Like other multi-core performance evaluations, the Skulltrail's overall benchmark results are a real mixed bag. The Intel Skulltrail and its dual Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors display incredible performance with true multi-threaded tests, while offering virtually no improvement in most games. For high-end desktop use, the Skulltrail is a real beast, and you could literally amaze your friends with how fast this puppy can zip through various tasks. Unfortunately, dual core is enough for most games, and even quad core is overkill to some extent. Our Lost Planet testing shows there is some hope, but the Skulltrail is more a solution for upcoming games than it is an across-the-board performance jump for existing ones.
As today is not the official Skulltrail product launch, and Intel has not yet released pricing, the value section of our performance preview is a difficult egg to crack. Intel has given us some general guidelines and hints, such as the fact that the Core 2 Extreme QX9775 will be priced higher than the current shipping Core 2 Extreme QX9650. This latter CPU is currently sitting at over $1K, so you do the math. The Intel D5400XS motherboard is another part of the equation, as is the FB-DIMM memory requirement, and neither will come cheap.
* Please note that these prices were taken at the time of review and are not meant to reflect long-term trends.
The upcoming Intel Skulltrail platform release certainly gives enthusiasts another performance option, and offers the fastest desktop that money can buy. And it will take a significant investment to get on the Skulltrail, as well as opening up your wallet in other areas, like the power supply, FD-DIMM memory and EATX case. But those that do take the plunge will get a performance demon that can eat multi-threaded code for breakfast, as well as the first Intel platform to be fully NVIDIA SLI compatible
- Superior Media Encoding Results
- Exceptional Multi-threading Performance
- Xeon LGA771 Upgradeable
- ATI CrossFire + NVIDIA SLI
- More Desktop-Friendly than Xeon Workstation Solutions
- Very Expensive
- High Power Consumption
- FB-DIMM Requirement