Page 15 - Conclusion
Dang .. two physical processors, with a total of eight logical processors available in a consumer PC; well it surely doesn't suck. The intense sheer power you have at your disposal once an application indeed can take advantage of all the computing madness is downright amazing. The x-factor on this platform is just unbelievable amazing. The one bothersome downside however remains, you can have a thousand CPU cores available, yet if your application / game is programmed to utilize only one or two CPU cores .. all other cores will not be used; and that's pretty much the reality for 90% of today's games & software applications. The future is looking bright though; yet we are far from from that moment.
See it's like that Pagani Zonda I mentioned, It can go over 214 mph / 346 kph. Yet you can't really drive that fast with the speeds limits set by your government. Only on rare occasions "track days" you can take it to the top, but once you do .. you'll be flabbergasted. It's a weird analogy I know; but the same applies to an eight core CPU based consumer PC platform. Some other offhand specifics you need to know;
- Going SLI ? Only two physical SLI cards can be utilized.
- Mainboard has a pretty noisy active fan
- Power consumption is quite high
- A system like this is exceptionally expensive
And as stated above; fact is that most of the times one core is utilized, on occasion two .. let alone eight. We need games like Alan Wake !
This however is future stuff. See, you can start off with one CPU if you want to, and when the time comes ... add another. That's really nice scalability. Now the overall baseline performance is nothing more than you normal high-end PC as really, a quad-core CPU based system is already hard to stress. Despite the fact that I found the FB-DIMM memory a tad dissapointing performance wise; the Skultrail still remains pretty much on par with a nForce 780 SLI platform. But yeah; I think it'll take another year for true multi-CPU applications to really kick in, and once it does ... this machine is da bomb. Whether you play games, use it for a hefty multi-media experience, need to encode your High-def content, this is the shiznit.
A small sidenote; Initially in this review we wanted to show you some gaming love with four GPU-cores. Yes we inserted a KiloWatt PSU; and did want to smack around this system with two Radeon 3870 X2 cards. I contacted ATIs internal driver team about a beta drive. And Unfortunately .. it's just not ready. Maybe next month we'll see a driver that can manage four GPU cores. Too bad. We hope to retest that in the future. So that is why in this article we focused on baseline performance; generic applications and games tested and compared to other high-end class PC platforms.
There's no doubt about it, Skulltrail is the fastest platform on this globe (if you equip it with the right components). Running two high-end QX9775 processors on a 1600 MHz bus is an triumph by itself, extraordinary interesting. Looking purely at the hardware, a Skulltrail system is nothing short of astounding to have in your PC. But in all fairness, there's hardly a situation at this very moment where I can see an application using eight logical CPU cores (looking at it from a consumer point of view, not professional); and until that physically is happening you are dropping a too grand amount of money into a PC with a very small return of your investment.
Guru3D focuses on you guys, enthusiast PC users and gamers and to that user-base the performance of this system right now is baseline with any high-end enthusiast PC. Surely noone can really afford gear like this, but once multi-core software & games really kick in .. this platform will purge anything in it's way and that's a fact.
So the closing line goes like this; if you are on a quest to have the best, the fastest, the incredible and do not care about money whatsoever .. look no further; you found it. Intel's Skulltrail is just astonishing. It's a situation where all the best hardware components come together, form a synergy and then has the sheer power to stun & amaze you. That's exactly what Skulltrail is all about. Rumor is that only 2000 boards will be available. So get them while you can. Why is Intel bothering to release such a niche and expensive platform then ? Well .. 'because they can'. And what's not to like about that attitude ?
Thanks go out to Intel Benelux for making this article happen.