Intel's X38 "BoneTrail" mobo pictured

Written by Tim Smalley

June 6, 2007 | 18:59

Tags: #board #bone #ddr3 #desktop #motherboard #x38

Companies: #intel

While we were at Corsair's suite today, we managed to spot Intel's upcoming replacement for the popular "BadAxe2" motherboard, which has been the chip giant's flagship mobo for what seems like an eternity.

Naturally, the board will be based on the X38 chipset and will eventually support ATI CrossFire. The board, which Intel has dubbed "BoneTrail", was installed in the confines of a Silverstone chassis, but there were a few things we observed.

First and foremost, the northbridge is passively cooled with what bares similarities with the aluminium finned design used on Intel's "BadAxe2" board. This is potentially good news for those thinking that X38 couldn't be passively cooled, but that's obviously not taking overclocking into account.

We also noticed that there were no heatsinks covering the PWMs surrounding the CPU socket. This is strange, because the BadAxe2 was famous for its "flaming" PWM heatsinks. Of course, it may just be that this particular board didn't have them installed because it looks to be in a pretty early state.

The add-in port selection looks to be the same as the BadAxe2, meaning three PCI-Express x16 slots and three PCI slots laid out in an alternating pattern. We already know that the northbridge supports at least 32 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, but considering Bearlake's reputation for golden nuggets, we wouldn't be surprised if there are some X38 secrets untold at this time.

Corsair's engineers hadn't overclocked the board because the BIOS was in a very early (and I guess, unstable) state, citing that it would have been unfair to try and get such an early design stable. Intel has less than 90 days to go before it ships X38, so there's plenty of work for the BIOS team to do before then.

Overall, the layout looks good, so let's hope it delivers on the BIOS and enthusiast-friendly features front. Share your thoughts in the forums.

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