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Hardware Hacking Intel Upgrades

Overclockers Top 6GHz With A 3.6GHz-Rated P4 421

sH4RD writes "The 6GHz barrier has been broken by two guys, a little LN2 (liquid nitrogen for those not as chemistry inclined), and an Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3.60GHz. Check out some icing and some proof of speed. Better yet take a look at how fast it calculates pi. Also be sure to check out the original announcement."
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Overclockers Top 6GHz With A 3.6GHz-Rated P4

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  • Cold! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erick99 ( 743982 ) <> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:33PM (#10351910)
    Imagine having to keep a vat of liquid nitrogen at your desk in order to use your computer! Notice the Fluke thermometer showing -105C (-157F). Now that is damned cold....


    • Re:Cold! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Pablo ( 126574 )
      If Intel hadn't decided to kill P4 in favour of PM then we may have had to do it sooner rather than later!

      It would be amazing to have to use LN2...but then again since I first stuck my finger on top of my 68000 and realising it was a lot hotter than my 6502 i'm constantly amazed how hot these things are getting.
      • Re:Cold! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DrMrLordX ( 559371 )
        They didn't kill the P4 in favor of the Pentium M. Their upcoming dual-core desktop cpus are supposedly going to be Netburst-based. I think we would all LIKE Intel to jump on the Dothan bandwagon, but whether or not they'll actually do it is completely unknown at this point. They have announced some dual-core Pentium Ms for mobile purposes, and that's it.
    • Re:Cold! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Imagine having to keep a vat of liquid nitrogen at your desk in order to use your computer! Notice the Fluke thermometer showing -105C (-157F). Now that is damned cold....

      I've just put in for a job working with superconducting magnets, using LHe.

      That's around 4K (-269C or -453F). Now that is damned damned damned damned cold....

      If only liquid helium were as inexpensive as LN2.... We'd see some a quantumn leap in overclocking I'd bet... (pun intended!)
      • by caveat ( 26803 ) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @12:11AM (#10353031)
        I wrote a paper on Type I superconductivity (appears in metals when cooled to a few K of zero; ceramics are a totally different beastie) in school and got diverted into reading up on ultracryogenics for a few weeks - apparently at temps that low, you get all sorts of problems like extreme brittleness and differing rates of thermal expansion, the latter being a fairly major issue in designing an ultracryogenic system. There's a good chance the CPU die, wires, and case would all tear away from each other and destroy the thing. Not to mention that lead superconducts at 7.196K []; i wonder what resistanceless solder would do to a mobo...
      • Re:Cold! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zerocool^ ( 112121 )

        Yeah, that was one of the most amazing things I learned from my chemistry teacher in college. He was doing the standard Liquid Nitrogen funstuffs, like dipping the flower, or the raquet ball, and a couple of other things. Then he was talking about the Liquid Nitrogen, and he pointed out that it's about as expensive as milk, per volume.

        So, what I want to know is why don't they sell it at 7-11??!? Imagine the fun, not to mention uses. Other than computers, you can use it to freeze fruits so quickly that
    • Re:Cold! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @11:18PM (#10352795) Homepage
      They're Finnish.

      They don't need liquid nitrogen. Couldn't they have just put their PC outside?
  • Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aavhli5779 ( 690619 ) * on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:34PM (#10351913) Journal
    I sure hope they were using Gentoo, because if not they couldn't take advantage of those incredible speeds with some hot -O3 -funroll-loops action :P

    In all seriousness, this is pretty amazing, but I can't really see the usefulness. For sheer geek pride, sure, why not? But as far as I can tell the expense involved outweighs any gain in performance; for probably half of what these poor folks spent getting a P4 to run stably at 6 ghz (and it doesn't even sound super-stable from what I've read) they could've probably bought a couple more CPUs and had a proper SMP system instead. Regardless, I admire their tenacity and mourn for the warranty on their poor CPU :P
    • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by MikeXpop ( 614167 ) <mike.redcrowbar@com> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:41PM (#10351944) Journal
      In all seriousness, this is pretty amazing, but I can't really see the usefulness.
      To pick up chicks, obviously.
    • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bizpile ( 758055 ) * on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:42PM (#10351952) Homepage
      But as far as I can tell the expense involved outweighs any gain in performance;

      Isn't that what being a geek is all about? It's a "becuase it's there"-type of thing.
    • Look at the pi calculation screenshot, they are using windows....and using a 6Ghz cpu w/ 512 ram...
      • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Funny)

        by _Pablo ( 126574 )
        The CPU-Z shots very strongly suggest it's running in windows. But just maybe it's a VM on Linux, or Wine or some other reason to mention Linux on slashdot!

        It's a shame the pi calc shot is done when it's running at 5.4Ghz instead of the arbitrary 6Ghz...
      • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:21PM (#10352204)
        and using a 6Ghz cpu w/ 512 ram...

        Guess they got Longhorn running, eh?
      • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by berkut7 ( 761778 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:35PM (#10352275)
        The reason why they run with so little memory is the same why they are using a cheap video card: there is a chance they might kill it. The other more important reason is that they can reach higher FSB clocks with less memory sticks. I fthey had two or more memory sticks they would be able to reach same FSB speeds, an in turn, same CPU clock speeds.
    • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by anthonyclark ( 17109 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:45PM (#10351985)
      speaking of gentoo; What I'd like to see would be a benchmark 'emerge system' or One run should be on a single proc system with MAKEOPTS="-j2". The other should be on a system with dual processors at half the speed of the first system, with MAKEOPTS="-j3".

      I ran something like this a while back; a dual p3-500 just about matched a single p4-1.5.

      With some "real" benchmarks, we'd at least be able to weigh this 6GHz beast against a dual 3GHz beast...
    • > sure hope they were using Gentoo, because if not they couldn't take advantage of those incredible speeds with some hot -O3 -funroll-loops action :P

      Don't forget -march=pentium2

    • Actually, the images show they were using windows...
    • In all seriousness, this is pretty amazing, but I can't really see the usefulness. For sheer geek pride, sure, why not? But as far as I can tell the expense involved outweighs any gain in performance

      Damn. I was hoping to buy a $99 liquid nitrogen cooling kit at CompUSA tomorrow. :)
    • Try running doom3 over 35 fps.

    • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      In all seriousness, this is pretty amazing, but I can't really see the usefulness.

      Since when is usefulness all there is to life?

      Can you see the usefulness in climbing Everest, running around in a circle several times at the Olympics, or anything else?

  • by prestwich ( 123353 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:36PM (#10351918) Homepage
    So P4's double clock their ALUs - that means that ALU is shifting at > 12GHz.

    Welcome to measuring your operations in picoseconds.
    • by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:24PM (#10352224) Journal
      Actually, the ALU's in Prescott don't even use a clock! It uses self resetting domino logic, so the speed is completely based on the manufacturing process and the speed of the transistors. Damn hard things to make, even harder to formally verify that they will always work, and as far as I know Intel is the only CPU manufacturer in the world to use something like this in a mass-produced product. So you can really say that the ALU is working at >12GHz or whatever since it isn't clocked. Oh, and Intel has been measuring their operation time in picoseconds for a while now ;)
      • Interesting, how is it synchronized with the rest of the pipeline? Is there any publication about this?
        • Self resetting domino logic has been known about for a while now (I think since mid 90's), but Intel was the first company to actually do something useful with it in a real product. Synchronizing it to the rest of this chip shouldn't be that hard if you understand domino logic and use memory cells at the input and output ports of the ALU. I personally don't know exactly HOW they do that, but that's my best guess.
  • by poofyhairguy82 ( 635386 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:36PM (#10351922) Journal
    calculates pi

    Just to figure out the answer to a problem every 8th grader knows.

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:37PM (#10351924)
    With winter coming and the price of oil approaching $50, you can now safely turn off your heater and just point the vent of your 6Ghz P4 into the middle of the room...or maybe run a venting system off of it connected to the heat ducts in your house...
    • Nope, don't think so. The actual temperature is between -90C and -130C, so this would be more useful on those hot days.
    • Heh. (Score:3, Informative)

      It would take a HUGE fan to keep it from overheating and causing a board shutdown or a processor meltdown.

      I've got a 3.02 ghz, mildly overclocked, and the fan shutting down and the board automatically shutting down due to high heat are nearly simultaneous.
  • doom 3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Coneasfast ( 690509 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:37PM (#10351925)
    ok, yes, doom 3 has some pretty high sys requirements to run smoothly, but isn't this going a wee bit overboard?
  • by spacemky ( 236551 ) <`moc.ifyra' `ta' `kcin'> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:37PM (#10351928) Homepage Journal
    Look how fast I can calculate pi:


    wow, that was fast.
  • Tops 6ghz? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:39PM (#10351937)
    So it tops 6 GHz, but they only calculate pi at 5.4 GHz? Sounds like the only thing it can run at 6 GHz without crashing is CPU-Z...
  • The pi screenshot's only showing 5.4GHz. Is this a mistake?
  • by sciguy125 ( 791065 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:40PM (#10351940)
    I think we need to stop making our computers go so fast. We're only making things easier for Skynet.
  • by xactuary ( 746078 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:41PM (#10351946)
    their scroll bar works faster than yours.
  • hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jjeffries ( 17675 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:42PM (#10351958)
    take a look at how fast it calculates pi

    I hope it's a substantial improvement over my machine... Seems like I've been waiting forever for it to finish...

    • Re:hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by kzinti ( 9651 )
      Seems like I've been waiting forever for it to finish...

      May be, but at least it keeps your memory banks free of bloodthirsty demons like Boradis, Keslack, and Rejick.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:44PM (#10351974)
    but don't worry I got a copy.

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  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:44PM (#10351977) Homepage
    At 6 GHz, the only applications that can show appreciable performance improvement are CPU-bound ones. Hence, a program that sits entirely in the on-chip cache will show significant improvement. An example of such a program is the one calculating the value of pi.

    Memory-bound applications will not show significant improvement. At 6 GHz, most applications become memory bound since memory becomes extremely slow in responding to the 6 GHz processor.

    Has anyone liquid cooled the G5 and the Opteron driven them to 6 GHz? I bet that the G5 could crush the Pentium in performance since the G5 has a powerful floating point unit.

    • nearly any other CPU architecture running at 6GHz will muder the P4's performance in either integer or float-point, partially due to Prescott's insanely long 31-stage pipeline and relatively week parallelism

      also, the P4 excels only in programs so small it can fit in the really small L1 cache. AMD's L1 cache is the really juicy one. =)

      Intel designed the Pentium 4 solely around marketing's requirements of consumer hype instead of sound technical choices.
    • Has anyone liquid cooled the G5 and the Opteron driven them to 6 GHz? I bet that the G5 could crush the Pentium in performance since the G5 has a powerful floating point unit.

      Your geek license has just been revoked.

      The overall design idea behind the P4 was to stretch out the pipeline to an insane level in order to ramp up clockspeeds to an insane level.

      No one's liquid cooled a G5 or an Opteron and overclocked it to 6 GHz. Why? Because their design matched with current chip fabbing technology can't

  • by 3D Monkey ( 808934 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:45PM (#10351982)
    mmmMMMMmmmm Pi

    *drooling* aggghhhhhh
  • Now just imagine it - an 8 CPU powered box with each CPU running at 3.2 (rated) overclocked to 6.4 GHz = 51.2 GHz with a exabyte of Hard drive space. The ultimate BeOS machine - just wondering if anyone would consider building one :).
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Z-95 ( 801437 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:49PM (#10352013) Homepage
    In other news, Microsoft increases Longhorn's recommended requirements to 7GHz.
  • LN2 ? Try some LHe! (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyberfunk2 ( 656339 )
    What's this LN2 stuff... everyone knows REAL overclockers use liquid helium surrounded by a vaccum flask with another LN2 flask outside of it. (P.S. That's the setup they use to cool NMR machines for chemistry that have superconducting magnets in them)
  • by rco3 ( 198978 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @08:54PM (#10352061) Homepage
    Waitaminute, waitaminute, waitaminute! They timed how long it took to calculate PI? That implies that it *FINISHED* calculating pi!

    Now, THAT's "News for Nerds. Stuff That Matters"
  • It *might* be Pi they are calculating in that screenshot, but heck, what does "Laskenta Alkaa" means?

    God I hate screenshots in a language I can't understand.

    Typical finnish, first they take over the only FPS ever worth playing (aq2), now they're taking over /.!
    • I have spent some time in Finland, as I help with the Assembly demo party there, and Akiba sponsor... They're cool guys, and they were really good when it came to me having to buy 15m of Cat6 cable from them (although they didn't have Cat7 :))

      Anyway, back on topic... I believe alkaa is the verb to drink alcohol, and laskenta is something about a port or something... Lentokenta means airport, and lento definately means aeroplane.
  • by malia8888 ( 646496 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:02PM (#10352094)

    I think the LN2 is cold enough to crack the pleats in my good wool skirt

  • by Sean Johnson ( 66456 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:07PM (#10352123)
    that helps to perpetuate the "MHz myth". If MHz don't matter, why are these guys doing these crazy things to increase the MHz? I know it is just for the "fun of it", "to see if it can be done". However,(tongue-in-cheek) this stuff just influences people to rely on MHz numbers more and more. It teaches young-ins that more MHz is better whatever the cost. What we need is a great story about how Bill Buxley and his pal Jan Hammy had strung 32 CPU's together with chicken wire in thier garage. This would be the parallelism hack equivalent to overclocking. Pretty soon though we would have to contend with the "parallelism myth" and the industry would in turn be trying to deemphasis parallelism for Mhz. It would be a cycle in that manner until finally one day the industry hits it big with the "quantumn computing myth". Stay tuned if your still alive by then. LOL!
    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#10352658)
      MHz *does* matter. A 3GHz Opteron should be 2x as fast as a 1.5GHz Opteron (of course, that doesn't take into account the rest of the system - memory bandwidth, disk bandwidth, etc.)

      The "MHz Myth" referrs to the fact that MHz is a poor metric to compare CPUs with. It's fair to compare a 3.2GHz P4 Prescott to a 3.6GHz P4 Prescott and expect that the 3.6GHz chip will be faster. What doesn't make sense is to comare a 3GHz P4 to a 2.4GHz Opteron and claim that the P4 is faster.
  • Deus Ex IW (Score:2, Funny)

    by Chiisu ( 462604 )
    So Deus Ex IW will run at a smooth 60 FPS now?
  • Speed of light (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ppswede ( 738227 )
    One step closer the maximum clock-speed of a single-cpu core, which probably should be pretty soon, if I'm correct? 6GHz means each clock cycle has 1/6*10^9th of a second to stabilize and reach every part of the chip that is affected.. with the speed of light, at roughly 3*10^8 m/s this means with this clockspeed, each cycle have time to travel roughly 5mm on the chip. I'm not a chip-engineer, but isn't this almost near the limit?
  • by PipsqueakOnAP133 ( 761720 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @09:40PM (#10352312)
    So in the "icing" link, I see a mobo with 4 DIMM slots. One's got a DIMM with heatsinks. The other appears to have an LED segment display and a pair of molex connectors to what looks like a DIMM.

    What is that?
  • by elmarkitse ( 816597 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @10:04PM (#10352459)
    Why on earth would they go to the expense of an LN2 based system when they could just open a few windows.
  • I wonder why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syukton ( 256348 ) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @02:37AM (#10353474)
    I wonder why people are more inclined to use something temporary like a liquid nitrogen bath, instead of keeping the LN2 cool with a stirling cryocooler []. I mean, sure, a 6 gigahertz computer is neat and all, but what use is it if you can't take it to a LAN party?

    I'm not too familiar with the terminology used in the cooling world, but 15 watts of cooling power at 77 kelvin (-196 deg C / -321 deg F) sounds like quite a bit of cooling power to me. I've often wondered why Stirling technology isn't used in air conditioners.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant