Putting two processor cores on the same piece of silicon can provide a huge boost to server performance.
IBM has already rolled out the high-performance Power4 processor. Hewlett-Packard plans to produce dual-core PA-RISC chips next year, and Sun Microsystems also expects to offer dual-core UltraSPARC III chips in 2003.
Mike Fister, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's enterprise platforms group, explained the company decision at the Intel Developer Forum.
He described dual-core processors as "a natural thing to do and a neat concept", but added, "You have to have applications that can take advantage of the technology."
Intel has just released the second-generation Itanium 2 chip, which is proving popular in servers with between one and four processors.
It would not make sense for Intel to head toward dual cores until Itanium becomes more widely used among top-end servers, Fister said.
This will involve challenging Sun, IBM and HP, which dominate the high-end chip market.
Intel will release new Itanium chips next year, still under the Itanium 2 brand. The company will deliver a chip code-named Madison between June and September 2003. It will follow that with a chip codenamed Deerfield that consumes less power than existing Itanium chips.