if u have that much to spend, go intel. intel is the top, sadly i switched from AMD and i am currently feeding the growing monoply, but its a great chip w/ lots of overclocking room. the 45nm manufacturing process runs a lot cooler and saves lots of power. i saw test showing my E5200
@4ghz w/ 100% load using less power than a phenom II quad core at idle. that convinced me cause i have a limited PSU. since u have such a large screen (32" is correct in ur sig?) u need processing power if u r going to do HD video or any games at all. high resolutions bottleneck at the CPU very badly. i know for a fact that my old CPU was holding back the rest of my system, thats why i just bought the rig in my sig.
idk wut ur uses are, video encoding etc. if u want gaming and light multi-tasking, and small video/audio editing or encoding, dual core would be fine, E8400
is good bang for buck and has OC potential. it should be less than half ur 550CAD budget. it costs about 225CAD. u can spend the rest on a nice mobo.
if u want to do video encoding or other more CPU intensive things, quad would be the way to go. more things will become quad-core oriented and be able to support more threads and better multi tasking. right now hardware is ahead of software. there is much more power to be harnessed in quad core processors but most software doesnt run more than one thread across teh processor. the i7 procs can handle 8 threads across the 4 cores.
(great OC potential) and Q9950
seem to be great options for 250CAD and 350CAD, respectively. the Q9550 might be out of ur price range it seems. it will take up the majority of ur budget. a cheaper "budget" quad core, the Q8200
is about 220CAD.
as for ur motherboard:
since u want SLi, u HAVE to get a board with an nvidia chipset. the intel chipset (except the new X58 chipset, which is used with the i7 procs) will not support SLI due to nvidia's licensing "non-agreement" with intel.
a motherboard like this one Evga 750i SLI
would probabvly do well for u. its only 150CAD.
good luck, hope that helps. i hope the currency converter i used was accurate. i just did a bit of quick research to get all that info.Edited by IntelConvert - 2/19/09 at 9:12pm