When shopping for a computer, you will see both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) desktops and laptops for sale. Intel and AMD produce central processing units (CPU) that power computers.
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Frequency, given in gigahertz (GHz), is the speed of a CPU. In multicore processors, the frequency is the same for each core, so that a 2.2 GHz dualcore CPU has a 4.4 GHz overall speed. Gigahertz is a definite unit of measurement, but a 3 GHz Intel is not equal to the processing speed of a 3 GHz AMD. The internal workings of each brand's CPUs are different. While the frequency of a CPU remains the most important factor in determining its speed, comparing Intel and AMD CPUs gets tricky in this regard. As a rule of thumb, AMD CPUs have lower frequency ratings than their Intel counterparts.
Budget, Mid-Range, High-End
Both Intel and AMD use names to differentiate their budget, mid-range and high-end processors. Celeron and Sempron are budget CPUs by Intel and AMD, respectively, although Celeron is considered the most low-end of all processors due to decreased overall features. Pentium D processors run at the high end of the budget Intel models. As of 2010, Intel's Core Duo and Core 2 Duo are the company's mid-range CPUs. These compete with AMD's Athlon II and Phenom X3 and X4. The top-performing CPUs, as of 2010, are Intel's Core i7 and AMD's Phenom II X6.
AMD competitively prices its CPUs in order to stay in the Intel-dominated market. While branded, prebuilt computers and laptops tend to be Intel-based, AMD processors are commonly found in budget models.