Yeah, I also like the 'idea' of AMD. They were founded in 1969 believe it or not, and have made cpus since their first 8080 clone in 1975. Their first original design was the K5 in 1996. It wasn't so great. lol. K6 was also lacking, though the K7 held its own with the Pentium 3.
AMD actually took the performance lead in 2000 with the K7 Thunderbird cpu. Intel's Coppermine core P3 couldn't scale past 1ghz (they actually had to recall the 1.13ghz part). The final P3 core, Tualatin, which topped out at 1.4ghz, was solid, but by then Intel was shipping the first P4 "netburst" architecture cpu - Willamette core, socket 423. It sucked.
The Athlon XP was released in Oct. 2001 and basically handed Intel its !@# for awhile.
In early 2002 Intel countered with the Northwood core P4, socket 478, which introduced the hyperthreading feature, though not all models had it enabled at first. Intel played around with Rambus ram on it's i850 chipset but Rambus was cost-prohibitive. Northwood was enough of a gain that AMD had to adjust their Athlon XP naming scheme. Each model number was 66mhz faster than the previous: XP1500 1.33ghz, XP1600 1.4ghz, XP1700 1.47ghz, etc. It scaled that way until XP2200 @1.8ghz. There was no XP2300, and the XP2400 was clocked at 2ghz. AMD also released a Barton core with more cache to compete as Intel scaled the P4 to the 3.2ghz mark.
Intel didn't really gain an advantage until the i865 chipset was released in May 2003, which featured the first dual channel memory controller. This was a major advantage, but...
In the second half of 2003, AMD's K8 chips were released, introducing the 64-bit instruction set and an on-die memory controller. P4 was decimated. The world rejoiced. This design was headed up by Jim Keller, who AMD recently re-hired. Hopefully he will get a new monster cpu in the pipeline.
In May of 2005, AMD released the A64 X2 - the first dual core cpu. Intel released their Pentium D around the same time, but it failed miserably in comparison.
In August of 2006, Intel's Core2 desktop cpu was released. The Core2 actually traced its roots back to the Pentium Pro through Pentium 3. Intel had released the "Core" cpu as a laptop part because the P4 Netburst used way too much power. The development of this architecture was re-adopted for the desktop for Core2, and AMD has been playing catch-up ever since.
Basically, from the K7 Thunderbird cpu @ 1ghz+ in 2000 until the release of Core2 in 2006, AMD was either in the lead or competitive. God only knows why they imitated Intel's failed Netburst architecture with Bulldozer - lower IPC but higher clock. Meh.
AMD fans will have to hope Jim Keller is Obi-wan Kenobi.