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I think hyperthreading is a trade-name for "working the cores" - in essence it claims the "effective" number of cores is increased.
However, not all processes can use all these cores - so it will work for some apps, but not all.
(Shadowboxer, I though i5 also used this process?-perhaps someone can tell us the "equivalent cores" for an i5 -v- the i7).
Hope that helps.
EDIT: From what I'm reading this upgrade is "only" worthwhile if you must have every bit of performance, which is "never" the case, buy a jar of Best coffee (or stronger) and enjoy, while it Renders. It's a lot faster than mine, typically 5-6 times between Edit and a burnt DVD.
Only the 2600/2600k have hyper-threading within the current desktop Sandy Bridge quad core CPU line-up. So although the main features between a 2500 & 2600 CPU are very similar a program that can make use of the multiple threads such as video editng & encoding, or when running multiple applications at the same time will see a fair advantage with the i7. So both the 2500 & 2600 have 4 cores but only the 2600 has 8 threads.
Is it worth upgrading? Well I suppose it depends on which i5 CPU you have but if not video encoding etc going from a 2500k to a 2600k is likely to not be worth doing. But going from a 2300 2.8GHz quad core i5 or a 2390T dual core/4 thread i5 to a 2600k 3.4GHz i7 may be a fair upgrade.