When you are looking for a deal, it is really hard to beat AMD’s newest Black Edition chip, the X2 550, not only is it $102 to pick up, with some luck or a nearby store with a friendly return policy you will end up with 4 working cores, even if it won’t be running on an nVIDIA chipset.  Your Intel choices are not so simple, and are getting more confusing all the time.  Don’t count AMD out though, they’ve found other ways to confuse you while nVIDIA is just focusing on their graphics.  Not that you should assume it is only CPUs and graphics cards that are causing all the confusion lately.

If that isn’t enough for you, why not set up dual OSes, so you can decide which flavour of Windows and which flavour of Linux you want to run.  It’s a hard decision, but that is why the PC Perspective forums exist and why we have a weekly Podcast … it is the only way to keep up!