One of the reasons Intel's so keen to get all the components necessary to run a Core i7 system is to allow the channel to do what it does best. "The channel tends to move quicker than big OEMs and in the case of this new socket it can focus on all the components that are available for the transition, such as motherboard, memory and chassis," said Rampone.
As you would expect, Smackover it targeted at the enthusiast market. "This board is all about performance," said Rampone. "A big innovation is the memory sub-system and there are overclocking tools that allow you to go over 5GHz - air cooled. People who buy this product will be excited by how easy it is to get high performance out of it. It overclocks very nicely without having to go to life-shortening voltages."
Given that one of the innovations contained within Core i7 is a tri-channel memory controller, we wondered why this board came to market with 4 DIMM sockets, when the fourth slot is effectively surplus to requirements an furthermore will reduce memory bandwidth by forcing the memory controller to run in dual-channel mode if used.
"The ideal performing configuration would have been three, but feedback from customers said they wanted four," concede Rampone. "They wanted the option of using more memory if they so desired."
We also asked why there are only two PCI slots, when some enthusiast users may want more. "Sometimes in this segment people are never happy with the amount of expansion offered," said Rampone.