Intel Core I7 Reviewccokeman - November 2, 2008
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Since this is new hardware we are talking about there will always be a system that is designed to use it. Intel was nice enough to send out the hardware as an evaluation tool to show what the platform can do. This list of hardware is pretty extensive and is all high end stuff. The package arrived in a nice size box that was way too large to house just a processor. Inside was an assortment of boxes that contained the system that the Nehalem processors will be tested on.
To start the foundation of any system is the motherboard. For this system that will be the DX58SO (Smackover). Many enthusiasts will not buy an Intel board because of the plethora of aftermarket boards that offer an incredible array of options and features. Well, the Smackover is no slouch, it's an ATX motherboard that is based on an eight layer PCB with a six phase power design. The slide below illustrates the features quite well and includes a block diagram detailing the connection speeds through each interface. This review is about the processor but these are the ancillary parts that will be looked at in depth at a later date.
This platform uses DDR3 in a tri channel configuration that feeds this monster enough bandwidth so that it will never be a problem. Qimonda supplied the memory modules. They modules are rated for operation at 1066MHz with latencies of 7-7-7-20 at just a mere 1.5 volts. Intel threw one of its MLC SSD 80 gigabyte drives in to make sure the hard drive would not be a limitation in the testing.
Last, but not least, you gotta have a way to cool down the beasts. One part of the package was the Thermalright Ultra Extreme socket 1366 CPU cooler. If this can't do the job, what can?
Now you have seen all the goodies that are included in the test platform (big thanks to Intel) it's time to see just how they perform as a whole.