Not to sound like a broken record here but the high cost of Intel's high-end CPU microarchitecture, the Core i7, remains a considerable barrier to entry. Almost exactly seven months have passed since the Core i7 debuted, but the situation has only improved slightly.
Ignoring the highest SKU, the newly launched Extreme Edition Core i7-975, and taking what most enthusiasts would regard as the practical option with the Core i7-920, one still has to factor in the cost of the motherboard and realistically, a triple channel kit of DDR3 memory. While DDR3 memory is increasingly more affordable nowadays, the same can't be said of the Intel X58 motherboards however.
Even the cheaper models will easily set you back by at least US$200. Contrast that with AM3 motherboards that are generally less than US$150 and one can see a significant difference in cost for what is essentially a rather similar set of features. After all, one gets more or less the same number of ports, expansion slots and even DDR3 memory and ATI CrossFireX support on both platforms.
Hence, consumers either have to pay for these more expensive X58 motherboards, or opt for a lesser known vendor which may have competitive prices, but compensates perhaps with a slightly inferior feature set. Well, that's set to change with the MSI X58 Pro-E, which goes for around US$189 and unlike its few competitors in that price range, hails from a top tier motherboard vendor.
In our package, we found the following accessories included with the MSI X58 Pro-E: