Intel Skulltrail Previews

Intel Skulltrail Previews

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What? You havent heard of Skulltrail? and No, it’s not a new RPG or hack and slash game. The Skulltrail platform consists of the D5400XS motherboard based on Intel’s 5400 chipset, mainly designed for server and high-end workstation configurations. It sports two LGA 771 CPU sockets, which can accept a variety of Intel Xeon CPUs.

Extreme Tech Preview:

The Skulltrail platform can run with a sub-1000W power supply, but only if you’re running a single graphics card. As we’ve seen, some applications, such as 3D content creation, benefit greatly from running on multiple cores. Some video editing and media creation apps will almost certainly benefit as well.

It’s also clear that Skulltrail is ill-suited for typical office or home productivity software. That’s not so say that the platform won’t run them; just that a lowly dual core system will likely run those applications just as well.

Intel hasn’t yet announced final pricing for Skulltrail. It’s likely to be quite pricey, with each QX9775 costing more than the currently shipping high end QX9650. Memory prices aren’t that much different —at least, not if you’re comparing FB-DIMMs versus DDR3 modules. Of course, DDR2, which is what’s currently used on Nvidia-based gaming systems, is substantially cheaper than either one.

What about Skulltrail as a high end gaming platform? We’ll be taking a look at that in great detail in part II of this article, which will run next week. We’ll pit Skulltrail up against a quad-core system running three graphics cards. What’s better: Eight cores and two GPUs, or three GPUs and four cores? Stay tuned.

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