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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Memory - FB-DImms Less Expensive Than DDR3

At the moment, a 1 GB FB-DIMM module costs around €45 Compare Prices on 1 GB FB-DIMM Memory , making it twice as expensive as a DDR2 device. Compared to DDR3, on the other hand, it is 60% cheaper. Kingston makes most of the FB-DIMMs on offer in retail channels. In general, there isn't really a wide selection of FB-DIMMs.

Memory timings are also worse compared to conventional DDR2 memory. 533 MHz FB-DIMMs run at CL 4.0-4-4 , while 667 MHz modules are even slowed to 5.0-5-5. The review samples, which cannot be bought in stores, are clocked at 800 MHz and have 5.0-5-5-15 timings

FB-DImms: The 667 MHz Test Modules

Intel provided two 800 MHz FB-DIMM modules from Kingston for this test. These modules are engineering samples, and there are currently no modules available in stores at this speed. The samples used a timing of 5.0-5-5-15, which we were unable to improve even with voltage tweaks.

We had four 667 MHz Qimonda modules at our disposal for the quad-channel tests. We were able to set them to run at CL 4.0-4-4-12 without any problems.

Since the quad-channel configuration is much faster when it comes to write performance, we did not use the dual-channel mode for the tests.

FB-DImms - High Power Consumption And Up To 60°C

FB-DIMMs consume 2.36 times as much power as DDR2 memory.

In its manual, Intel recommends equipping the memory with an active fan. No fan is included with the system, however, and we're not sure how Intel imagines it should be mounted anyway.

Intel has a point, though. When one of our lab engineers attempted to swap some of the memory modules, he got a nasty burn for his trouble. When we measured the temperature of the FB-DIMM module, the thermometer indicated it was almost 60°C!

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  • white1widow
    I agree that the Skulltrail rig with two QX9775's is hands down the most incredible thing as of late. with a dual 9800gx2 SLI option its the gamers dream and could devour any game. As far as 8 core dual proc setups its the most powerful and obviously the most expensive. Being the most powerful means that everyone wants it and being the most expensive means that only the few, dedicated and rich enthusiast will have it... The rest of people who realize the power of a dual quad system will go Quad FX - the drasticaly cheaper route. I paid $600 for two FX72 at 2.8ghz and the quadfather motherboard. And I get incredible performance not far behind what skulltrail benchmarks indicate. I can multitask and an astounding level using XP64bit and a 5 drive raid + 4gb DDR2. So basically my point is this: Intel has created the most incredible rig (skulltrail), but nobody can afford it. thats not bringing power to the masses, its ripping folks off. That is why whenever Intel comes out with something awesome, I will always go and purchase the immensesly comparable AMD alternative at 1/4 the price. Dual FX72's is more than any nerd will ever need, if need be, I will simply upgrade to dual quad opterons and ECC memory.
  • xcorat
    So does anybody have a recommendation on a northbridge fan I can use?
    preferably easy to install?( I really hate to take the motherboard out on that monster.)
    I agree W1W, Performance and Value have to balance for most of us these days....