Hope you all can offer some advice and inspiration here!
I've been rolling quite happily with AMD-based systems for some years now, but I'm now looking to move on to the Intel side again, just because of the success of the Core2 range, and the performance/price crown it has at the moment (so far as I can see).
Ok, so this is what I have at the moment:
AMD Athlon X2 6000+ @ stock 3Ghz
4GB (2x 2G
OCZ Platinum PC6400/DDR2-800
Gigabyte GA-MA770-DS3 Mobo
Nvidia (Inno3D) Geforce 9600GT
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic
I initially thought about overclocking the 6000+, and I could get it to near 3.5Ghz stable after lowering the memory clock and hypertransport, but to be honest the extra heat was ridiculous, so I would need to invest in a better cooler for it and probably better cooling for my whole case. I've currently got a big Akasa HSF which resembles it's stock cooler actually. It does the job at stock temps.
I'm looking to go to intel now, to try and really push a Core2Duo. I have my eye on the E8400 and have heard good things about this (about it getting to 4Ghz on air cooling etc). I want to keep the existing graphy and sound cards for now. I'm on a bit of a budget... if I said no more than £350 that would be about right. Just replacing the 'core' of the system really. Mobo, CPU, Memory (possibly) and hard drive (possibly).
I want to hold off on Core i7 for now, and I don't want to go the quad core route for various reasons. Just to summarize, I want some advice on what to get in the way of intel stuff. A decent overclocking combo of a mobo and Core2Duo would be right up my street. I haven't gone with Intel for quite some time, so i'm a bit behind the times :P What's the hot stuff these days? Any cheap(er) CPUs that can be clocked into 'high' territory etc?
Finally, I will be gaming fairly often. I try and keep up with all the new titles. And I do also use the PC for media encoding and lots of compression-type activities too, so an all-round beast would be nice, hehe.
Thanks. Looking forward to suggestions!