AMD has been around for a long time in one form or another. When I first started working with AMD CPUs they were making 2x86 CPUs under license from Intel. Not too long after that they bought up a small and promising company named NexGen. From there things got interesting.
Before you knew it, AMD had a CPU that simply exploded onto the market and had a little bit of controversy surrounding a commercial put out by AMD at the time. This was the original Slot A Athlon CPU. With this one move (based on the DEC Alpha and in many ways both the EV6 and EV7 bus) AMD had a CPU that pulled them from the "value" market into the hearts of many enthusiasts.
Succeeding the original Athlon was the Opteron and the Athlon 64 which made 64-bit computing a household item. From there AMD began something of a slide when their next CPU offering (the Phenom) was not only delayed, but also had an unfortunate performance issue due to some TLB Errata.
AMD quickly recovered and brought us the Phenom II and Athlon II. These two CPUs have been slowly rebuilding AMD's reputation as a solid CPU designer. While not the first choice of most enthusiasts, AMD has never the less been climbing back into the game with a solid line-up of mainstream and value CPUs that can deliver some serious performance while not breaking the bank.
We have had the chance to try out two new "speed bumps" in the Phenom II line up - the 3.6GHz Phenom II X4 975 BE and the 3.2GHz Phenom II X4 840.