AMD will ship a dual-core version of its 64-bit Athlon chip in the second half of this year, but it won't be targeted at the high-end of the market, the company has revealed. It will be demonstrated at AMD's headquarters later today.

Dual-core microprocessors contain two processor cores on a single piece of silicon, giving desktop and mobile PCs improved multi-tasking and multi-media capabilities compared to PCs based on single-core processors. This means users can burn a DVD on their PC while simultaneously encoding high-resolution videos and running a security application in the background, it said.

Despite these advantages, AMD said its high-end desktop processor will remain a single-core chip - the Athlon 64 FX - even after the introduction of the dual-core Athlon 64. "The AMD Athlon 64 FX processor will continue to be the gamers' PC of choice," AMD said in a presentation detailing the dual-core Athlon 64.

The announcement of a dual-core chip for desktop and notebook PCs follows AMD's earlier announcement of dual-core chips for servers and workstations. The company began shipping samples of its dual-core Opteron processors last month and will begin shipping dual-core processors for workstations and multiprocessor servers during the middle of this year.

The dual-core Athlon 64 processors will be produced using a 90-nanometer chip-manufacturing process. The chips will be pin-compatible with the motherboard socket that is used with single-core versions of the Athlon 64, it said. Further details were not made available.