Dual Duel Rages On

A raft of announcements was expected to be timed with the start of the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, this week, with some PC makers already getting into the act.

Lenovo, Alienware and Hewlett-Packard were among the first system vendors last week to introduce PCs and workstations based on Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel's new Pentium D 840 dual-core processor.

The Pentium D 840 has two physical processors, each with its own level-2 cache, on a single chip to allow the running of multithreaded applications or the simultaneous running of multiple applications.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD, meanwhile, was on the verge of formally rolling out its first desktop, dual-core chip—the X2—and said it had already lined up at least 40 system builders and OEMs to launch designs based on the chip.

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While the amount of buzz in the industry over the dual-core processors has continued to increase, some in the channel say its full-blown adoption may lag by a few quarters. "There is fascination at this point," said Steven Garcia, vice president of sales at OmniPro Systems, a Sacramento, Calif.-based system builder.

In the case of Intel, he said, many of his company's customers have standardized on systems with the current Intel 915 chipset and are not yet ready to make a transition to the Intel 945 chipset, which accommodates its dual-core chips.

For others, the new chip is offering the opportunity for milestones now.

Lenovo's new ThinkCentre M52 and ThinkCentre A52 desktop PCs not only represent its first move into the dual-core PC business, but also are its first new products to be released since the China-based company acquired IBM's PC division earlier this year, said Dilip Bhatia, program director and manager of Lenovo's worldwide ThinkCentre brand.

Both models include such Intel technology as the 945G chipset, Hyper-Threading, High Definition Audio and the Graphics Media Accelerator 950, Bhatia said.

HP introduced the HP xw4300 Workstation and the HP Compaq dc7600 Business Desktop PC with dual-core Intel processors, said Jeff Wood, director of product marketing for the Palo Alto, Calif., company's personal workstation business.

Alienware, the Miami-based system vendor that has a strong following among "power users," said it was making available its Area-51 5500 desktops, Area-51 ALX desktops and MJ-12 5500 workstations with the Intel Pentium D. Previously, the company had said it was shipping a dual-core workstation based on AMD's Opteron processor.