Originally Posted by therock003
There was once a time where frequency was very important and a good cpu was everything. Now with all these cores, and high frequency, i try to find reasoning on why people tend to buy the most expensive multi cores available and spend additional amounts of money for cooling mess with temperatures, and overclock them.
Besides gaming, is there any reason to use a high-end cpu for real world performance and not for bragging rights? Even for gaming, do you really need an expensive cpu, or can you get a nice value for money socket and emphasize on the graphics card?
There's always video production, data crunching, and other "real work" that benefits in a linear fashion from higher-clocked processors. But for the majority of games, at a certain point you do get diminishing returns from the CPU.
However for many people overclocking is a hobby in itself instead of merely finding a suitable CPU for the job. Just like "car guys" have made hot rods with bigger engines and aftermarket parts/modifications for decades, computer enthusiasts do the same thing with overclocking, air/water cooling, and so forth.
In this era of minimal performance gains per generation, the average computer-savvy person could buy a sensible mid-range i5 (say, the i5-3470) and use it for several years without running into any problematic bottlenecks. However, hobbyists see this lack of performance gains as an annoyance and take great pains to work around them with overclocking. In doing so they increase the performance, but at the same time it costs more in terms of "total cost of ownership" (CPU + a higher-end O/C-ing motherboard + aftermarket cooling systems).
In the end, it all depends on your mindset. There is no "right answer", just as long as you have enough CPU power to run your frequently-used games/apps comfortably. Whether or not to go beyond that is up to you.