HP will offer Core 2 Duos in several consumer desktops at first. One, its Pavilion d4600y, will be offered direct to consumers with standard features that include a Core 2 Duo E6300, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a DVD burner and Nvidias GeForce 7300LE graphics card, for a starting price of $899, said Shagorika Dixit, product manager for consumer desktops at HP in Palo Alto, Calif. Dell, meanwhile, began offering Core 2 Duo in desktops, including its XPS 410 and XPS 700. The XPS 410 combines a Core 2 Duo E6300 processor with 1GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, an Nvidia GeForce 7300LE graphics card and a 20-inch flat panel monitor for $1,595, Dells site shows.The company will also offer a Dimension 2900 desktop for a starting price of about $1,000, Dell representatives said.Gateway unveiled its Gateway FX510 desktop line, which will offer Pentium D and Core 2 Duo. A Core 2 Duo version with the E6400 chip, 2GB of RAM, 320GB of hard drive capacity, an ATI Radeon X1900XT graphics card and a 21-inch flat panel monitor starts at $2,199, Gateways Web site shows. PC makers, thus far, have had good things to say about Intels new chips. "This is definitely a processor to watch out for in the future," Dixit said. "The performance is good, compared to the previous generation of processors" from Intel. But HP, Dixit said, will offer Core 2 Duo alongside AMDs Athlon 64 X2. "We like to offer consumers a choice," she said. "AMD has addressed a lot of this [difference in performance between Core 2 Duo and Athlon 64 X2] with appropriate pricing. Theres a value for both itll be reflected on our roadmap, especially in retail." The Core 2 Duo, as noted by HPs Dixit, has had other effects on the market. Its arrival has prompted price cuts by Intelwhich dropped prices on its Pentium 4 and Pentium D chipsas well as AMD. Those cuts are expected to help proliferate dual-core processors, which package two processors into a single chip and thus offer greater performance. With the launch of the Core 2 Duo chip, Intel lowered prices of its Pentium D chips by up to 40 percent. Its family of Pentium Ds now list for between $93 and $316. AMD, in response, lowered Athlon 64 X2 prices significantly. Its Athlon 64 X2 chips now range from $152 for a Model 3800+ to $301 for its top-end 5000+. Click here to read about Intels plans to deliver chips with tens of cores in the future. The lower mean dual-core desktops will now cost less, making them available to a wider range of customers. "What well likely see in the short term is a tremendous amount of activity on the Pentium D," McCarron said. "The Core 2 Duo will occupy the top bins of the market for dual-core, and the mainstream or even the upper end of the value PC market is going to migrate to dual-core probably this quarter," McCarron said. Buyers can already find dual-core desktops in the $500 range, which is considered a sweet spot for consumer PCs. HPs Pavilion a1520y desktop, in just one example, can be fitted with a Pentium D 805Intels entry-level dual-core desktop chipfor as little as $539 after rebates via HPshopping.com. The site also offers Pavilion a1550 desktops starting at $629, after rebates, with Pentium D or Athlon 64 X2 chips. Core 2 Duo business desktops and notebooks, meanwhile, will arrive in coming weeks. Many of the Core 2 Duo business desktops, machines such as HPs new xw4400 Workstation and Dells Precision 390 workstation are expected to arrive in early August. Meanwhile, Core 2 Duo notebooksmany of which will be upgraded versions of existing machinesare expected to arrive by the end of August. Many of the Core 2 Duo notebooks will be aimed at consumers. Notebook are likely to wait to deliver all-new Core 2 Duo business machines until the first half of 2007, during which time Intel will roll out Santa Rosa, a new chip platform for notebooks. For its part, Intel has put a great deal of emphasis on its ability to ship its Core Microarchitecture processorswhich provides the circuitry that underlies chips like Core 2 Duoahead of schedule. Intel aims to continue the trend in the fourth quarter, during which it plans to deliver its first quad-core chips, including Kentsfield for desktops and Clovertown for servers. However, Intel has not yet clarified whether or not the quads will be available for purchase in PCs and servers before the end of the quarter. Editors Note: This story was updated to include more information and comments from Intel executives and PC manufacturers. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.