Intel Skulltrail Unleashed: Core 2 Extreme QX9775 x 2

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: It is very easy to summarize Skulltrail’s performance.  Due to the system’s relatively high-clock speeds and eight processor cores, Skulltrail significantly outperforms every other platform in multi-threaded applications that can utilize all of the system’s CPU resources.  In single-threaded situations as well, the 3.2GHz QX9775 processors with their 1600MHz FSB frequency also allow Skulltrail to finish at or near the head of the pack in most tests.  It’s only in memory bandwidth limited situations, where all of the CPU cores aren’t utilized, that Skulltrail doesn’t dominate due to the use of DDR2-800 FB-DIMMs.

Let’s get the obvious information out of the way first – Intel’s dual Core 2 Extreme QX9775-powered Skulltrail platform is the highest performing setup we have ever tested.  With its eight processor cores and high-clock speeds, Skulltrail is simply in a league of its own.   Due to the unique configuration of the D5400XS motherboard, Skulltrail is also a flexible platform.  Users can run one or two processors, use any LGA775 heatsink, and even take advantage of either ATI’s or NVIDIA’s multi-GPU technology.  About the only major drawback of the D5400XS is its use of FB-DIMMs.

Another aspect of Skulltrail that will surely turn off some of you is its price.  Intel hasn’t disclosed solid figures just yet, but they have said that the QX9775 processors will be priced higher than current “Extreme” edition processors and the motherboard will be somewhat more expensive than the company’s current high-end workstation class offerings.  That puts each CPU somewhere north of a grand a piece and the mobo in the $600+ range.  Factor in a couple of gigs of DDR2-800 FB-DIMMs and you’re talking about roughly $3000 for the configuration we tested here.  Cheap?  Heck no.  Extreme Powerful?  You betcha.

We should also note that Intel hasn’t disclosed when exactly Skulltrail hardware will be made available, but it will be in this quarter according to the most recent information.  For now, you’ll just have to drool over the benchmarks and hope that raise you’ve been asking for comes through.

  • Extreme Performance
  • Eight Cores
  • SLI or CrossFire
  • Flexible Configuration Options
  • Workstation Roots
  • Going to be PRICEY
  • Not Yet Available
  • Loud SB Cooling Fan

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