1156 (i5) does have a handicap for SLI/CFX. what people aren't understanding is that this handicap is really only noticable at high settings/high resolutions. if your an enthusiest and have to have everything jacked up go with the PII.
you can probably SLI/CFX fine at 1080 but don't quote me, read web reviews or wait for newegg reviews. however, if your planning on 2+ GPUs its not going to be smart to go with i5.
not to mention the ATI's new card should be out in a few weeks. in a nutshell its like 2 4890's running cool so you should only need one 5870.
Personally I'd wait for the newer AMD GPU's to come out if you can. Than there will be some reviews out and then you can make sure that the i5/955 battle is what it is. I think either way you will win. Both systems will do just fine and have their advantages over each other. The i5 right now is new and so it my be more tempting to get. I like the 955 since you can OC it without raising the CPU voltage. The other advantage that I see with the AMD build is you can even go down to a $80 785g mobo and still have a good system. This will save you an additional ~$40 over the Intel build and if you use the same RAM that you had in the Intel build you will have saved $5 off of your first AMD build. With all that said, I'll try and summarize how I see the pro's/cons of each build.
AMD build pro's:
* Easy to OC on stock voltage.
* More mobo choices out, so you can pick the exact one you like. This is a better budget option right now and AMD mobo's generally have more options/$ than Intel mobo's.
* I suspect that AMD is going to drop their pricing on the 955 before any Intel price drop happens.
* More bundled combo's on Newegg, so you get an even better deal!!
Intel build pro's:
* Newest thing out!!
* I like the turbo option on single/dual threaded applications!
* It is more budget friendly than an i7 build.
* Should run cooler and more efficient than the 955 chip!
AMD build cons:
* Runs hotter than the i5 chip.
* Maybe a shorter lifespan than the i5 mobo's??? Don't know for sure. Intel changes quite a bit on chipsets too, so we'll see.
Intel build cons:
* Is generally a bit more expensive than the AMD build.
* Will hold it's value longer, so don't expect any price drops for 2-3 months.
* Limited upgrade GPU path, if using X-fire/SLI, so I'd just stick with a single GPU solution.
Well that is basically how I see the difference at this time. I might be missing something obvious, but you kinda get my drift.
Many will disagree but who cares if the i5 mobo's don't support full x16 on both slots.... that is what a flagship GPU is used for.... when the 5870/5870x2 cards drop, your i5 mobo won't need 2 GPU's to perform at the same level as an x58 mobo.....Look at it this way, if you aint going to spend mad cash on an i7 920/dual GPU setup then there is no reason not to get the i5...
Wouldn't the AM3 last after a few iterations of processors? (I believe AMD really only screwed up with the 939 -> AM2 transition)
Though AMD needs a price drop to adjust to the i5, some posters are already complaining that the P2 965/955 is overpriced.
The problem is the lifespan of the AM3 is currently a complete unknown. Will AMD now change sockets on their next gen CPU release to compete with nehalem or will they keep the same archivtecture and undercut intel's prices? The i5 is so agressively priced I'm not confident AMD can stick with their normal "almost as good but cheaper" gameplan this time. Right now the 955/965 are "about as good, but more expensive" which is not a viable position for AMD to be in.
If the 955 were to drop down to $150-160 price range and the 965 were down to $180-190 range, than AMD might be competetive. Unless AMD comes out with something that fits between an i5 and an i7 and is priced at or below the i5, AMD is going to be in a world of hurt.