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Intel's power-guzzling V8

Intel's Skulltrail motherboard reviews come on the heels MacBook Air reviews. That's where the similarity ends.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
Intel Skulltrail motherboard
Intel Skulltrail motherboard Intel Corp.

Intel is getting ready to launch the full-sized SUV of desktop motherboards. Expected later this quarter, the Skulltrail board packs two quad-core 130-watt QX9775 processors--which Legit Reviews said sucked up to a whopping 351 watts. In short, this is not the MacBook Air. The tiny processor in that power-stingy computer sips a mere 20 watts.

Skulltrail pulls out all the stops. It has dual 1600-MHz front side-buses connected to dual Xeon sockets and four full PCIe x16 slots, with planned support for up to four high-end graphics boards. And Xeon processors running on Skulltrail boards have been demonstrated by Intel running at 4.0GHz.

Is all of this really necessary? Or is it just a PR stunt with only a few hardened gamers snapping up the limited supply of Skulltrails. Apparently it's more than PR because Skulltrail reviews, driven by popular demand, are everywhere. TechRadar has one, [H]Enthusiast has one, Anandtech has one...and the list goes on.

Skulltrail's genesis (it was originally dubbed "V8") is sketchy but some in the tech community believe the board was created in response to AMD's Quad FX platform which, in turn, was created in response to Intel's quad-core desktop CPUs. But AMD's Quad FX was unceremoniously terminated so that question may be moot now. For those interested in seeing one in action, here's a slightly dated (January 8) Intel video showing Skulltrail running various games.