The race between Intel and AMD to be first to market with dual-core processors is about to come to a close. AMD is expected to introduce its first dual-core Opteron processors an event in New York City scheduled for 21 April, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

The event will come in conjunction with the second anniversary of the 64bit Opteron. The first dual-core systems from server vendors are expected to be available around the time of AMD's launch, these sources say.

In the two years since Opteron's appearance, AMD has seized the technological lead from Intel in the server processor space. It was first to market with 64bit processors based on Intel's x86 instruction set, and now it appears likely to beat Intel to market with chips that feature two processing engines, called cores.

But Intel has not stood still. Last week, the Santa Clara, California, company completed its move to 64bit Xeon processors and it has pledged to begin shipping its first dual-core chips, the Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition 840, by the end of June.

AMD spokesperson David Schlosser declines to comment on what his company plans to announce at the April 21 event. "The anniversary event has become a tradition," he says. "It's an opportunity to celebrate the success of our AMD Opteron with our partners and our end-users."

In a note sent to members of the press, AMD claimed it would "have several significant announcements in conjunction with the event."

AMD and Intel may be racing each other to be first with dual-core, but they are actually late to the game. Sun Microsystems and IBM already ship servers based on their own dual-core processors.

Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Sun all ship systems based on the Opteron processor.