More than half of U.S. adults with computers use their machines to edit digital photos, listen to music and share pictures on the Internet, Harris Interactive said. In addition, close to half play games on the Internet, 40 percent create their own music CDs and more than a quarter play graphic intensive video games.
In addition, more than two-thirds of the more than 1,000 computer user surveyed by Harris said they ran multiple applications at a time, and 44 percent said they used computers that were two or more years old.
The increasing demand on older computers combined with the high awareness of dual-core technology has created a promising future for new computers, which are expected to eventually ship in large numbers with the performance-boosting double processors, Harris said. Fully 52 percent of computer users said they were either very familiar or somewhat familiar with dual-core processing technology.
Among those people who heard of the technology, three quarters said they believed it was useful, and 12 percent said they owned a dual-core computer.
"I see it as a very promising technology for people that are going to buy a computer," Harris researcher Milton Ellis said.
Manufacturers expected to lead the market were the same leaders in shipments of single-processor computers, namely Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., which also owns the Compaq brand, Ellis said.
However, with 48 percent saying they were "honestly clueless" about dual-technology, computer manufacturers would have to continue to work hard at driving awareness, providing incentives and explaining benefits, the research firm said.