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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Trail Of Skulls

Thus, the situation was suddenly much less threatening for Intel than anticipated. Nonetheless, the company went through its product list and placed server components on a desktop board. The result is the Skulltrail platform that should be able to dwarf anything else available for the desktop space as far as performance is concerned. Due to the multitude of information, benchmarks and test results, we have split our findings into three articles covering different aspects.

Combining these two processors yields a desktop performance monster. If we simply added up the numbers, we'd get "25.6 GHz of Core 2 performance" with a total L2 Cache of 24 MB. Overclocking the system results in a full "32 GHz."

With today's launch of the Skulltrail system, Intel is (ironically) following in AMD's footsteps. The Intel D5400XS motherboard and the new Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processor both hail from the workstation line of products and use socket 771. The motherboard is compatible with all current Xeon processors. As a result, it is possible to equip the system with smaller quad-core processors, which cost up to 75% less.

Intel's eight-core desktop technology really needn't fear any opposition, with one exception: the software companies. Since there is very little software available that offers support for up to eight threads, the price-to-performance ratio of the Skulltrail system stands on a very shaky foundation.

Another drawback of the new platform is its immense appetite for power, setting a new (if questionable) record for highest power consumption of a single desktop system. Thus, buyers will invest not only in the system itself, but also in their energy bill.

The platform is still plagued by a number of problems as well. In the end, we can't help but feel that the people in marketing got more than a little carried away and lost their grasp on reality.

For some of the editors, this launch feels like a déjà vu. We saw AMD's 4x4 platform come and go - will Intel's Skulltrail suffer the same fate?

  • 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....