The Nehalem architecture is an impressive setup and with Core i7 1366 CPUs was able to show off some pretty impressive performance. The problem is that the 1366 CPUs are just plain expensive. When you combine them with the cost of an X58 chipset based motherboard and a good triple-channel DDR3 kit, you are talking about serious money.
The extra cost hurt Intel with the mainstream community especially given the economic problems that happened in conjunction with the Core i7 original launch. AMD for their part saw an opportunity and acted. They priced their Phenom II X4 and chipsets to undercut Intel. They knew they could not compete with the Core i7 in a clock for clock war, so they hit the market where it counted; in the wallet.
However, Intel was not lying down they already had Lynnfield on the block and were working on providing a CPU to the mainstream that could offer the same advantages that the 1366 Core i7 could, but at a lower price. This CPU launched recently and it seems to be everything that Intel needed. It competes and even outperforms more expensive and higher clocked AMD CPUs while maintaining a lower price and power consumption.
The chipset behind this is also impressive and completes the mainstream offering from Intel. This is the P55 Express chipset. Let's take a look at what this has to offer in terms of features and some basic performance.