As the editor responsible for our Best CPUs For The Money column, this puts me in an unfortunate position. Do I tell people to hold off on the second-generation Core chips and recommend inferior processors for a short while, or do I acknowledge the fact that Intel's new chips are actually worth waiting for?
For me, it comes down to this: Sandy Bridge-based CPUs offer such an impressive performance boost that I think it would be irresponsible to push new system builders toward a different platform, especially if they're spec'ing out a mid- to high-end machine. With this in mind, we're counting on revised motherboard availability in March (we're almost there), and sticking with our recommendations of the processors back on the market.
This is $992 ..... the extra month should give you time to make up any cash shortfalls. I think you will find yaself far happier as dropping lower would result in compromises. You can hit $947 if you drop the aftermarket air cooler / TIM. The 2500k can hit 4.5ish with stock cooler.