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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Motherboard - Active Cooling Required

Compared to the current X38 desktop chipset, the power consumption of the 5400 workstation part is another few Watts higher. This is due in part to how the Northbridge is still a 90 nm device. When overclocked, Intel's 5400 gets so hot that it requires active cooling.

Intel doesn't include a Northbridge fan with its board, forcing the buyer to find an aftermarket option. We strongly advise against trusting the passive heatsink alone. Either you'll need to ensure that the CPU cooler's airflow also reaches the Northbridge or we recommend installing a fan on the heatsink. In light of the high price of this motherboard, this is a must.

The 5400 Northbridge was designed with system stability as the foremost priority. Thus, the timings of the chips are higher and there are more error correction routines implemented, adversely affecting performance. The performance hit can be attributed in part to how the Northbridge has to manage two CPUs.

  • 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....