Intel introduces 8-core 'Skulltrail' for gamers

Intel launched Skulltrail on Tuesday, which includes 8 processing cores and is aimed at gamers.

Chip giant Intel Tuesday launched its latest processor platform aimed at computer game enthusiasts, an eight processing-core platform that includes a choice of multi-card graphics from either ATI or Nvidia.

The new platform, formerly code-named "Skulltrail," is now being introduced as the Intel Dual Socket Extreme Desktop Platform. It includes two quad-core microprocessors for a total of eight-processing engines and is aimed at desktop PCs.

Computer game lovers are typically willing to pay more for performance than the average user because the graphics quality, capability and speed of games is highly tied to the quality of components in a PC.

This system is built to allow users to pay for as much performance as they want.

A single quad-core processor, the Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX9975, costs US$1,499, while the mainboard developed for the system, the Intel Desktop Board D5400XS, runs at US$649. So, a user willing to pay for two of the quad-core processors would pony up US$2,998 for the processors alone, a total of US$3,647 for the two processors and mainboard together, and would then still have the choice of buying multiple graphics cards - not to mention the rest of the PC and peripherals.

The components are all available now.

Gamers will gain great performance for their money. The QX9775 processors each carry four cores running at 3.2GHz, carry 12M bytes of L2 cache and a 1600MHz system bus. Intel also removed its overclocking protection system from the processors to let gamers run on overspeed if they so choose -- but the company warns that altering the clock frequency or voltage can reduce the life of the system and processor, as well as cause other potential system damage.

"Intel has not tested, and does not warranty, the operation of the processor beyond its specifications," it said in a statement.

The company is launching Skulltrail at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, which runs through Friday, in order to attract attention to the platform from developers working in 3-D animation, digital audio and high-definition video in games. Game software developers normally enjoy using as much of a system's potential as possible when writing their software code.

Several PC manufacturers that cater to the gaming market will launch desktop systems using Skulltrail over the next 30 days, including Voodoo, Velocity Micro, Vigor Gaming, Armari, Boxx Tech, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest and Maingear, Intel said.

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Dan Nystedt

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