I have same questions.. cept Im thinking about the reverse at work i have xeon dual and at home i have i7 2600K
at home I run ~20% faster open/rebuild all's, saves stuff like that. On zooming, rotating (view manipulating) I cant give speed in seconds but i can tell you it's just way-way better on the i7 machine even tho at home my video card is a low-mid range gamer card, and at work i have a mid range quadro FX1800 .... since you did not get any replies hers maybe you have some data you collected elsewhere you may be willing to share... I have some articles at my work (home rite now) regarding xeon vs i7 i can share...
my main software is autodesk inventor also, and i am also running 2012 64.
Hi, I have an Xeon E3-1245v2 (Ivy Bridge, 3.4GHz with HT) and an i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge, 3.4GHz without HT) sitting next to me. From my experiences so far (Blender 2.63.0 rendering + some work with Photoshop CS5 Extended), I can't tell you any big difference. Hardware differences are: 8MB (Xeon) to 6MB L3-Cache, Hyper-Threading to no HT, ECC support to no ECC support and generally, the Xeons have lower VIDs (Intel's picking the highest quality CPUs from the batch), resulting in lower temperatures and a higher lifespan (my Xeon has a VID of ~1.0V, the i5 is around ~1.2V). Also, the Xeon has an Intel HD P4000; the i5-3570K has an Intel HD 4000. The P4000 has optimized drivers for OpenGL applications - essentially, it's the same hardware just with optimized drivers (just like Radeon -> FirePro or GeForce -> Quadro). I don't know, where you are from, but in Germany, the E3-1245v2 costs around 240€, whereas the i5-3570K costs around 200€. And imho, the extra 40€ is worth it. The comparable E3-1225v2 just costs extra 20€ compared to the i5. You should go for an Xeon for the extra 20€ - 40€, but it won't hurt, if you decide to go for the i5 / i7. Just make sure, it's the latest hardware generation (Ivy Bridge)!