Monday 15 October 2007

System Builder Tip: Dual Socket X38 Extreme Penryn

Normally, we don't have too much time around here to spend looking through some key sites on the future of the bleeding edge.

While looking for information on the new X38 series server boards for the new Xeons we will be seeing in the near future though, this little gem came up: Hopefully we will see this setup with a CrossFire capability too.

There is definitely a market for this kind of rig outside of gamers. Think 3D rendering, and evening/overnight render farms for things like 3D Studio Max and the like.

Think Revit 2008 or AutoCAD 2008 with Ramsteel and other intense calculation add-ons. Or, 3D and huge calculation setups like SolidWorks. These types of applications will benefit from this kind of rig.

This is where we smaller shops can take a huge advantage over our larger competitors.

We can arrange to walk into one of our engineering or architectural firm clients with one of these rigs under our arms with the required software already installed and ready to go. Then, we could allow some of their more advanced CAD/3D operators have at it. This would make a huge impression on the users and their managers after a couple of days of use. Imagine how the client's user would feel when they went back to their previous system!

Doing the same with the Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo/Quad Extreme rigs worked in this manner. The products essentially sell themselves. The Return On Investment may need to be explained a bit to the management, but that should not be too hard for someone who knows how more horsepower impacts a CAD/3D operator's efficiency and the overall organization's productivity.

Time is money. These rigs pay for themselves in two major ways:
  1. The particular CAD/3D operator grows into the horsepower of the system increasing their productivity fairly quickly.
  2. And, the overnight rendering farm increases its productivity per watt consumed as a result of the increased horsepower available in the Extreme based boxes.
The last one is especially important to the bean counters: Systems that consume less power to do more reduces the power bill for both the system itself and the air conditioning needed to keep the working areas cool.

UPDATE 2007-11-02: TG Daily has further details on the SkullTrail enthusiast's platform: Intel’s Skulltrail enthusiast platform running at 5.0 GHz. Note, not for the financially weak of heart! ;)

Looks like Skulltrail will give the Mac Pro Dual Xeon X5365 Quad Core $10-12K system a run for its money!

Mac Pro Dual X5365 Xeons

The Mac Pro in this image is missing some additional hardware like more ATI video cards!

TG Daily article came via Slashdot: Intel in the GHz Game Again - Skulltrail hits 5 Ghz.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

I would be very interested to purchase this setup myself. Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to arrive in time for when I need to purchase the system. Do you have information on about when it will be available by chance?

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


It was indicated to me that Intel is holding back on the X38 series boards until they are stable.

I am actually going to be at two Intel conferences this week, the Intel Channel Conference in Red Deer, and the Intel Technical Solutions Training in Calgary.

I will be sure to asking them all the questions I possibly can.

So, I will hopefully have some clarity by the coming weekend.

And yes, I am hoping to build a Skulltrail based system too! :D


Anonymous said...

Cool. Please do let me know what you find out. Thanks much.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


According to the Intel folks that answered my question about the availability of the BOXDX38BT Extreme motherboard, "Sometime in November".

The board is SKUd up with our suppliers.

And, our system builder who is in pretty good with Intel due to volume indicates they should have stock on or around the "release" date of November 10.

The BOXDX38BT will have the ability to work with the next generation 45nm processors too.

More info on the board is here: BOXDX38BT Product Site.

Howz that for info? ;)

I think a couple of weeks wait may be worth it.

It is not the Skulltrail dual socket board referenced in the blog though. That looks like it will be released sometime next year during Intel's tech shift then.


Anonymous said...

That is awesome! Thank you so much. On a side note, care to share the name of this system builder with me? Maybe I will have them put together the system I am planning... Thanks. (if you don't want to post here, feel free to email me -