Many people that don't know much about computers usually see Intel and automatically connect it to computers. I mean who doesn't know what "Intel inside" means? Thanks to AMD, Intel doesn't have a complete dominance on the processor market and the consumers are the ones that luck out on this.
I remember getting my first AMD processor back int he X86 days and AMD still continues to impress. Do they always have the fastest processor on the market? No....but they always have a competitive prices product, that works without hickups.
I was building a new system and I didn't have the money to afford the top of the line Intel or AMD processor, so I bought a AMD Athlon X2 4800+ AM2 processor. I wanted something with decent performance and wasn't that expensive. At Newegg.com I purchased this processor for $60.99. It was the retail version with the fan and warranty. It was simple to install on my AM2 motherboard and putting on the fan couldn't have been easier. It took approximately 1 minute to do both.
The processor is a 2.5 GHZ, AM2, 65 W dual core processor. It also has a 2x512kb L2 Cache as well.
The difference between the single and duel core processors, are the increase in the way applications use this second core. Making video processing faster, and in some instances games. My overall computing has been much smoother. Just think of it as two processors on one chip.
With the recent release of trippe and quad core CPUs, the price of these chips should continue to drop, and if your looking to build a new system without breaking the bank...you won't be dissatisfied!