Intel Skulltrail Unleashed: Core 2 Extreme QX9775 x 2 - HotHardware

Intel Skulltrail Unleashed: Core 2 Extreme QX9775 x 2

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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

Intel Skulltrail D5400XS
Specifications and Features


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:



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.

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Such a beast, but honestly, intel does have 2 flaws with Skulltrail. One being the price considering the combo you have to pick up in order to get a skulltrail board. The other, FB-Dimms kill overclockability due to their low clock speed. Regardless of that though, it's truly a monster.

 But curious, does anyone else have a bad taste in their mount considering intel ATM? They release this beast of a setup, along with the upcoming p45, x48, when the truth is, at the end of this year all upgradability is dead. I feel really bad for those dumping tons into these boards not realizing that they can't upgrade to anything past penryn due to Nehalem's architecture, socket, QPI, and IMC. X48, P45, and Skulltrail will seriously have IMO the shortest life span....=(. But considering intels CPU performance numbers atm, not many would care considering the overclockability of the core architecture. But it still is a bit bad, but nothing too much to fret about.

 For gaming, this setup isn't that great, but when we're talking workstation, this machine is a BEAST.

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Way too much power for gaming but just right when it comes to number crunching 

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Imagine the h264 encoding speed. two quad cores, based on Penryn which would give a boost with the SSE4 instruction set. Man, encoding must be dreamy ^_^. 

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Now that is pure prOn! Cool 

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Technolust.

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I've often wondered what the overclocking options (if any) would be available on such a setup. I'd love to see two near 5GHz Quad Processors paired with either two Radeon HD 3870X2's or two GeForce 9850GX2's.

 Can we say pWn@ge! (Not trademarked by Futuremark).

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I would love to OC them to 5 ghz...but FB dimms aren't very friendly for overclocking. =P...Once I get the system..I will probably make two profiles, one stock, and one with them at 4 ghz via a multiplier bump.

 Curious though, do these server 771 socket boards contain intels power saving technologies such as speedstep, etc?.

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Surely the board will have speed stepping as well.  Its more of a question what can be done in the bios to help to OC.

 

BTW after I find a stable clock to work with I re-enable speedstepping.  IMO its great for what it does and keeps the system nice and cool when not at full power.

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must be fun to mess with 

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