PC vendors announced new desktop and workstation PCs on Thursday following Intel's launch of its Conroe Core 2 Duo processor.

Intel plans an "extremely fast production ramp" of the new chip design, taking just seven weeks to ship a million chips, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said.

Intel took one year to ship that many Pentium chips, he said. The quick launch will allow vendors to ship desktops to stores by early August and notebooks by late August. A few products are already available now.

The three biggest PC vendors in the US -- Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Gateway -- announced they would replace Intel's Pentium D with the new chip.

The upgrade will allow users to handle digital photos and music 35 per cent faster and play games 47 per cent faster on desktops such as the XPS 410 and Dimension 9200, according to Dell.

Dell will use the similar Core 2 Extreme chip in its Precision 390 workstation, improving graphics performance by 88 per cent for computer-aided design or digital content creation.

HP announced it would use the Core 2 Duo to replace Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips, as it upgrades its xw4300 line to the new xw4400 workstation.

"Power users" from engineers to video editors will see both a large jump in performance and a drop in electricity needs, said Jim Zafarana, vice president of HP's workstation global business unit. The xw4400 will be available in early August for prices starting below $1,000 (around £540).