Intel has started shipping its first low-end desktop chip with two cores. The 1.6GHz dual-core Celeron is based on Intel's Core microprocessor architecture and is manufactured using a 65-nanometre process. It has 512KB of cache and uses an 800MHz front-side bus to connect with main memory and other components inside the PC.

Intel is selling the Celeron Dual-Core E1200 chips for $53 (£27) each, in quantities of 1,000 units.

The release of the E1200 underscores how prevalent dual-core chips have become. The Celeron family is the low end of Intel's mainstream processor range, below the mid-range Pentium family and top-end Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad lines. The release of the Celeron E1200 means Intel now has multi-core processors in each of these product families.

Intel already offers a range of dual-core chips in its Pentium line: the 1.6GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2140, 1.8GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2160, 2GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2180, and the 2.2GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2200. The Pentium Dual-Core chips are priced from $64 to $84, in 1,000 unit quantities.