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.