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Gigabyte's Monstrous 6 TFlops Core i7 Prototype Motherboard Pictured

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

San Jose (CA) - Believe it or not, NVISION 08 is not just about Nvidia. Earlier today we met with Gigabyte to see what we can expect from the Taiwanese manufacturer - and got a glimpse at an upcoming motherboard for Intel’s Core i7 processors with Nehalem core. The board, called Extreme Edition, sets several highlights, including the ability to transform your PC in a true deskside supercomputer that offers the processing horsepower of thousands of processors ten years ago.

The prototype board on display was based on Intel’s X58 chipset and supports up to six graphics cards, four PCIe Gen2 x16 slots and two wide-open Gen 2 x4 slots. Due to space constraints there is only Crossfire and no SLI support. So, what can you do with six graphics cards - for example six Radeon 4850 or six Nvidia 9800 GT models?

You could run up to 12 monitors, which should be a dream for any flight simulator enthusiast. While you can run up to four cards in Crossfire (graphics) mode, you can employ all six cards for GPGPU applications and floating point acceleration. The theoretical performance potential of such an environment would be in the 6 TFlops neighborhood for single-precision applications (double precision will cause the performance to drop by 80 to 90 percent.) To put this performance into perspective, consider the fact that Intel’s 1997 Pentium Pro supercomputer with 10,000 CPUs was rated at 1 TFlops.

The actual performance advantage of supercomputers is not entirely based on pure processing horsepower, but also memory capacity, which GPUs cannot match. But the simple thought that you can add six graphics cards with 4,800 processors for about $1,200 to rival the performance of supercomputers that cost billions of dollars a decade ago (at least in some applications) is stunning.

On the power side, Gigabyte’s engineers developed a separated 12-phase power supply for the CPU; a 2-Phase structure is in place for the memory and a separate 2-Phase regulation for the PCI Express slots. The company indicated that there will be room for overclocking and special attention was paid to ensure "workstation-class stability under any conditions."

The board can support up to 24 GB DDR3-1333, or 6 GB of DDR3-1900/2000 memory (using overclocked 2 GB DIMMs). Thanks to the 2-Phase regulation, there should be enough juice to hold future 4 GB DDR3-1333 modules.

The board is still being worked on and the prototype will undergo significant modifications in the storage and cooling department, we were told. The combined air/water-cooling block will be modified so that the six graphics cards can fit. All six SATA ports will be rotated to support extend-length PCIe cards.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2008 9:28 PM
    Wow, what a misleading title. Core i7 is irrelevant to the "6 tflops" performance claim, nor is this mobo particularly an engineering marvel for allowing up to 6 PCI-e cards. Since standard 120v outlets would be hard pressed to reliably provide 1500 watts(before efficiency losses), it would be more than ridiculous to try to actually use 6 x 200+ watt high-end cards on top of other high-end components, without a special power supply that plugs in to a dryer outlet.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , August 26, 2008 10:11 PM
    The title is misleading, but so is calling a 4850 or 9800GT a 200 watt card when its closer to 110-120. A good 1000-1200 watt psu should work.


  • 0 Hide
    grieve , August 26, 2008 10:11 PM
    Not really misleading... I knew before clicking the link that Gigabyte isnt Intel thus dont create i7.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    SirCrono , August 26, 2008 10:26 PM
    Sound like a power hog, not really impressed by it. If they made the board in the 100-200 price range I'd be impressed, really impressed.

    And the power outlets in my home provide 2000 W with ease.
  • 0 Hide
    hsew , August 26, 2008 10:37 PM
    lol. sextuple hd4870 with atomic vapocoolers in tandem for 7.2 TFlops of performance? Me wants
  • 0 Hide
    waffle911 , August 26, 2008 11:42 PM
    I fail to see how you can fit 6 graphics cards in 4 PCI-X slots.
    The picture shows 4. The article says 4. Yet somehow magically 6 can fit.

    Someone please explain this mind-boggling feat.
    P.S. no way you're gonna fit 3 or 4 double cards either. So that won't get you 6.

    That said, put 4 of Sapphire's 4850 1GB cards in there with whatever the best quad Nehalem from Intel and you'd have a bit more than 6 TFlops.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 27, 2008 12:39 AM
    the top two are also pci-e waffle

    but no, it doesn't look like you can shove dual slotted cards in there, but maybe 2x 4870x2's would do? less power consumption than traditional CF right?
  • 0 Hide
    zerapio , August 27, 2008 12:41 AM
    Hey waffle911, I think the 6 comes from summing the two 1x PCIe ports. Are there video cards for those ports? I don't think so.
  • 2 Hide
    TheFace , August 27, 2008 1:52 AM
    Average U.S. household circuit is 15 amp. 120 volt x 15 amp = 1800w. There are usually more robust circuits in the kitchen and bathrooms since people need to use toasters and hair dryers, but a home office I would imagine won't have a 20amp circuit. Aside from all of that, I drool at the thought of 4 4850's in crossfire. If only there was a single slot 4870.
  • 0 Hide
    one-shot , August 27, 2008 2:26 AM
    A household 15A outlet can output a maximum 1800Watts RMS. 15A * 120V = 1800VA. This isn't going to work. The Face..good man. I just read that halfway through my rant, you get +1 for Ohm's Law. As you were saying 20A in the kitchens and bathrooms..impressive knowledge about the NEC natl electric code.
  • 0 Hide
    one-shot , August 27, 2008 2:31 AM
    edit. I meant Circuit and you can always try swapping out your stove and wiring up a 240V receptacle. Ohms law states Current x Voltage = Watts. Double voltage, then current is cut in half. With that being said 1800/240 = 7.5A instead of 15A. Technically it could be done, a PSU is usually more effecient at 240V vs 120V. With a basic 120V 15A circuit tryig to reach 6Tflops..I'm not sure if its very realistic.
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , August 27, 2008 2:36 AM
    Quote:
    I fail to see how you can fit 6 graphics cards in 4 PCI-X slots.
    The picture shows 4. The article says 4. Yet somehow magically 6 can fit.

    Someone please explain this mind-boggling feat.
    P.S. no way you're gonna fit 3 or 4 double cards either. So that won't get you 6.

    That said, put 4 of Sapphire's 4850 1GB cards in there with whatever the best quad Nehalem from Intel and you'd have a bit more than 6 TFlops.


    It clearly says

    Quote:
    The prototype board on display was based on Intel%u2019s X58 chipset and supports up to six graphics cards, four PCIe Gen2 x16 slots and two wide-open Gen 2 x4 slots

    The x4 slots are open ended so the cards can just hang out the back. Its only x4, but for some users that will be enough.

    So 6 x 4850's(or any single slot card) like said or even 3 X2's if you are willing to cripple one with x4(that would hurt.)

    Its nice to see more PCI-E slots on boards.

    Also PCI-E(PCIe) is not PCI-X(this is a extremely common mistake), PCI-X is a older standard used on many server boards.
  • 0 Hide
    Luscious , August 27, 2008 5:09 AM
    I think if mobo makers want to put 6 PCIe slots for use with GPU cards it may be better to start out with an ultra-ATX form factor, and allow room for double-slot cards. Ultra-ATX cases have been available for a while now (Lian Li PC-80) but I've yet to see a mobo out there able to take advantage of 10 slots. Maybe a future Nehalem Skulltrail.
  • 0 Hide
    itstemo1 , August 27, 2008 4:36 PM
    I have been waiting for more PCI/PCIe x16/PCIe x4 on a motherboard.

    I can't SLI and still have a TV Tunner and a Soundcard.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , August 27, 2008 7:38 PM
    You can always run dual 1kW power supplies and hook them up to different circuits.
  • 0 Hide
    Tavarin , August 28, 2008 1:34 PM
    Why is everyone saying you can't put in 4 dual slot cards. It called modification people. Just rip off the fans and put on water cooling blocks, then take a dremal to the back aluminum and you then have a single slot card. Alienware does it all the time as well as most computer modders.

    And does anyone else think that gigabyte boards are really ugly? What's with the colours. Can't they take a design cue from Asus and make darker boards with better colours.