Intel started slowly leaking information about an ultra high-end enthusiast platform dubbed Skulltrail at right about the same time that AMD’s now defunct QuadFX platform was set to be released. Over time we learned that Skulltrail, like QuadFX, would be a dual-socket platform that could accommodate a pair of Intel’s fastest quad-core processors, for a grand total of eight execution cores in one desktop system. But other details regarding the platform were somewhat scarce to say the least.
As time progressed, however, Intel was more and more forthright with information regarding Skulltrail. Soon we learned that the platform would require DDR2 FB-DIMMs and that it would officially support a 1600MHz front side bus frequency. Then later Intel disclosed that Skulltrail would support not only ATI’s CrossFire multi-GPU technology, but NVIDIA’s SLI as well. Then at IDF last year we were treated to our first glimpse of a fully assembled Skulltrail system that featured dual 3.2GHz quad-core processors and were even privy to some preliminary benchmark results. And finally, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Intel showed off a couple of Skulltrail-based rigs complete with air and water-cooled processors running at a cool 4GHz. At this point we knew Skulltrail was almost ready for prime time.
After meeting with Intel at CES, representatives informed us that Skulltrail would be available for testing and evaluation in just a few weeks. And they were true to their word. We’ve been banging on a Skulltrail setup complete with a matched pair of 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors and DDR2-800 FB-DIMMs for a couple of weeks now and will be presenting the results of our testing for you all right here. Strap yourself in and prepare for the eventual feelings of CPU envy that will ensue. Skulltrail is a beast in every sense of the word...
Intel Skulltrail D5400XS Motherboard
We have posted a myriad of information related to the Skulltrail platform in recent articles here at HotHardware. If you’d like more details regarding Intel’s Core 2 micro-architecture or want to see all of the early information regarding Skulltrail that we have posted in the past, we recommend perusing these articles:
- Intel Core 2 Duo & Core 2 Extreme Processors, Chipsets and Performance Analysis
- IDF: Intel Skulltrail and Penryn Performance Preview
- Intel V8 Media Creation Platform - Dual Sockets - Dual Xeons
- CES 2008 Photo Report
- Intel Skulltrail Motherboard Sneak Peek
Our Intel V8 coverage will give you a glimpse into some of the technologies employed in Skulltrail, in workstation-class trim. And our coverage from IDF and CES will give you an idea as to how the Skulltrail platform has matured while Intel was readying the platform for release.