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AMD Phenom II Overclocked To 6.5GHz 303

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the freeze-your-bits-off dept.
An anonymous reader writes "During CES a group of overclockers with access to liquid nitrogen and liquid helium for the extra boost of coldness cooled an AMD Phenom II X4 chip to -232 degrees Celsius. Once they got the chip cooled to this frigid temperature, they pushed the clock speed all the way up to 6.5GHz, which is a world record for a quad-core CPU, and then dished out an astonishing 45,474 3DMark05 score!"
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AMD Phenom II Overclocked To 6.5GHz

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  • Anyone know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:14PM (#26609943)
    what would happen if you cool down a CPU to temperatures where the CPU becomes super conductive?
    Or it that even possible with doped/diffused Si? Would it still work as a semiconductor?
    Would it give you even better benchmarks? Did someone already try?
    Someone should... ;)
  • by twowoot4u (1198313) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:23PM (#26610033)
    Now if only they had set the cpuID bis to 'Genuine Intel' http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/atom-nano-review.ars/6 [arstechnica.com] they probably could have reached 70k!
  • Light Distances (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperAndy (1414157) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:32PM (#26610155)
    What I think is really amazing about this is that at a clock speed of 6.5 GHz, each cycle takes around 15 nanoseconds (15 * 10^-9 seconds) to complete. In this time frame light can only travel around 5 cm. Electrical signals travel close to this speed themselves, so the limit of clock speeds is being reached, since the chip itself is on this same order of distance. It is around the point where one side of the chip will not be able to communicate with the other side in a single clock cycle.
  • Nobody knows (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#26610207)

    "Although the local resistivity of semiconducting silicon in its standard crystalline form can be changed by many orders of magnitude by doping with elements, superconductivity has so far never been achieved. "

    E. Bustarret et al, Nature 444, 465-468 (23 November 2006)

    So it doesn't look like anyone will be trying any time soon.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:41PM (#26610285)
    I'm highly surprised and intrigued the chip even worked at -242C (31K!) for a long time it was speculated in overclocking circles that weird things would happen to current silicon much below the temperature of liquid nitrogen. It does seem liquid helium has been tried a few times but this is the lowest reported temperature I have ever seen on a overclocked CPU. It might not mean much for people who don't care about overclocking but I think this is a significant achievement.

    I'm also intrigued by the possibility this chip could have gone faster, it may have become bound by motherboard reference clock and multipliers at this speed. It's not uncommon for the motherboards ability to deliver current to become the limiting factor.
    8ghz is reportedly the outright world record http://www.nordichardware.com/news,5505.html [nordichardware.com] Although I think this was reset to 8.2ghz not long after.
  • Re:from TFA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Monday January 26, 2009 @03:53PM (#26612489)

    What you're talking about isn't really "speed" or "faster". The term you are looking for is "more powerful". The GHz is how many hertz per second the CPU runs at... or in other words, its speed. Newer CPUs get a lot more done per cycle than the first 2-3GHz CPUs. And because they get more things done per cycle, they get things done faster, but that's not the actual CPU speed.

    OP is probably right - 3GHz is probably about the practical limit of what CPUs can run at for everyday use. Speeds higher than that so far seem to increase heat too much to be useful for most applications. Think of GHz like RPMs for a car engine. Most car engines run somewhere between 2000-6000 RPM at driving speed, however some get a whole lot more horsepower at the same RPMs and therefore make the car go faster... but the engine is still running at the same speed. There WAS a time though when they were getting more horsepower by increasing RPMs.

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