AMD has better price/performance then Intel when looking at Penryn processors vs Phenom II. Yes they have the Core i7, and if that's what you want then fine, but if your budget doesn't reach that far, then AMD's the way to go.
My point precisely! And I wouldn't exactly call AMD processors 'budget' CPU's, either. Budget can often imply cheap and nasty, and AMD put out quality CPU's that are sturdy and realiable at a more affordable price.
It's a fact that Intel has been the market leader for quite some time, and that, I think (others too), is what they use as leverage in their pricing policy to charge more for their products. However, what is NOT reflected in Intel's pricing is the fact many of their products come from China, where they can exploit cheap labour to reduce production costs. Funny thing, that, Intel customers are not see that being reflected in retail prices on 'new' CPU's being manufactured in Asia for considerably less than earlier (US built) models.
A New Intel CPU seems to come out at the maximum price they think the market can bear, seeming to drop in price only when another model or three have replaced it. In other words, the item comes down in price when (in computing terms) the market believes it is obsolete. OK, this may be true of other companies, but market leaders tend to become so adept at it they forget the consumer and value for money... and Intel seems to be one of those companies.
It's the same with AMD/Nvidia, Nvidia has the GTX 295, however anything lower then that and you'll find that AMD just has better price/performance, period. And with the extra $150 you don't spend on the GTX 295, you can buy a 4870/4850 to crossfire with and -outperform- it.
While this may be true in the US, it's not necessarily so here in Oz! For a start, ATI cards do not seem to be as popular here as Nvidia for some reason (supplier/retailer preference, I don't know) and can be harder to get... hence the prices can be much on a par with Nvidia cards. When I was doing my upgrade recently, I did look into an ATI card and found that anything in the 47xx - 48xx series was above my budget... in the AUD $300 - $400's
There were a few 46xx series cards within my price range, but I settled with a Galaxy 9800GT @ 1gb for $210 because it was still $30 - $40 cheaper and on a par with or better than the 512mb ATI cards available at the time... 2 of, to be precise. So I guess it also depends on where you are at the time, supply and demand as to what you end up paying, though AMD CPU's seem to be quite popular here, and better priced than Intel equivelants, given we Aussies pay more than our US counterparts for anything PC related.