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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Intel D5400XS Motherboard, Continued

Intel's board has the dimensions of a large workstation motherboard. Measuring 33 x 30.5 cm, it won't fit into every case, either. Buyers should make sure they have a case large enough to accommodate this bulky board.

The I/O panel of Intel's Skulltrail motherboard

The I/O shield offers only rather limited connectivity options. It lacks serial, parallel and PS/2 ports. There are, however, four USB jack, a Firewire connector and an eSATA port.

Taking a closer look at the board, we find it equipped with a Northbridge, a Southbridge and two PCI-Express port switchers. The Southbridge and the PCI-Express port switchers are covered by a large flat heatsink, which sports a very loud fan. Even when the board is installed in a case, the whistling and hissing of the fan is impossible to tune out.

For network connectivity, the board sports Intel's own 82573L Gigabit LAN chip, which is connected to the chipset via PCI-Express.

LAN chip

  • 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....