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Advanced Micro Devices


launched its high-end dual-core processor for desktop computers Tuesday, continuing its top-down strategy not followed by its larger rival,




AMD says its Athlon X2 dual-core chips are now available in boxes from









. The chips were formally introduced at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan.

The X2 will be aimed at so-called prosumers -- someone who wants more computing power than a mainstream consumer -- and digital media enthusiasts, whose video-editing software or audio-mixing programs require higher levels of computational abilities.

Dual-core processors are supposed to help alleviate the processing bottlenecks that typically occur when simultaneous applications are running. Intel

announced availability of its dual-core desktop chip offering last week, which followed the launches by both companies earlier this month of their initial dual-core chips.

AMD's first chips were embedded in servers, while Intel set its in gaming computers. AMD's plan has been to work its dual-core chips into the top of the technology food chain and bring them down into the mainstream; Intel plans on hitting the server market later.

AMD says its approach is best because it's targeting users who really need the benefits of dual-core chips. "We want to help people with what they are doing today," says Jonathan Seckler, Athlon 64 product manager. AMD's single-core Athlon 64 is the company's current mainstream chip.

"Getting dual-core chips out in 2005 is the right time to do it from our perspective and customer perspective, because the high-end consumer has a need for it," Seckler says. "As those needs shift down, during the next 18 months, dual-core will move down the line as that happens."

Intel executives said Thursday that mainstream consumers can benefit now from dual-core processors by helping them better manage local simultaneous users, improve consumer electronics-like capabilities, and manage and protect personal content.

Dual-core chips are able to achieve this through the more efficient processing of information and the ability to concurrently handle multiple streams of data and tasks.