From Athlon to Athlon64, AMD beat the crap out of Intel's Pentium. It matters little if it was due to good design by AMD or poor design by Intel, AMD had the performance crown back then, and that's not going to change. Therefore, at the time, AMD was better. That's just it.
Nono, not until Conroe.. Just after the P4 was released and until Conroe, which is only a couple of years, that was the time where AMD was the wiser choice for normal consumers. But that wasn't really due to superior design by AMD was it? It was mainly because Intel decided to go for long pipes and high clock-speeds, rather than good clock-for-clock performance, which turned out to be the wrong way to go..