Gigabyte's Monstrous 6 TFlops Core i7 Prototype Motherboard Pictured

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.

  • 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.
  • nukemaster
    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.

  • grieve
    Not really misleading... I knew before clicking the link that Gigabyte isnt Intel thus dont create i7.
  • SirCrono
    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.
  • hsew
    lol. sextuple hd4870 with atomic vapocoolers in tandem for 7.2 TFlops of performance? Me wants
  • waffle911
    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.
  • eklipz330
    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?
  • zerapio
    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.
  • TheFace
    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.
  • one-shot
    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.