Wow Tim, I honestly think you have too much time on your hands
That's some good research.
As for the K&N, it's like the Heinz 57 of the CAI world. There are better ones out there, and there are worse, but everyone still knows and trusts it. If you want a good intake on a budget, it's probably the best way to go. I'd also look at the AirAid which is a comparable CAI.