I need to buy a laptop for school. I need it for note-taking and downloading music. I really don't need it for anything else. I have a budget of $350. I know nothing about processors but I noticed that there seems to be a difference between AMD and intel processors, although I do not know what that difference is. Can someone explain it to me, and possibly make a recommendation as to what kind of processor I should purchase? Any advice is appreciated!
For your budget and usage, you are looking at getting a Netbook. I think they usually come with the Intel Atom series processors.
Between AMD and Intel processors, AMD doesn't make high end processors, so if you need something heavy duty, there's no AMD equivalent to an i5-2500k or higher. The main difference between Intel and AMD at the low end and mid range processors is that AMD has more cores while Intel has better performance per core. What this means is that heavily threaded applications, like video encoding, will favor AMD. For anything that doesn't require as many cores, Intel will function better.
Both Intel and AMD are building integrated processors with graphics built into the CPU nowadays. Intel dominates in the area of pure CPU power but lags well behind AMD in graphics performance. There are Intel laptops with add-on graphics from Nvidia or AMD but those are more expensive.
For your needs I wouldn't worry too much about it: mainstream chips from either vendor are more than "good enough" to do basic stuff quickly and responsively.
Any modern dual core cpu has the power for your needs.
You might be more concerned with the size and weight of the unit.
There are some good deals now, as vendors are selling out older models, in anticipation of upcoming ivy bridge based models.