That was certainly a lot to look at! Recent CPU's and plans for the future at AMD and Intel, major innovations in on-board graphics, Radeon GPUs landing a solid 1-2 punch to nVidia in the upper midrange, and everything else discussed combine to impact your chipset decision.
People on a budget have a lot of suitable options. With AMD CPUs topping out just over $200 and competing effectively on a price/performance basis with Intel CPUs, both choices make sense, though one could argue that the ability to upgrade to a nicer CPU makes Intel the winner. While you won't see the next generation Nehalem CPU's on boards available today, there will still be plenty of Core 2's to choose from through the next year, complete with falling prices. The 45nm Phenoms, called Deneb, will likely run on current chipsets for AMD CPUs, but they don't appear to quite close the gap with Intel's Penryns.
On the Intel side, boards based on the P35 offer a wide variety of options, allowing builders to find one that has everything they need without breaking the bank on features they don't. The weak point of the chipsets for Intel CPU's is definitely the on-board graphics. For those who don't use discrete GPU's but would still like some graphics ability, Intel's G prefixed chipsets (the ones with on-board graphics) and nVidia's offerings can't keep up to the chipsets that support AMD processors.