I hear ya' OP- $299 for a Q9550. That's more than my CPU would cost brand new!
I've been eyein' the LGA775 CPUs @ newegg as well. Some have come down though, like this E8200
. Refurbished, yeah, but it's under $100 and it's be a rockin' dual core system. I know more and more games can benefit from a quad core, but most still do okay on a strong dual core system, and unless you're an enthusiast a dual core is plenty for just basic desktop usage.