Skulltrail reviewed: Is it the ultimate gaming mainboard?
Skulltrail: Intel's D5400XS featues two CPU sockets and four video card slots - more pictures can be found in the gallery. (Picture: Intel) [Quelle: Siehe Bildergalerie]
AMD released a dual CPU-platform for Socket-Fcalled Quad FX in November 2006. Customers' choice of CPUs was limited to Socket-F-server-CPUs and the Athlon FX, but standard-DDR2-memory could be used. Quad FX was a failure nontheless, because the performance of two CPUs wasn't good enough to compete with Intel. Unfortunately Phenom-CPUs don't work in a Quad-FX-board.
in spring 2007, Intel had an answer to AMDs Quad FX: V8. A V8-system consisted of two Xeon-server-CPUs with codename Clovertown for the quadcores and DDR2-FB-DIMMs, expensive memory with error correction. V8-mainboards mostly had Intel's i5000X-chipset ("Seaburg"). Anyhow, V8 never made it into the desktop market because of the lack of overclocking options in the BIOS and the necessity to use server CPUs and FB-DIMMs.
Now Intel's V8-successor Skulltrail shall manage to have an impact on the desktop market. The Skulltrail mainboard of our test is called Intel D5400XS, which is an advanced i5000X-chipset. Therefore, only Sockek-771-Server-CPUs and FB-DIMMs can be used with Skulltrail. Unlike V8, Skulltrail has a ton of overclocking options in the BIOS.
Skulltrail: The passively cooled northbridge and the FB-DIMMs are getting real hot under load and should be cooled by a fan. (Picture: Intel) [Quelle: Siehe Bildergalerie] Skulltrail is a highend mainboard in EATX format that has two CPU sockets and four video card slots with PCI-Express-1.1 and 16 lanes each. Thanks to the Nvidia Nforce 100 chip, SLI and Crossfire can be used with this board. A very long SLI bridge is included in the packaging. The fastest Socket-771-CPU right now is the QX9775 which is the counterpart of the Desktop-CPU QX9770. Both CPUs are not out yet, but the QX9770 is already listed in the PC Games Hardware pricewatch for about 1,200 Euro. The QX9775 has four cores with 3.2 GHz each.
Skulltrail: The connectors on the backside of the mainboard. (Picture: Intel) [Quelle: Siehe Bildergalerie]