We reported on Intel's Skulltrail platform during last autumn's IDF in San Francisco. Skulltrail, in short, uses server underpinnings to run two quad-core Xeon processors that are optimised for the desktop environment. The supporting chipset, loosely based on the Seaburg SKU, provides potential quad-SLI support via a couple of NVIDIA MCP chips. Further, the board's BIOS has been heavily overhauled to provide a slew of enthusiast-oriented options.
Whilst Skulltrail at IDF was more of a proof of concept - moving on from the ill-fated V8 platform that barely saw the light of day - it's now being primed for launch with select partners.
One such partner is Alienware, and Intel demonstrated a water-cooled system running at 4GHz, as shown by the CPU-Z shot below.
Intel's in-house machine, pictured first, was running, stably, at that frequency with air-cooling, lending weight to the fact that the as-yet-unannounced Intel Core 2 Extreme X9775's yields are, well, rather good.
Given that the platform will require FB-DIMMs, two quad-core S771 Xeon processors, and an expensive motherboard, we don't see basic configurations - equipped with SLI-forming high-end NVIDIA cards - providing much change out of £3,000.
We have no doubt that Skulltrail systems will become the fastest desktops around, but that's hardly surprising given the current state of the high-end desktop CPU market, is it?
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