Dual-core processor technology has been all the rage over the past few months. AMD's release of its low-cost Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 3800+ processor made dual-core computing highly affordable for the average buyer.

However, AMD has now set its sights on the extreme user by introducing dual-core technology to its high-end FX series of processors. So let's have a warm welcome for the Athlon 64 FX-60, which we hope will enjoy its stay in the PC Advisor Test Centre.

This processor roadmap by AMD sees the company wooing the intensive-apps market. Next-generation games players, computer-aided design software users and anyone interested in seeing how quickly the FX-60 can chew through multitask apps will be united in the quest to get their hands on this lightning-fast processor.

What we should all know by now about dual core is that it offers two processor cores on a single piece of silicon, boosting performance and reducing power consumption compared with two single-core processors. The FX-60 runs at 2.6GHz, has 1MB of Level 2 cache on each core and has an effective data bandwidth of 14.4Gbps (gigabits per second). In other words, va va voom. However, as with other dual-core processors, the main benefits of the FX-60 won't be fully realised until software developers write consumer-based programs that utilise two processors. Today, these are few and far between - but it's an environment that should be right around the corner.

AMD was good enough to send us a processor to review, but the FX-60 didn't come in the usual white-box system (a PC built for testing purposes that is not for sale) - Mesh has come up with a new model, imaginatively called the Xtreme FX-60. Watch out for our review in the March issue.

This article appears in the March 06 issue of PC Advisor, on sale now!