Intel Launches 8-core Skulltrail Enthusiast Platform

Santa Clara (CA) - Skulltrail is about as useful to the average PC user as a Ferrari in your daily commute. But, of course, if you have the money to spare, the dual-socket board with two 3.2 GHz processors rewards you with supercar-like bragging rights.

We have been talking about Skulltrail for more than a year and today the platform finally launched. It delivers on Intel's promise to be an innovation showcase that caters to the "ultimate enthusiast". It is about as extreme as consumer hardware can get these days.

The foundation of Skulltrail is Intel's first dual-socket consumer eATX board D5400XS, which is based on technology Intel has used for Xeon boards. The D5400XS uses the 5400 chipset and provides support for FSB1600, up to 8 GB FB DDR2 memory as well as two LGA771 45 nm Core 2 Extreme processors or two 45 nm/65 nm Xeon CPUs. Other features include ten USB 2.0 ports, six SATA II ports, as well as two Firewire interfaces.

Since it is a game platform, Intel recommends using two quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors. The CPUs are clocked at 3.2 GHz, come with 12 MB L2 cache and a bunsen-burner thermal design power of 150 watts each. Intel claims that Skulltrail has reached a 3DMark06 score of 6481 and 20,160 points on Cinebench 10 when running at the standard 3.20 GHz frequency.

Obviously, price shouldn't be an object for anyone considering a Skulltrail system. The D5400XS board is priced at $650, while the QX9775 CPU carries a price tag of $1500 (each). Falcon Northwest was among the first to be offering a Skulltrail system to its customers with a starting price of $10,034.57. The package includes a 1000 watt power supply, 4 GB of memory, two GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics cards, two 1 TB hard drives as well as a DVD burner and Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit). A fully configured Skulltrail system tops out at just under $17,000.