My desktop is a Phenom x6 1090t "overclocked" to 3.4GHz (sadly that's as high as it will stably go without ratcheting the voltages up which I don't want to do) and my laptop has an i5 2410m. My current HTPC is a cheapo thing running an Athlon II x2 at 2.8GHz. For grins I thought I would throw my own numbers in with both of yours:
1090t -- 2410m -- Athlon
154.77% -- 105.35% -- 92.71%
120.08% -- 120.25% -- 99.55%
129.63% -- 122.43% -- 102.11%
First off, the Pong benchmark fascinates me that my laptop actually beats the 1090t in Pong, albeit by the slimmest of margins. I guess that goes down to two things: single-threaded performance difference between Intel and AMD, and the way each CPU handles emulation of an analog game.
Now, the other thing is Mesk's i3-2100. That is pretty disappointing really, I thought it would be higher than 132% for blitz. Maybe it's because Blitz seems to be one of the few MAME games that threads well, it pegs 5 of the 6 cores on my 1090t when I bench it, therefore it would favor 6 cores over 2c/4t...
My 1090t can BARELY run blitz at full speed. When I actually play the game (with no throttling) it hovers around 110% most of the time until a lot of players are onscreen at once, then it will drop down to about 90-95%. So for MAME benchmark purposes (factoring in the non-gameplay parts that -bench captures) I would think a -bench result of 165-170% would be needed to play the game with no hiccups at all. To do that, yeah you both are right, I will probably need a 2500k. It's more than I was wanting to spend on a new computer but hey, I will be happier in the end for it!
To answer your other point Firehawke, I'm not so much into the newer system emulators, more the older stuff. I am somewhat of a collector and have been for much of my life (I am 24 now). A couple years ago, I decided to sell off my older stuff for a couple reasons, 1) I am a broke college student, and 2) These games (in physical form) are not going to last forever and I wanted to get some of my investment in them back before my old systems, controllers, etc found their way to the electronics graveyard. The way I went about selling my stuff was I sold everything that could be accurately emulated and kept everything that uses high-level emulation, so I kept everything from my N64 forward and sold everything made from before then. When an N64 emulator using a low-level interpreter is made (I think that is being worked on in MESS currently???) and computers are able to run it at full speed (maybe high end Haswell CPUs???) I will probably sell my N64 and move to emulation for it. I love MAME because of the focus on accuracy they put on reproducing these games so they can live on as they should, in as close to original form as possible, and my favorite console emulator is bsnes for the same reason.