Intel's 955X Dual-Core Chipset
The Pentium Extreme Edition's increased power requirements are contingent upon Hyper-Threading and led to a certain amount of confusion among hardware developers about 12V requirements. Intel also changed its specifications on short notice, after many motherboard vendors had already locked in their designs. Whatever problems this might poses for PC designers, 955-based motherboards demand hefty power supplies with lots of 12V amperage to drive them. Most such PSUs originated in the server and high-end workstation markets where they've long delivered lots of stable, clean power to the 5V and 12V rails. Worse yet, heavy-duty power supplies like these are quite expensive.
On paper, the 955X offers numerous capabilities that we wanted to investigate, coupled with the formidable challenges the design imposes on motherboard vendors. At first blush prior to our review, we saw numerous improvements worth digging into, including enhanced memory support, improved SATA controllers and RAID capabilities and a bump in the number of PCI-Express lines. Add to those capabilities the debut of Intel's Active Management Technology and you've got more than enough features to get excited about.