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Intel Corp., the world’s largest producer of microprocessors, on Monday said at least three makers of computers had started selling personal computers based on the company’s first ever dual-core chips.

“Computer manufacturers Alienware, Dell and Velocity Micro today started selling desktop PCs and workstations based on Intel's first dual-core processor-based platform. The dual-core processor-based systems are geared for computer hobbyists and entertainment enthusiasts,” the company said in its statement.

Intel's first dual-core processor-based platform includes the Intel Pentium processor Extreme Edition 840 running at 3.20GHz and the Intel 955X Express chipset. The Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 is priced at $999 and the Intel 955X Express Chipset is priced at $50 in 1000-unit quantities.

Systems featuring Intel’s first dual-core microprocessor are available now for the price of $2259 (at Dell) to $4889 (at Alienware).

Having two processing engines instead of one Intel Pentium D and Intel Pentium Extreme Edition processors will be capable of running many applications at the same time more efficiently than the Pentium 4, but the latter is likely to have advantage over the former in single-threaded apps because of higher clock-speeds, as the first dual-core microprocessors from Intel Corp. will work at 2.80 – 3.20GHz speeds, much lower compared to 3.80GHz of single-core processors.

Later during the year Intel Corp. will introduce dual-core Intel Pentium D processors that operate at 2.80GHz, 3.00GHz and 3.20GHz and do not feature Hyper-Threading capability. All desktop dual-core chips are expected to sport EM64T, XD bit as well as Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technologies.

Intel Pentium processors with two processing cores require a mainboard based on i945P/G- or i955X chipsets to operate and are unlikely to work on existing i915- and i925-series chipsets. While the Pentium D chips themselves are expected be relatively affordable, an Intel executive advised not to expect rapid transition of the company’s desktop microprocessors to dual-core tech this year.

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