"Holds its own against Skulltrail, a True Complement"4.5 starson by Catalina588
Pros: The 965 competes favorably with Skulltrail: comparable overall performance; much quieter even with dual 4870x2's; much lower idle power; easy to overclock; much lower cost when available. Turbo is great for single threaded apps.
Cons: Mixed reviews on gaming. See Tom's Hardware gaming review for the details. Expect drivers to improve. Even so, Extreme 965 scales gaming frame rates from 1-4 GPUs very well.
Summary: I'm thinking about putting the i7-965 in the living room: quiet enough for home theater but powerful enough for high-end gaming. Would never consider doing that with noisy Skulltrail.
Unlocked Turbo mode makes it easy to do basic overclocking. I got 4 GHz with stock cooler (briefly); stable at 3.8 GHz and stock cooler.
This is the business/technical workstation of choice for 2009. I expect the i7-965 Extreme Edition to end up in the Top 10 at Rosetta in protein folding against 8 and 8 core Xeons.
Since you're spending a bundle anyway, definitely check out the Intel solid-state disks. Phenomenal read speeds under Vista and marked boot-up time improvements.
So, I'm putting Skulltrail out to pasture and moving the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition into the "daily driver" slot under my desk. This system has earned its stripes.