Tuesday, February 19th 2008

Intel Officially Launches Skulltrail Platform

For those who crave more performance than what four processing cores and a single graphics card can deliver today, Intel Corporation has introduced the Intel Dual Socket Extreme Desktop Platform. Formerly codenamed "Skulltrail," this is one of the first enthusiast desktop platforms to support two Intel quad core processors for a total of eight processing engines and a choice of multi-card graphics solutions from either ATI or NVIDIA.

"When it comes to delivering innovation to the ultimate enthusiast, our new 8-core desktop platform is a winner," said Jeff McCrea, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group. "The ground-breaking Intel Desktop Board D5400XS enables the flexibility to pair a variety of quad graphics solutions with two of our fastest desktop processors. The result is stunning PC performance."

The Intel Desktop Board D5400XS, when paired with two Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors, forms the foundation of the Intel Dual Socket Extreme Desktop Platform. Hardcore gamers will welcome the opportunity to enjoy multiple simultaneous graphics card solutions featuring either NVIDIA SLI or ATI Crossfire for today's latest graphics-intensive titles. And the performance of eight processing cores is especially welcomed by the 3-D animators, digital audio artists and high-definition video editors behind the coolest games here at the Game Developers Conference.

"For the team creating world-class games here at id, time is one of our most valuable assets," said Robert A. Duffy, Programming Director, id Software. "Having eight powerful Intel cores in a single machine helps our team create and test our latest titles at record speed. We have seen one of our most time-consuming asset generation processes cut from over 4 hours to under 20 minutes by utilizing all eight cores and threading the generation code. Long term this translates to better games on the market faster than previously possible."

As high-definition video becomes more prevalent than ever, encoding and editing is a task that more power users are looking to their PC to do for them. Such workloads are handled with ease by this new platform, and video developers such as DivX are excited about the possibilities.

"By optimizing our codec to take advantage of these eight cores, we're seeing very impressive performance gains in our labs," said Jerome Vashisht-Rota, co-founder of DivX Inc. "Natively supporting eight core technology allows us to significantly accelerate codec performance for processor intensive applications like the encoding of high-definition video on the PC so that we can continue to offer our users the high-quality digital video experience they have come to expect."

Each Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX9775 offers 12MB of L2 cache, a fast 1600 MHz system bus and four cores running at a brisk 3.2 GHz. When paired on the dual-socket Intel Desktop Board D5400XS, this platform breezes through modern benchmarks and advanced workloads. For experienced enthusiasts who desire more capability, the Intel Core 2 Extreme processor bus ratio locks (overspeed protection) have been removed. This offers added technical flexibility in customizing the system so OEMs can unleash even more performance.

"This dual processor platform is the fastest desktop PC we've ever tested in our labs, reaching a score of 6481 on 3DMark06 CPU and 20,160 on Cinebench 10 even while running at the standard 3.20 GHz frequency," says Shervin Kheradpir, director of Intel performance benchmarking.

Pricing and Availability

The Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX9775 is available now at an MSRP of $1,499 each. Estimated street pricing for the Intel Desktop Board D5400XS is $649. Platform components are sold separately. Several enthusiast PC manufacturers plan to offer systems based on this new platform starting today and over the next 30 days, including Armari, Boxx Tech, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, Puget Systems, Scan, Velocity Micro, Vigor Gaming, Voodoo, @Xi Computers and others.

Intel Game Demo Contest Enters its Third Year

On Feb. 15, Intel launched the third Intel Game Demo Contest to showcase the latest creations from professional, aspiring and student game developers. The games will be judged in three categories: best threaded quad-core game, best game-on-the-go and best game on Intel integrated graphics.

The contest will award prizes valued at more than $100,000 in cash, tools and services, including a marketing support kit worth more than $20,000 to help jumpstart the success of the winning games. The contest also offers exposure to key game developer communities and software distribution opportunities. Visit intel.com/software/gamecontest for official rules and full details.
Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at intel.com/pressroom.Source: Intel
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16 Comments on Intel Officially Launches Skulltrail Platform

#1
mdm-adph
You know, strangely enough, this is one situation where getting a Mac Pro is actually a cheaper solution... :wtf:
Posted on Reply
#2
ktr
by: mdm-adph
You know, strangely enough, this is one situation where getting a Mac Pro is actually a cheaper solution... :wtf:
lol, i have to agree with you there.

Btw, can you put PC based gcards in a Mac, or do they still have mac specified versions?
Posted on Reply
#3
DanTheBanjoman
Señor Moderator
by: mdm-adph
You know, strangely enough, this is one situation where getting a Mac Pro is actually a cheaper solution... :wtf:
Which doesn't support SLI.
Posted on Reply
#4
mdm-adph
by: DanTheBanjoman
Which doesn't support SLI.
Well, get one of them there 9800 GX2 whatchamacallit's that all you Nvidia boys are raving over, and take care of that. ;)

by: ktr
lol, i have to agree with you there.

Btw, can you put PC based gcards in a Mac, or do they still have mac specified versions?
I've heard you can use PC-based gcards just fine, if you eschew the MacOS and just install Windows onto it like any other PC.
Posted on Reply
#6
ktr
by: mdm-adph
I've heard you can use PC-based gcards just fine, if you eschew the MacOS and just install Windows onto it like any other PC.
So there is OSX support for pc based gcards?
Posted on Reply
#7
mdm-adph
by: ktr
So there is OSX support for pc based gcards?
Nope, for the most part. But you don't need it -- just wipe the drive and install windows as the main boot. Your Mac Pro will now be a "PC Pro," or whatever. Use whatever video card you want at this point. (Mind you, this is all hearsay.)

Forget OSX, seriously. If I want a bubbly-looking *nix OS, I'll install Ubuntu. :p
Posted on Reply
#8
Jizzler
LOL, why get the Mac Pro in the first place, if it wasn't for the OSX support? :)
Posted on Reply
#9
ktr
by: mdm-adph
Nope, for the most part. But you don't need it -- just wipe the drive and install windows as the main boot. Your Mac Pro will now be a "PC Pro," or whatever. Use whatever video card you want at this point. (Mind you, this is all hearsay.)

Forget OSX, seriously. If I want a bubbly-looking *nix OS, I'll install Ubuntu. :p
If i am not mistaken, you still need bootcamp to run XP or ubuntu...which means you still need osx.
Posted on Reply
#10
mdm-adph
by: Jizzler
LOL, why get the Mac Pro in the first place, if it wasn't for the OSX support? :)
Dual processors? ;)

Here's one of the stories I've found about installing Windows without Bootcamp: http://ricardocabello.com/?postid=451 -- it mirrors a lot of others I've found.
Posted on Reply
#11
Jizzler
I mean vs. buying or building a "PC" dual Xeon ;)

Without the need for OSX, could build with your choice of case, motherboard, etc.
Posted on Reply
#12
qwerty_lesh
u can run two qx9650's in the skull trail right? your not limited to only xeons, or am i mistaken, cos ive seen screenies and am pretty sure it can be done.
altho i still wonder why fb dimm ram. plus its a shame that their will only be a limited number of these boards made. if only intel chipset mobos with sli over a ht bus and two nvidia mcp chipsets were a standard for premium motherboards... :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#13
ShadowFold
by: qwerty_lesh
u can run two qx9650's in the skull trail right? your not limited to only xeons, or am i mistaken, cos ive seen screenies and am pretty sure it can be done.
altho i still wonder why fb dimm ram. plus its a shame that their will only be a limited number of these boards made. if only intel chipset mobos with sli over a ht bus and two nvidia mcp chipsets were a standard for premium motherboards... :ohwell:
Its S771 so yes, only Xeons.
Posted on Reply
#14
qwerty_lesh
fair enough, my mistake. can anyone tell me why intel cant make a board that bridges the fsb to ht for sli on an x48? or eqivilant, so quad extremes can be used?
Posted on Reply
#15
imperialreign
I can see how this platform would be tickling game devs right now; I think the quote from ID Software kinda put that into perspective:
"For the team creating world-class games here at id, time is one of our most valuable assets," said Robert A. Duffy, Programming Director, id Software. "Having eight powerful Intel cores in a single machine helps our team create and test our latest titles at record speed. We have seen one of our most time-consuming asset generation processes cut from over 4 hours to under 20 minutes by utilizing all eight cores and threading the generation code. Long term this translates to better games on the market faster than previously possible."
aside from that, though - I don't really see the average Joe-enthusiast stouting one of these setups





Although, the Skulltrail will go a long way in one's quest to turn a PC into a microwave.
Posted on Reply
#16
Jizzler
by: qwerty_lesh
fair enough, my mistake. can anyone tell me why intel cant make a board that bridges the fsb to ht for sli on an x48? or eqivilant, so quad extremes can be used?
Because that would cut into nVidia's sales of 600 and 700 series chipsets, so they'd rather not license it out.
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