Page 1 - Introduction
The Intel Skulltrail Platform - the most exotic dual Quad Core machine on steroids.
Intel is going to be making a bigger push at gamers & enthusiast PC consumers with the launch of their Penryn processors combined with the imminent "Skulltrail" platform. The Skulltrail platform is built-around server-class hardware reconfigured for gaming. The new mainboard as tested today supports dual quad-core Penryn Xeon processors, SLI graphics (yes really), and even comes with a scrumptious four PCI Express x16 slots. See, every now and then we bring you guys a review on a new piece of hardware that is nearly bizarre. Bizarre in the sense of sheer uber power. Bizarre in the sense of the e-peen level. Bizarre in the sense of expense and Bizarre in the sense of the money you have to cough up.
Why do we review it then you ask .. a valid question. And my answer is nothing else than "it's just soooo cool". You'll notice that I used the word Bizarre no less than five times in the first paragraph as well .. a purchase like the product we test today really doesn't make any sense from whatever angle you look at it; yes is does look so good ... yes, it's a paradox.
See, it's that good old x-factor again. If you see a Pagani Zonda or even a Koenigsegg parked outside, you'll look, observe and pretty much drool over that card with the knowledge you'll probably never be able to afford it. It's the extreme high-end region of products. See this is the success of car shows like Top Gear. Nobody can or is willing to spend the money on that Pagani Zoda, but everybody would like to have it. We'll transform into Top Guru for today then. [Ed - Clarkson watch your back!]
And on that bombshell ladies and gentlemen, we land at the premises of Intel. Today they are releasing the all new Skulltrail platform. The recipe is simply, you take the fastest server-mainboard on the planet, tweak it to enthusiast levels, make use of a truckload of bi-directional FB-DIMM memory, take not one but two of the fastest quad-core processors that money can buy on this globe, make sure there are four PCI Express slots on the fracker, shake it, stir it .. and send it out to the press.
Oh man, the system we are testing today this has eight cores spread out over two CPUs, you can add a multitude of graphics cards and well .. pretty much you can go nuts with it as long as your software applications will support all the multi threaded lovin. Back in the early 90-ties .. this to be considered "consumer PC" would have had the same performance of a Cray super computer.
Crazy stuff, and we like our hardware crazy don't we ? ... on the next pages we'll dive into the mainboard, explain a little what components are used and obviously then will move onwards to some application and game testing.
Guys & gals, meet Skulltrail. Intel's new enthusiast platform that just like AMD's spider consists out of a symbiosis of components:
- Intel(r) Desktop Board D5400XS with the Intel(r) 5400 chipset
- two quad-core CPU's, we'll use Intel Core2 Extreme processor QX9775
- 800MHz FBDIMM (we'll use 2 x 2 GB)
Have a peek at the mainboard, and then move onward to the next page please.