Introduced as part of the Core i7 series launch was the Intel X58 Express Chipset, which is needed by the Bloomfield processors for the QuickPath Interconnect and LGA-1366 support. The Intel X58 is also capable of providing two sets of PCI Express 2.0 x16 lanes for multi graphics card configurations. Intel's X58 is paired with the ICH10/ICH10R, which provides 12 USB 2.0 ports, Intel High Definition Audio, six Serial ATA 2.0 ports, Intel Gigabit LAN, and six PCI Express x1 lanes. The Intel X58 Chipset is compatible with modern Linux distributions, but some motherboards may exhibit some troubles. For example, with the ASRock X58 Super Computer motherboard, it had refused to work using the latest stable or development releases of Fedora and Ubuntu until we had updated the BIOS on the motherboard and then performed a USB installation instead of from a CD/DVD. We will have more on the ASRock X58 Super Computer compatibility in its motherboard review in the near future.
Along with the Intel Core i7 920 and ASRock X58 Super Computer motherboard, we assembled the rest of the test system with 3GB of CSX DDR3-1600MHz memory, 320GB Seagate ST3320620AS Serial ATA 2.0 hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX 512MB graphics card. For testing we had used the Ubuntu 9.04 (x86_64) beta with the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, GNOME 2.26.0, X Server 1.6.0, NVIDIA 180.41 display driver, GCC 4.3.3, and was formatted to an EXT3 file-system. The Core i7 processor itself ran fine with Linux, we had not run into any issues, and all four physical cores were detected plus the additional four logical cores provided by Hyper Threading.