Intels architecture is superior to AMD, though amd is still usable. if you get a sandy/ivy bridge i5, then your set with just about any gpu you can throw at it. AMD's bulldozer wasnt much of an improvement vs the Phenom II series, but in a few months, the Piledriver units will come out which AMD supposedly promises a 10-15% increase of performance, so depending on the price, it may be a good bridge between the diminishing Phenom II chips(965be is ~100-110$) and the intel i5's which start at around 180$ for the lower end models. Intel should be releasing their ivy bridge i3's and sometime next year should release their next platform.
RAM wise, theres very little improvement past 1600
Apparently, from what I've been told, i5s are now faster than the i7s? Or at least the i7 I have? Does Intel still have a lead over AMD?
What about RAM? What's a good speed now and are they significantly faster than mine?
Yes, current i5's are faster (clock for clock, anyway) than your i7 because of architectural improvements. They're not any better than current i7's though, they're just the best CPU for gaming, for the money because HT doesn't really mean much in gaming.
And yes, Intel is still quite a bit ahead of AMD (to put it nicely).
As far as RAM goes, speeds go all the way up to DDR3 2800, but there's really no point in it, as the sweet spot for most current gen CPU's is 1600 and very little actual real world performance is gained from anything faster. Just in benches and a couple specialized uses.
Any LGA 1155 i5's and i7's (especially "K" models) will be good for quite a few more years. I don't plan on upgrading my 2500K until Skylake, at the earliest and probably Skymont, and I have no doubts that it will still be a strong CPU even then (because of OC'ing, if nothing else).
I'm still satisfied with my i7 920, but I really want to have SSDs (maybe even in RAID 0) and USB 3.0. Not to mention, I want HDs larger than 2TB and I want my motherboard to recognize it. And as far as I know, only UEFI bios is compatible.
I want to do some video editing using FRAPS and I don't want the program to be bottlenecked by my HD's slow write speed.