Intel will release a new Pentium processor this year that can run up to four software tasks at the same time.

Pentium Extreme Edition will include two processor cores, each of which will support Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, making it ideal for users who are running games or digital audio and video on their PCs.

The pre-announcement is an attempt to steal some of the thunder from IBM, Sony and Toshiba who revealed their new super-chip called The Cell yesterday in San Francisco, which Sony intends to put in its PlayStation3.

Intel plans to ship its processor in combination with a new chipset called the Intel 955X Express - codenamed Glenwood - which will include DDR-2 memory, the PCI-Express interconnect and support for Intel's High Definition Audio technology.

A dual-core Pentium without the Hyper-Threading technology is expected in the same timeframe. Codenamed Smithfield, this processor will be available in two separate chipsets, called the 945G Express and the 945P Express.

Initial versions of the dual-core Pentiums have now been manufactured, and Intel expects to deliver both products, along with their respective chipsets, by the end of June.

Intel's decision to add a Hyper-Threaded Pentium processor to its roadmap comes four months after the company shelved plans to deliver a 4GHz single-core Pentium processor, which had been expected in early 2005. At the time, the chip maker explained the decision by saying it planned to focus on other priorities, like delivering multi-core capabilities to its upcoming processors.

Though Intel's first dual-core chips are only starting to emerge, they will dominate the company's product line by 2006. Dual-core chips will account for more than 80 percent of the server chips and 70 percent of the Pentium desktop and mobile processors sold by the chip maker next year, Intel predicts.

Intel is expected to ship a 64-bit version of its single-core Pentium, called the 6XX, within the next two months. After that, however, the company has no other publicly announced single-core chips on the Pentium roadmap.

Tom Krazit in San Francisco contributed to this report.