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.
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.
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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.