Pretty straight forward, are the Intel compilers worth getting? I do mostly systems level and desktop work so I figure I might benefit. Can anyone with some more experience shed some light?
If you are on Windows, they do provide a nice speed boost over other compilers on Intel processors. There is a known behavior where they pick a very slow code path with non-Intel processors (AMD, VIA), and antitrust probes surrounding the issue.
If you use the thread building blocks or other features, you also risk tying your code to the Intel compiler long term as the functionality doesn't exist elsewhere.
GCC 4.5 on Linux is nearly on-par with the Intel compiler. There is no clear winner on that platform.