I suggest anyone who is planning on building a system in the near future to wait until the i7s are released. There should be a dramatic drop in existing core prices and new possibilities will open up for the $1200 budget(i7 920) build!
Core i7 is released today in some parts of the world. But the total cost for low end i7 cpu, board, and ddr3 is maybe $900. Still too high for me and lots of other folks. The high end 9xxx should drop in price.
I considered the release of nehalem chips as well and I think I can add to your discussion.
1- Yes, nehalem outperforms q9xxx by a fair margin in STATIC benchmarks (real gaming benchmarks show a small increase that shows that games haven't caught up just yet).
2- i7 outperforms with a newer motherboard and triple ddr3. Added cost!
3- A fast q9xxx (oc'ed) should last you until sandy bridge and beyond. I don't expect game producers to enable GOOD multithreading until then (still too many gamers with budget dual core machines).
4- A q6600 should last until westmere / possibly sandy bridge with decent overclocking. Very cheap option!
5- Drivers and whatnot aren't as "tested and proved" than q9xxx, ddr2 and "old" mobo's. Stability isn't proven either. There might be some weird issues and I'd hate to spend money to test the compatibility of stuff.
For me, the bottom line is gaming (out of everything that I do, I can manage to wait an extra 15sec to encode a CD or less than a minute to re-encode dvd's). Therefore, in terms of price per mhz of performance, the overall value of a ddr2/q9650 outperforms the value of a ddr3/i7 920.
Even between ddr2 and ddr3, the added value of a more expensive mobo and more expensive ram isn't worth it for me at this point. Maybe in a year or two...
I think the point of the article isn't jump out and buy the new I7, but rather wait until they're out and being pushed upon us... and grab up the quad cores and whatnot at a fraction of current cost.
This is the real truth. With expected slowdown of the retail sector this holiday season, It will be unrealistic to think that prices of older cores will not drop substantially, especially considering that the low end i7 920 will cost 1/6 as much as the current top performer QX9770 but both processors will provide equal performance when running at factory settings.
The idea isn't that you should wait and pounce on the i7 when it hits the market, the idea is to wait and see what happens to prices of current core models when the i7s are released before you make a purchase.