"Real world systems"4.0 starson by sdc100
Pros: Actual systems show a huge price difference
Cons: Benchmarks lag behind
Summary: While I agree with CNET's conclusion when based on the benchmark's alone, I'd like to take it out of the lab. In the past month, I've seen several refurbished HP Phenom-based systems for less than $600 from different vendors. In fact, Woot has an HP Media Center 3gig 640gig HD system on sale for $549 as I type. I have yet to see an Intel-based system for such a low price, whether refurbished or new. For what it's worth, I've had no issues whatsoever with it being refurbished. If you don't have problems within the 90 day warranty, chances are that you'll be fine for the lifetime of the system.
In no way am I recommending the HP system. I merely want to point out that sub-$700 quad core systems are already available and so far, they all use AMD chips. In fact, the above HP Media Center is sub-$600. And you even get a DVR.