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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Expensive And Large - Intel D5400XS Motherboard, Continued

For its on-board sound chip, Intel chose the Sigmatel STAC9274 also found on several other Intel motherboards. This chip is considered one of the best on-board sound solutions. The D5400XS also features an optical digital output.

Sigmatel on-board sound chip

In addition to the power and reset switches, the motherboard also sports a Port-80 diagnostic display, a system speaker and a blue HDD-LED.

Speaker and reset button

Port 80 Display

eSATA Ports

D5400XS Motherboard Feature Table
ComponentOn BoardI/O-Shield
PCIe 16x4none
PCIe 4xnonenone
Firewire 1394a11
USB 2.046
Fan (PWM)3none

Board - No Room For High-End Graphics Cards

Four x16 PEG slots

Intel's D5400XS motherboard features four PCI-Express x16 slots for graphics cards. Thus, buyers can create multi-card configurations using either Nvidia's SLI or ATI's Crossfire. Sadly, the spacing between the ports was poorly chosen, accommodating either up to three dual-slot cards or four single-slot cards. This is quite disappointing for a motherboard from the high-end price bracket. While it is true that neither graphics chip company currently offers support for four-card configurations today, the Skulltrail represents the ideal performance basis for just such a setup - and the same should hold true for the expandability and upgrade options. Sadly, this does not hold true for the current design.

  • 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....