IDF — Sandy Bridge E is out in full force at the Intel Developer Forum, and we've already seen a handful of X79 motherboards that will play host to the new high-end CPU. We can't say much about the processor or its supporting platform, so you'll have to make do with a few snapshots of the boards.
First up is Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5, which serves up two DIMM slots for each of Sandy Bridge E's four memory channels. There are also a trio of PCI Express slots (note that PCI Express 3.0 is emblazoned on the board) and a gaggle of Serial ATA ports—14 in total. In that kind of company, the single PCI slot seems a little, well, out of place.
Want upgraded integrated peripherals? Gigabyte also has a G1.Assasin 2 model with Bigfoot networking and Creative audio. There are still three PCIe x16 slots, but the number of DIMM slots and Serial ATA ports has been trimmed. Although it still sports a whopping dozen SATA ports, folks will have to make do with only one memory module per channel.
Intel looks like it's aiming for a slightly different balance with the DX79SI, which offers a full eight DIMM slots alongside only four internal SATA ports. There are clearly spaces on the board reserved for additional Serial ATA connectivity, and I'd expect at least one of Intel's X79 models to take full advantage of all the I/O goodness present in the chipset.
Yep, that's an Intel water cooler. The RTS2011LC appears to have been designed with Sandy Bridge E CPUs in mind, but it'll also work with LGA 1366, 1155, and 1156 sockets. The sealed system links a copper cold plate on the CPU to a radiator cooled by a custom-designed, 120-mm fan. Intel claims noise levels of 21-35 decibels with the fan running at 800-2200 RPM. A label on the box says the thing will cool CPUs up to 130W.