A high end chip for mainstream money? That'll be the Intel Core i7 930. Based on the mighty Bloomfield core, it's identical in most respects to processors costing up to £800. But it's yours for £200 and change.
Compared to those top chips, the Core i7 930 only gives up a little clockspeed. Still, at 2.8GHz - plus a little extra when Intel's Turbo feature kicks in - it's hardly a slouch on the frequency front. More importantly, you get all the high end Bloomfield features, including four cores, eight threads, a triple-channel memory controller and the uber-bandwidth QPI interface.
Like other Intel processors for the LGA 1,366 socket, the Core i7 930 is arguably over-engineered for the desktop. But like a 1980s Mercedes, there's satisfaction to be had from knowing you own something so impeccably constructed, even if some of the details are overkill.
Of course, like an old Merc, running a 930 doesn't come without cost. Motherboards and memory are expensive. In that context, Intel's own Core i7 870 processor gives a better return on your investment. What's more, the recent arrival of six-core processors from Intel has made Bloomfield a little less desirable.