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Intel Beats AMD to dual chip ship

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Intel Corp., the world's largest chip maker, said on Monday it has begun shipping the first of a new generation of personal computer microprocessors that combine the power of two chips into one.

Intel's arch-rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., is preparing to introduce a similar chip next week, a person briefed on the company's plan has said.

The technology, called dual-core, allows two separate processing units to operate independently in a single PC, improving performance while multitasking. The transition, analysts have said, gives AMD a key opportunity to take business away from Intel, which commands more than 80 percent of the market.

Both Intel and AMD have moved aggressively to introduce dual-core chips across their entire product lines -- from chips for servers to desktops to notebooks. Both companies now appear set to begin selling dual-core chips within days of one another.

Intel's first dual-core parts will be used in PC workstations -- used for high-end computing tasks like graphic design -- and in gaming PCs that need high horsepower to process high-resolution graphics and sound. Dell Inc said on Monday that it would soon begin selling workstations and "enthusiast" PCs with Intel's Extreme Edition processor.

Abhi Talwalkar, the general manager of Intel's digital enterprise group, announced that the company was shipping dual-core parts at a company-sponsored conference in Taiwan.

"We just passed an important milestone," Talwalkar said in a statement announcing the plans. "Intel is shipping the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 running at 3.2 GHz and Intel 955X Express Chipsets, Intel's first dual-core processor-based platform, to our customers."

Last year, Intel and AMD accelerated plans to switch to dual-core products after finding they could make only marginal speed improvements on standard microprocessors. The companies' initial chips, however, will target different markets.

Intel's chips -- the Extreme Edition and a more mainstream part called Pentium D -- are designed to be used in desktop computers. AMD's dual-core Opteron, meanwhile, is designed for PC servers, the business computers that perform tasks like hosting Web sites and managing e-mail traffic.

By the end of next year, both chip makers will introduce dual-core parts for all three PC markets -- notebooks, desktop and servers.


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