well, I used to be the one making suggestions to people 'back in the day', when you had your conroes and kentsfields, and the abysmally underperforming phenom 1 stuff, and the NVIDIA 8-series / ATI 2xxx/3xxx series days, but I cut myself off from the loop of things, so I haven't read much in terms of articles or benchmarks, or kept myself aware of what's out now.
So I guess AMD's lineup of chips is now 'give-or-take' comparable dollar for dollar with Intel? Good to hear. It used to be that 90% of the recommendations would go to Intel for most builds.
Anywhoo, my friend isn't much of a noob, but he did say he was leaning more towards Intel anyway.
Yeah, I checked up on some reviews for the Phenom II's... impressive! My understanding is that they were released as a counter to i7 though, but price-wise, makes good competition with the later C2 stuff. You're right, an AM2 board and and a PhII 940 would've been a good choice. Boards are cheap and the chip is cheaper too.
It's not a really big deal though, benchmarks show a trade-off in performance (from the bit I've done of skimming) and the Q9550 is clocked at a slightly slower frequency. Plus, getting the Q9550 gave us free shipping on the entire order. The 940 was only $10 cheaper, so it turns out overall to be cheaper anyway