That is the dirty little secret both sides don't want to talk about and why guys like me have branched into home theater and networking setups as there really isn't any reason to upgrade if you aren't one of the 5% or so that push a system to the limit and even they are finding it harder to justify.
What neither chip maker wants to admit is that from 1993 to 2006 what we had was a BUBBLE, no different than the real estate or dotbomb bubbles. The MHz race meant that a 2 year old PC would be seriously struggling to run the latest software and a 3 year old PC probably wouldn't run half of the new programs. In one 4 year stretch I went from 300Mhz to 2200MHz, over 7 times the clockrate while having the memory and storage space just about double with each of the 4 systems between 300Mhz and 2200MHz. Since I too am a gamer during this period I was having to chunk my system almost yearly just because of how quickly the raw power was growing, it was insane.
Now compare to the system I have now....the system is nearly 5 years old, with a 4 year old hexacore and a GPU that has been out nearly 2 years....but why would I build a new one? Thanks to Turbocore my system has no problems playing the latest games, most of which only use a couple of cores, while the RAM is slower DDR2 I have 8 GB of it so games and videos are buttery smooth and with 3TB of HDD space and room for an SSD I'm certainly not hurting on the storage front. All I did was slap in a $100 HD7750 to replace my aging HD4850 (which frankly still played the newer games just fine, it was just a heat monster) and everything plays great, with more bling than I can pay attention to in the heat of battle.
And of course the gamers are the minority...what about the majority? Luckily I have just about the most perfect "Joe Average" test case any PC shop guy could ask for in my dad, his PC usage is about as ordinary and middle of the road as one can get. Webmail, video chat, watching movies, web surfing, you can't get more average when it comes to test cases. When the Phenom IIs dropped right before the Bulldozer release I thought "Ya know, its been awhile since I built him that $199 Phenom I quad special**, now that the prices have dropped maybe its time to upgrade his system" so I ran a log for a couple weeks on his home and office systems just to see how hard they were being slammed...the result? That Phenom I quad was maxing out at 35% and the Pentium Dual at work was maxing out at just 45%!
So there really isn't any reason to upgrade any longer, systems went from "good enough, but just barely" to "fire breathing funny cars that spend more time idling than working". This is also why I have no problem remaining an AMD exclusive shop, as it really doesn't matter if AMD releases on the smallest nm or even comes out with new chips as the ones they have is so overpowered it just isn't funny, and my customers just love how much power I can give them for very little $$$.
**- Man those that missed jumping on the Phenom I don't know what they missed, thanks to the TLB bug I was grabbing those chips for $30 a triple and $45 a quad and to this day they make great desktops, even have a customer that does 3D robotics design on a Phenom I X3 and it works great. The best "bang for the buck" deals right now for those that want a real steal? If you want an HTPC the socket AM1 quads are just nuts, you can grab the APU and the board for less than $100 and if you need an ULV server you can save $15 by swapping the Athlon quad for the Sempron. On the desktop front the Athlon X3s and Phenom X3 on AM3 are just highway robbery, with those chips easily found in the $45 range and paired with a cheap AAC board I'm seeing close to 80% unlocks on these. A 3GHz+ quad for less than $50? You just can't beat that. For the gamers many are recommending the Athlon 750K for FM2 but I'm bucking the trend and saying grab the FX6300 AM3 because you can grab an X6 with a turbo of 4.1 GHz for just $106 shipped. With the FX you are getting two chips in one, a really fast triple for your single threaded games and a hexacore for your multitasking...at $106? Its a steal.