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I'm completely confused by Intel's naming system. I understand what makes Xeon E3 different from i5. But what, for example, makes the Xeon X3440 different from E3-1230? (Apart from clock speed).

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The product pages for each give you a pretty good overview of the differences. –  Ramhound Aug 20 '12 at 15:10

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Loads of stuff: http://ark.intel.com/compare/42928,52271,65734

Whether any of that (core architecture, manufacturing process, power consumption, socket, RAM speed, etc) is important to you, well, that's up to you.

If you are looking to replace a CPU in a board you already have, then you don't really have much choice (X3440 is LGA1156, E3-1230 is LGA1155). If you're looking at a whole new setup, I would strongly recommend going with the newer technology.

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This is for a new setup. So, you recommend the E3-1230 v2, as it is newer, even though it doesn't have hyper-threading. –  John Wheal Aug 20 '12 at 17:33
    
Yes. There are, of course, finer nuances that may come into play depending on your application, but as a general rule the newer Sandy/Ivy Bridge core architecture is mush more efficient and higher performance than the older X3440. Check CPUBenchmark.net for a rough comparison of synthetic tests. If you think you need the added "cores" of hyperthreading, the X1230/X1230v2 is the ticket. –  Toneloc427 Sep 4 '12 at 15:05

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