AMD's Phenom II series has come out of the gates proving a worthy competitor, with the most recent Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition with Wings and Optional Sunroof proving more than adequate competition for Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9550 in our review.
The intervening months since the review have been kind to consumers, and AMD's most recent cut may be the kindest cut of all: in what may be a bid to clear a little shelf space before a 3.4GHz Phenom II X4 drops, Newegg has the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition with Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion for just $210 shipped, and it comes with six issues of CPU Magazine for free. The Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition features a 2GHz HyperTransport bus, the full 6MB of L3 cache, a 3.2GHz clock speed, and an unlocked upper multiplier for easy overclocking. Given the relatively inexpensive Socket AM2+/AM3 boards floating around on the market, including the popular Gigabyte GA-MA-790X-UD4P board at just $99, you have the underpinnings of a value-packed machine.
While Intel's LGA775 socket isn't looking to receive any fresh blood, Socket AM2+/AM3 has a more promising-looking upgrade path. For those of you not keen on dropping the dosh on a more expensive Core i7 and too eager to wait and see what Lynnfield brings to the table, this could be an excellent alternative.