs which currently make the most sense to me are the Xeon E3-1230 V2 or the Xeon E3-1240 V2 -- No integrated GPUs, cheaper than the Ivy Bridge i7, use a bit less power and aren't as expensive, but still have the hyper-threading.
There's just one downside: the only motherboards that seem to support those CPUs at the moment cost more than $200 and have pointless (to me) features like dual NICs.
So am I missing something with the current CPUs scene, or is my impression pretty much accurate? Is there a good chance mainstream boards will pick up Xeon E3 V2 support?
Issue the second: BIOS seem to UEFI these days -- is this really an issue, or not?
Issue the third: Graphics card situation seems muddled
The graphics card situation seems hazy. Is there actually effective and widely supported GPU acceleration for video playback on linux with AMD/Radeom products? Have their drivers cleaned up enough to be usable on a composited desktop without ruining games?
Is nVidia stuck in some sort of product transition? There doesn't seem to be a really decent mid-range contender in the Nvidia lineup - you've got the 550 ti which I have the impression is due for a refresh, but the newer cards all seem to be budget or top-end-enthusiast range. And then there's the whole question of whether their support is really progressing.
Is there actually a sensible card in the $110 - $160 range right now, or is there a refresh expected in the near future?
I guess those are the 3 main things I'm wondering about, but there are a few other little details that have irritated me I'm sure I'm missing.