Intel has now begun shipping the first of a new generation of dual-core processors. AMD is also now preparing to launch a rival, competing product new week as well, it seems.

Just in case you don't know, dual-core processors meld two separate processor cores into one package. This allows two separate processing units to operate independently in a single PC, improving performance while multitasking. Dual-core is seemingly the future form of CPU offerings from Intel and AMD.

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.

"We just passed an important milestone. Intel is shipping the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 running at 3.2 GHz and Intel(r) 955X Express Chipsets, Intel's first dual-core processor-based platform, to our customers." - Abhi Talwalkar, the general manager of Intel's digital enterprise group.