Finally suckered into going to the darkside. Micro Center just had a good deal for an i7 2600k for $200 bucks and it also knocked down $50 bucks for certain motherboards. So, I only bought the cpu and an Asus p8z68-LX mobo for $70. This came up to $290 for everything.
I hoped that it was going to be a quick install, but there came some huge problems. When I had everything attached and fired up, the mobo wouldn't post. A red light would just stay on by the RAM slots, which meant something was wrong up in this neighborhood. So it came down to using only ONE RAM slot, which caused the mobo to finally post, but running dual channel was a no go. I did every possible combination, so I'm sure the RAM slots were shot.
Being disappointed, I wasn't expecting more disappointing things to happen. When I took the CPU off, about 5 pins were bent like crazy. I looked up what can be done to solve this problem before I take a stab at it, and I only found that it's EXTREMELY difficult to get it returned/exchanged/RMA'd once the pins are bent. So I said, screw it and I actually got most of the pins straightened except for one pin that had a broken tip. Just for curiosity, I put back the CPU on, but it failed once again.
So being that I wanted the processor installed ASAP, I went back to Micro Center to attempt an exchange, which failed. The clerk quickly noticed the bent pins and sent me off. Being very disappointed, I might as well finish the build and by and new Mobo, which is a Gigabyte z68apd3.
This added $100 bucks to the bill. Making the whole deal pretty useless at a total of $360 spent. I dug deep into my optimism and told myself that I may still use the motherboard later if I get a cheap 1155 socket CPU, and I just have to use one RAM stick. But before that, I will try to RMA board.
Finally, I was able to successfully install the new board and CPU. My impression? I have yet to see major improvements in speed. This probably most likely due to the bottle necking by my 7200 rpm hard drive. Also, I haven't run any performance tests. So it's really hard to say why I bought this for besides saying that it was a good deal. I guess later I'll have find out.
Sound quality is punchier and cleaning than my previous ASRock board. It's a nice little bonus.
I will continue this later...