I have a PC with an i7-2600 CPU, which I believed was released in '11. I was wondering how it would compare to the more current i5 6500 processor in terms of performance (not for gaming, I use my PC for motion design and illustration).
The i7-2600 is much better. look at this link http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/287?vs=144
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You are comparing a 2nd gen Core i7 against a 6th gen Core i5 processor.
This 2nd gen processor has better Core speed, Hyper-Threading technology, more cache memory; however, it requires more energy, supports lower speed memories, graphics performance is lower, supports less quantity of displays and supports up to PCIe 2.0 while the 6th gen supports PCIe 3.0.
Our Core i7 processors are the best option for desktops.
I suggest you to compare the 2600K against the 6700 or 6700K. I sent you a comparison chart between them.
The comparison chart provided by wingman99, by error compares the 2nd gen i7-2600 and 1st gen i5-650.
As reference using the same 3rd party tool I compare the 2600 and the i7-6700 processors.