I am in process of having a DAW build for me by ADK (I have no business building my own) and went with the E6600 chip. The new Conroe chips outperform AMD chips by a substantial margin, and the mobo's support 8 gigs of ram rather than 4 gigs for AMD mobo's which will be useful if one decides to eventually upgrade to Vista, say a year after its release. I don't recall the link - but if you do a forum search you can probably find it - Scott at ADK has posted performance comparison test results for the main Conroe and AMD chips.
Since Conroe is a new chip design, it is at the beginning of its life cycle, whereas many of the AMD chips are either at, or nearing, the end of their life cycle. Long term upgrading would therefor favor Conroe. As I can only afford a DAW every few years, Scott at ADK urged me to get the Conroe chip precisely for the potential of future upgrades.
OTOH, you can certainly build a very nice DAW with an AMD chip, and if you are after a lower cost system, AMD would be the way to go.
Well, I believe I've made some decisions about my new DAW. Any comments are appreciated,
I will buy:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 - $309
Intel BOXD975XBX2KR motherboard - $280
Corsair XMS2 (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 PC 6400 (needs 1.85 volts is that OK?) - $230 after rebate
3 Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s - @$80 each
Texas Instrument chip FW card (which one? need to plug in two devices)
I already own and will use:
EVGA e-GeForce 7600GT
ProView 19" widescreen monitors
Antec Neo HE 500 Watt PSU
Case, Logitech keyboard and Mouse
External Lacie 160GB FW Drive for back ups.
Surge Protector and UPS
I've got some nice near field monitors, Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones, Couple of Shure mic's, a Tascam FW-1884 interface and a Kurzweil PC1x keyboard.
I plan to put the Windows XP DAW system on one 20GB partition of "Drive One" and a second Windows XP system on a seperate 20GB partition of "Drive One" for normal computing (internet, letters, the usual stuff) and the other 200GB partition for Office files, temporary backups and stuff.
Drive Two for samples, temp directories, paging file and disk images.
And Drive Three - for audio - I might break into 9 or 10 twenty GB partitions for seperate projects (the defrag would be a lot easier and faster).