Nehalem-EP, Skulltrail replacement
This morning at CeBIT, ASUS took the motherboard spotlight again with the announcement of its dual-socket, LGA 1366, Z8NA-D6 enthusiast desktop motherboard. Quickly titled the "first dual-processor ATX motherboard," this makes an interesting solution for the aging dual-socket LGA 771 Skulltrail desktop platform of yesteryear.
The board ultimately begins the generation of Intel's Nehalem-EP (Efficient Platform), which consists of dual Xeon 'Gainestown' CPUs and two QPI links per chip. One link communicates with the Tylersburg chipset while the other link communicates with the second processor, both at 25.6GB/s bidirectional bandwidth.
Because the Nehalem platform also consists of Simultaneous MultiThreading support, this desktop board is capable of running no less than 16 virtual cores on two of Intel's new Xeon 5500-series CPUs.
Additional specs of the board include 14 SATA ports, one PCI-E x16 slot, two PCI-E x8 slots, and six DDR3 memory slots capable of up to 24GB with unbuffered DIMMs and 48GB with registered DIMM modules. Moreover, power is drawn using a 24 + 8 pin connector supporting both desktop ATX and server SSI power supplies.
Pricing and availability information have not been released yet, but we can probably expect a release around the end of this month to coincide with Intel's Xeon 5500-series CPU launch on March 28th.