If he won't overclock, get a Core i5 2400. I know it's almost a sin to those of us here to get a non K variant, but if he won't overclock, it's the best value. The reason is, it's only 200MHz slower than the Core i5 2500, but saves you $20. The Core i5 2300 is 300MHz less atop that but only saves you $5, so there's no use going down to it. Price for performance for non-overclockers, the Core i5 2400 is the sweet spot with how they're priced right now.
The Core i3s aren't worth looking at as they're dual core CPUs.
Pair the CPU with a cheap H61 or H67 motherboard since you won't overclock, and just about 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and he should be good.
Take a look at this.
GIGABYTE GA-P61-USB3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 USB 3.0 ATX ($89.99)
Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core ($189.99)
Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ($39.99)
That's $320 w/$1 shipping, so that's three... two... one... get it! You could even shave a bit more off of the motherboard and maybe
bring it around or under $300.
the second plan is simply getting a LGA775 quad core CPU, but the problem with that is that the CHEAPEST one costs about as much as a Core i5 2400 does, so it REALLY is worth it to spring for a motherboard and $40 measly worth of RAM for so much more performance, and that's also if that motherboard he has now will even take a quad core CPU.
Lastly, and probably the cheapest, someone with a Core 2 Duo E8x00 above says they're getting playable performance in that game on a dual core CPU, so if he doesn't want to do any of the above, look at this...
Intel Pentium E6700 Wolfdale 3.2GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core ($84.99)
The Pentium Dual-core E6800 isn't really worth it. It's only 130MHz faster but the Pentium Dual-core E6700 is $15 cheaper, so it's the sweet spot in that lineup. In the end though, you're moving from a low end Core 2 Duo to a higher end Pentium Dual-core, so while he will get more performance from the higher frequency, it's sort of a side-grade and he'll be biding his time. The lower FSB/cache might effect it some, and also, if it IS an older board that won't even play well with a Core 2 Quad Q6600, a Wolfdale might be a stretch too.Edited by Princess Garnet - 4/28/11 at 1:38am