This is why when a store clerk tells you AMD is faster than Intel or vice versa when you're buying a computer – they're simply sharing their personal preference. Why? Because the computers you're looking at cost less than the fastest processors available (mainly made by Intel). When it comes to consumer processors, the brand is MUCH less important than the type, speed, and amount of cache. If you stick with the 'i' series from Intel (i3/i5/i7) or A Series from AMD (A4/A6/A8/A10) for the average desktop or laptop you're doing fine. Roughly the higher you go on each scale the better. Unless you have a tech friend who can give you specifics about the processor in a model you are looking at vs others – the higher you can get on a scale dollar for dollar, the better deal you're getting (say $500 for an A10 laptop vs an i5 laptop, etc) It's rough and not perfect – but a decent rule of thumb. Unless you use your laptop on battery a lot. Right now Intel IS better in that regard with their 'Haswell' processors. But most people stay plugged in most of the time and if so it's less of an issue.

Timeline Photos
The third quarter of 2014 will be an excellent time to upgrade, as Intel is readying an 8-core Haswell-E platform with hyperthreading and DDR4 memory. The bad news is these chips will probably cost $1,000, so start filling up your piggy bank now.