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Intel Skulltrail Part 1: The Power of 8 Cores

Motherboard: Intel 6321ESB Southbridge

Skulltrail 6321ESB Southbridge

Since the Skulltrail system is based on a workstation chipset, it also uses the corresponding workstation Southbridge. Intel's 6321ESB connects to the 5400 Northbridge either via four PCI-Express lanes or four ESI lanes. The following table compares the normal ICH9 Southbridge to the 6321ESB.

Intel 6321ESB and ICH9 Southbridge Comparison
Manufacturing Process90 nm90 nm
USB 2.01012
IDE ATA-66/10020

A floppy controller is provided through a third-party I/O-chip connected to the Southbridge through the PCI bus. Intel's D5400XS board does not provide a connector for a floppy drive, however. We did not have any trouble updating the board's BIOS with a bootable USB thumb drive.

SATA and IDE connectors

  • 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....