Ok i will not go so far as to say this is the most uber set up but lets present the facts first
3D Studio 2009
In summary a P2X4 940BE is better than an i7 920 in Maya but about a Q9450 in 3D Studio 09. Now if you factor in price and chipset with those apps not being GPU bound here is a cheap template for you to 'super size' on
Frquency seems to have a ROLE in those program. E8500 is 30sec better the the E8400 and SPEED is the only diff, smae thing with all other CPU. P2X4 940 faster then P2X4 920 ... freq + quad seems to help.
P2X4 940 is fine, OCing this cpu can lead to be on par with Q9650 .... or equal the I7.
NM the build youll be getting, AMD or INTEL. go for a QUAD and a lil OC. the cheaper 920 can OC to the 940 freq with decent aircooling.... and even more.
a 50$ aircooling can lead you to 3.4 3.6ghz without any problem and sometime near STOCK vcore with the latest Intel or AMD proco. That means not that much more eat.