Intel Corp. unveiled its first mainstream home PC microprocessor with two computing engines on a single chip Thursday and vowed to sell millions of them by the end of the year.
The Pentium D processor and supporting chips will target home computer users, particularly those who run more than one program at once or have software that is designed to take advantage of the extra computing horsepower of the chips' dual cores.
"We're shipping 100,000 this quarter, and we're going to ship millions by the end of the year," said Gerald Holzhammer, vice president of Intel's Digital Home Group. "This is a big deal for us. It's the first time dual core will make a real impact on the marketplace."
Intel also is hoping to persuade PC makers to include other technologies that make up the chip maker's "digital home" platform, including a chipset that improves graphics, sound, storage and security capabilities.
It's part of Intel's recent strategy to supply more than just microprocessors to computer markers. The move started in 2003, when Intel launched its Centrino technology that includes a processor, chipset and wireless radio tuned to work together in notebook computers.
The home desktop platform has not received a brand name, though executives said the matter was under consideration.
The Pentium D is not Intel's first dual-core chip. Earlier this month, Intel started shipping its Extreme Edition Pentium for PC enthusiasts and gamers. But its steep price tag — as high as $1,000 per chip — has kept it from the reach of most home users.
When purchased in volume, Pentium D prices range from $241 to $530 with speeds from 2.8 gigahertz to 3.2 GHz. Supporting chipsets range from $38 to $42.
Also Thursday, Intel announced the launch of a business desktop platform that features a greater maximum memory, remote management tools and security features. In its current form, the business platform doesn't include dual-core chips.
Next month, Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is expected to launch its first dual-core chips for mainstream desktop computers. AMD has already launched a dual-core chip for servers.
Intel shares rose 37 cents to close at $27.37 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. AMD shares rose 20 cents, to $16.36, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.