Intel’s Dual-Processor Enthusiast Platform Set for Next Quarter Launch

Intel’s Skulltrail Heads to Extremes: Two 3.20GHz Quad-Core Chips, 150W, $1500 per Chip

by Anton Shilov
10/11/2007 | 09:17 PM

The dual-processor enthusiast-class code-named Skulltrail platform from Intel, which the company demonstrated at Intel Developer Forum, will be available in Q1 2008. But while the new extreme gaming machines will offer outstanding performance, they will come at a price with only central processing units (CPUs) costing $3000.


Intel’s Skulltrail platform for gamers based on code-named Seaburg chipset resembles Stoakley platform for high-end dual-processor workstations, but in addition to features like support for two quad-core microprocessors with up to 1600MHz processor system bus, up to 128GB of PC2-6400 (800MHz) FB-DIMM memory, Intel virtualization technology and other capabilities, the Skulltrail offers four PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards to support 4-way CrossFire or SLI multi-GPU configurations.

Intel plans to release special versions of Intel Core 2 Extreme processors in LGA771 form-factor to power its dual-socket enthusiast platform, confidential documents seen by X-bit labs claim. The first of such chips will be Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 clocked at 3.20GHz with overspeed protection disabled (unlocked multiplier), the new chip will utilize 1600MHz processor system bus and feature 12MB cache. Given that the newcomer is made using 45nm process technology, it will sport all the advantages that the new code-named Penryn family has. The new extreme chips from Intel will have thermal design power of 150W, therefore, will need very efficient and potentially noisy and/or expensive cooling systems.

It is currently known that Intel will offer Intel D5400XS motherboard for Skulltrail systems, but it is unclear whether large mainboard makers, such as Asustek Computer, will also offer a Skulltrail platform.

But those, who demand to have eight processing engines under the hood of their gaming station will have to pay a price for that. Each Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 will cost $1499 in business quantities, meaning that end-users will have to pay over $3000 for processors alone. Dual-socket mainboards for workstations typically cost from $300 to $550, whereas high-end graphics cards usually retail for $399 and upwards. Typically, high-end systems also use high-performance hard disk drives, such as Western Digital Raptor X 150GB, in addition to high-capacity HDDs, such as Seagate Barracuda 1TB, which are also not really affordable. As a result, gamers will have to pay roughly $6000 only for critical components, such as two Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775, 4GB of memory, 4 graphics cards, one high-speed HDD and one high-capacity HDD. Given that monitor, case, power supply, optical drive, workmanship, various software and so on also do not come for free, Intel Skulltrail gaming stations will easily pass $10 000 milestone.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.