I completely agree. The last CPU I bought, a quad core Intel Q6600, I understood what it's core count, frequency, and cache were. Nowadays, there have been so many architecture redesigns, cache redesigns, DRAM redesigns, and in some cases frequency downclocks that I can't tell how much money I need to spend to achieve the same performance. I *think* the CPU is fast enough, so I'm not going to buy one until my applications are too slow, and I'll chalk up any slowness I experience in games to my 8800GT card instead.
If I knew what I could get with current-day CPUs, maybe I'd be willing to pay more. It seems like Intel should be focusing more on measuring and selling performance instead of selling numbers.