Intel rolls out Skulltrail high-end gaming mobo
Dem bones, dem bones
Intel has formally launched 'Skulltrail', its two-CPU gaming motherboard that's ready for both AMD's CrossFire and Nvidia's SLI multi-GPU technologies.
Skulltrail - which Register Hardware reviewed last month - can take two quad-core 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors - essentially a pair of server-oriented Xeon CPUs with gamer-friendly branding, which is why they cost $1499 a pop.
Intel's D5400XS: the mobo formerly known as Skulltrail
Adding to the board's price: the use of FB-DIMM server memory. The board itself - now officially dubbed the D5400XS; its chipset is Intel's own 5400 part - costs $649.
Throw in a pair of AMD or Nvidia graphics cards for co-operative rendering, and it's clear Skulltrail-based systems are going to cost a pretty penny.
That hasn't stopped a handful of system builders, including Voodoo, Falcon Northwest, Armai, Boxx, Scan and Velocity Micro, announcing machines based on the technology
For your money, you also get six USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel, two eSATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, one Firewire port and five audio mini jacks and an optical output for the Intel HD audio. There are six 3Gb/s SATA connectors with Intel RAID.
Intel's next gaming chipset, X48, is due next month.
Intel Skulltrail high-end gaming system
No games need eight cores
Indeed, there aren't all that many that can take advantage of two anyway.
Although I am led to believe that any game based on the Quake III engine is supposed to benefit a bit, which would mean that Quake IV games should do so as well.
Crysis is a game that stands to get help from just about ay improvement since it is so resource-hungry, but apart from that the only other game I can think of that would gain anything would be Supreme Commander.
In my own experience, I had SupComm running on a Core 2 Duo and switched over to a Quad 6600 and it ran a lot smoother. Not really a big boost on framerate, but a lot less dips and the dips were shallower as well. All in all, the Quad Core made the game perform more consistently the same, at quite a playable level.
But apart from the above, I can't say that double-quad core gaming is going to be anything to write home about.
And given the trouble the current graphic chip moguls have with putting 2 cards together, I shudder to think of the issues of having to deal with 4 cards is going to be.
Who knows ? Maybe we'll see proper drivers for those monsters once there are actually games that can benefit from it all ?
Like when Duke Nukem Forever comes out.
Whatever century that is.
Hmm.. this thing'll keep you warm in the wintertime... zomg can you imagine the electricity bill?
I've seen system built on this. Vista gave it magic score of 5.8 out of 6 ;)
mobo is indeed the correct reference, and has been before you were crapping on a carpet.
"Anyone who buys this board, 2 high end Xeons, and 3 or 4 video cards in order to play *video games* either has far too much money or is simply a fool."
Or both, if the shoeing that this system got over at Tom's Hardware is any indication. Comparisons are made with the AMD 4x4 setup which, oddly enough, sank without a trace.
Still, stick enough RAM in it and it would make a fine basis for a hardcore virtualisation rig.