I\'ve found AMD Athlons as capable as P4s for pretty much everything. There were problems with Via chipsets about 5 years ago and some people have long memories, but there are no significant problems now. I did see an article recently that showed benchmarks between P4s and Athlon XPs and in almost all of them the Athlons performed better.
There\'s a mind set that if you\'re paying more for it, it must be better. Many buy Intel because they believe they\'re getting the most compatible hardware for their software. They believe that software companies write to the Intel platform. If your applications actually use the SSE2 instruction set that may be a valid belief. I believe AMD is now making processors that use these instructions, but frankly don\'t know for sure. The denormalization bug is doing much to quell Intel\'s momentum for many applications. It doesn\'t look like they\'re very concerned about it.
The bottomline is I have 3 AMD based systems that I built myself and they\'re all stable and fast. What problems I\'ve had are related to sound card drivers more than anything else. At this point if I could afford RME for every machine I would.