For average users, steppings don't matter. It's primarily of importance with serious enthusiasts who overclock their rigs. Certain steppings overclock better or run a bit cooler than others. And newer steppings are not always better or more expensive, in fact it is often the case that older steppings fetch a premium price because they O/C better but are no longer being made.
In rare cases, even stock performance can vary between steppings, but that's usually negligible enough to not be noticeable, especially to someone who isn't benchmarking to a high degree of precision. I think there have been very few cases where a new stepping fixed a CPU bug, but those bugs are so rare that I can't even think of a specific case off the top of my head, so you should be fine with any stepping.
licoughli go AMD licoughli
[quote8e41f2485b="manOFice"]licoughli go AMD licoughli[/quote8e41f2485b]
No way I'd go AMD now, unless it was a cheap upgrade to an existing AMD system. Intel has had AMD solidly whipped in the price/performance category for the past 2-3 years. I was an AMD bigot for many years when they were on top, and I still own several AMD systems, but ever since Core Duo (and especially Core 2 Duo), Intel has mopped the floor with AMD.
I'm upgrading an Intel motherboard, AMD's not an option. Plus, there are tons of 3.2Ghz HT P4s out there for $45. I don't think the same performance is available at the same pricepoint for AMD.