Intel Skulltrail Motherboard Sneak Peek

Intel Skulltrail Motherboard Sneak Peek

A few months ago, at the fall Intel Developer’s Forum, we got some hands-on time with an Intel Skulltrail system and were able to snap a handful pictures and document a few benchmark scores.  At the time, Skulltrail was still in it the pre-production phase as Intel had a few changes in store for the platform, but it was mature enough for the company to show off what Skulltrail had in store.

As we mentioned in our initial look at Skulltrail, the platform is built around an Intel server-class motherboard tweaked for the enthusiast market.  It also features dual 45nm quad-core processors for a total of eight cores, and because the Skulltrail mobo is outfitted with a pair of NVIDIA-built chips, it would support SLI as well.  In our article from IDF we had a couple of pictures of a Skulltrail system, but because it was fully assembled and featured dual graphics cards, it was tough to see the foundation of the system – the motherboard – in all its glory.

 

     


 


What we have for you here, however, is an up close and personal look at the Skulltrail platform's D5400XS Intel ATX motherboard from a couple of different angles.  As you can see, the Southbridge and dual NVIDIA nForce 100 MCP chips are actively cooled by a large fan-sink cooler.  Our pics of Skulltrail from IDF showed a trio of small heatsinks, so things have changed a bit.  The motherboard has four PCI Express x16 slots and dual standard PCI slots.  Aluminum heatsinks cover the Northbridge and some of the components around both LGA771 Xeon CPU sockets.

As for I/O, the board has six internal SATA ports, a single IDE port, and headers for additional USB and Firewire ports.  On the IO plate, no legacy connectors are to be found, but it does have six USB ports, dual eSATA ports, single Firewire and Gigabit Ethernet jacks, and analog and digital HD audio inputs / outputs.

We should know more about Skulltrail in the coming weeks.  When we have more information regarding installation, overclocking, performance, pricing and availability, we’ll be sure to post the details.

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Freakin' awesome!!!

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 Hi All,

I want one!!! 

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What many gamer enthusiasts do not even foresee when they purchase this gaming motherboard is that they will forced to buy everything on the high end, this means high-end graphic cards, 2 Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9750 CPU's; the graphics will cost you about $400 a piece; The Intel D5400XS "Skull Trail" will cost you at about $650; 2 Western Digital Rapor X 159GB HDD's or 2 Seagate Barracuda 1TB which are way up there in price. Consider the other components, such as Case, Monitor,PSU, Optical Drives, workmanship, softwares also do not come for free, this gaming station will surely surpass the $10,000 dollar mark, making perhaps the most expensive gaming motherboard in history. This is for the serious enthusiast, gamer and gaming programmers who may have the cash.

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The Intel Skull Trail will not be Compatible for lower models of CPU's such as the Core Duo's, Core 2 Duos; not even the Quad's will be compatible with the exception of  the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9750.

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 Hi All,

What do you think Recovering, is this the Motherboard or what! I wonder how much it'll cost?

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I'm jonesing for this one too. I must be out of my mind. I gave it to Marco to cover. I should have at least rock-paper-scissors for it!

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Davo:
I should have at least rock-paper-scissors for it!

 

lol

It's not something I'll likely ever own, but It'd be fun to play around with a souped up system built on 1!!!

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Considering it would be a waste to put anything less than the best components in this beast, $500 would make this MB the least expensive component.

2 x Q9650: $2000+
3 x 8800 Ultra: $1900+
4 x 2GB: $1200+
30" Monitor: $1000+
3 x Raptor150: $580+
Case + 1200W PS: $500+
Skulltrail MB: $500

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Pretty much, but it sure would be nice... wonder if I could do some freelance hits for the mob to make some extra cash???

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This is a prime example of how fools and thier money are soon parted. An 8 core gaming rig, yup, great idea. Lets put as many cores as we can to run an app that is notoriuosly single threaded. Hell..you could play Quake 4, Crysis, Half Life 2 and encode a DivX file all at the same time and still have lots of CPU cycles left over for Folding at Home. Before the flaming starts...this would be one hell of a high end video editing comp and also great for the multi..multi..multi tasker. But as a gaming rig..a HUGE waste of money. Then again this is just my opinion. As a side note, this thing would make a great VISA/MC commercial.

2 x Q9650: $2000+
3 x 8800 Ultra: $1900+
4 x 2GB: $1200+
30" Monitor: $1000+
3 x Raptor150: $580+
Case + 1200W PS: $500+
Skulltrail MB: $500

Look on your wifes face when she sees the credit card statement....Priceless

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Your totally right WiFuzzy, this is absolutly overkill for gaming, some "nextgen" games take advantage from dual core systems but NOT from a octo-core, you would have at least 6 cores free!! Indeed this would be a great video/compositing system and an even better rendering system. The only thing that bugs me it's that this is a LGA771 Xeon class board: It will only run on Xeon pcu's and those dont come cheap :s ( I wich it was 775, because with 2x Q6600 and 500€ you'd had a 8 core Killing machine :D )

so... besides the triple SLI I dont see any difference from a server class board :(

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I would have to agree here as well Fuzz. You really don't need an octal-core rig to game, you need more GPU throughput and even then, you can reach diminishing returns at a certain level. I personally think 2-way SLI GeForce 8800 Ultras right now are the sweet spot but if you have money to burn and don't mind a louder system with proper cooling, 3-Way is pretty sweet if you're into overkill.

Video editing is definitely a better use of this rig, or other workstation type applications. Still, the geek in me likes to see it all put together so well.

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Davo:
Still, the geek in me likes to see it all put together so well.

 

That's all I was tryin to say.

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Davo:
Video editing is definitely a better use of this rig, or other workstation type applications. Still, the geek in me likes to see it all put together so well.

Video Editing is exactly what I would do with a system like this.  Though even with video editing you would not be able to use all the cores.  But for multi-tasking and such a system like this would be great to have the extra cores to use for many different programs running while your working.  A system like this would be a perfect match for the video editing I currently do and I could get into even HD video editing with the extra power as well.

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 God...BEASTTTTT. Video editing would indeed be a dream, along with 3d modeling as well ^_^. The render power is just massive...Also coupled with the SSE4 instruction set, SSE4 capable encoding applications must seriously fly. Regarding the HD Video, only issue would be hard drives, need a raid solution in order to deal with massive HD files. Afterall, hard drives are the biggest bottle neck in systems =P...That is unless you have a Fusion IO =P.

 

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34065/135/ 

http://www.fusionio.com/ 

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I'd have to figure out what to do with it after I wiped up all the drool. For a while at least there'd be a market to box it up and carry it around to different tech functions which I'm sure you could manage to get paid for.  Then while your there hook up with the booth babes and tech ladies.  That alone would make it worth it.

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hhhhaaaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaaa!!!WiFuzzy .. u gotta warn me the nex time.. u almost killed me here..

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2 x penryn Q9650 $2200
4 X Nvidia GTS $1800
2gb Mem $800
Power supply Ultra XM3 1600 watts $400
Skull MB $500
HD 2x raptor $380 (use for os & games)
Case Lian Li 75B full tower Water Cooled (Frozen CPU custom) $600
Water cooling components $500.00
Extras (dvd drives, etc} $200
Hanss G 28 Monitor $600
Total $7180

Cost over 5 years $1540 per year and hopefully upgradeable.

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Would this work with the 3-way SLI?

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Benchmarks have shown that tri-sli (gtx or ultra only may apply) will give you only 25 fps in Crysis maxed out. Spend 6 grand for 25fps? I don't think so. That is why the possible game of the year has not sold. I bought Flight Sim X when it released and have put it back in its box until I can get minimum 30fps maxed. Thank our game god for Bioschock. I set Bioshock at max
1900x1200 (HANNS-G 28) with my Pentium4 (3.52 oc) and have to give game of the year award.

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Tell me this will work with penryn (not xeon) and I can quad any Nvidia board (gts will overclock to gtx speed) and I'm IN. My next upgrade will be in 2015AD.

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It will work with Xeon and Extreme Processors only (QX9750).

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ppl, ive lots of comments about rigging this mobo with 2x qx9650 cpus but let me tell you that penryn desktop cpus (LGA775) will not work on this mobo. Only the the penryn xeons and the qx9775 (LGA771) will work on this mobo

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~retracted, but without apology~

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recoveringknowitall:

To HH forum regulars: This darn thread has attracted many lamos to infiltrate our fine forum with redundant useless comments about something that was posted just to showcase new technlogy that isn't intended for gamers or mainstream users of any kind!!!

 

I can't agree with this at all Recover, sorry.  I think there is some valuable input here from a lot of new folks and I for one, welcome them.  I'm not saying I agree with every comment but every one has a different opinion and that's what makes the world go-round.

That's my 2 cents anyway. Wink

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