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AMD Phenom II Overclocked To 6.5GHz 303

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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  • from TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:38PM (#26609381) Journal

    which is a world record for a quad core CPU and they dished out and astonishing 45,474 3DMark05 score! Watch the video below to see how it was done and how history was made:

    Truly PHENOMenal, but I can't help but (cynically, I admit) think about how history inevitably mocks overclockers. Cue back to the 90s and a headline might have read "486 overclocked to 500Mhz -- history has been made!". Like Ozymandias, nothing beside remains...

  • by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:59PM (#26609727)

    Last I checked neither my condo nor my office has a piped in supply of cryogenic gasses...

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:00PM (#26609739) Homepage Journal

    at the time a 486 might have been overclocked to 500 mhz, it would have been a great deal. more precisely, at the time anything has been overclocked to phenomenonal mhz, it has been a great deal AT THAT TIME.

  • by Merovign ( 557032 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:07PM (#26609865)

    AMD doesn't make any $1200 chips.

    Like it or not, that's just not the market they're in. They're doing well at the $200 level, though.

    I'm not particularly concerned that there's little competition in the segment I'd never pay for anyway. I mean, it's nice that there are Maybach Mercedes and McLaren F1's, but that doesn't mean I'm worried about competetiveness in the segment.

    Whereas I'd be worried if there was only one mid-priced performance sedan, especially if it was sub-expectations in some way.

    I don't think AMD is ashamed to have set a record with a $235 chip, in a world previously dominated by $1000+ chips.

  • Stability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:07PM (#26609869) Journal

    I know I once bought a specific CPU because I knew it would be good for overclocking. It wasn't a bad idea -- a 1.8 ghz CPU that I could get running at 2.4, at perhaps half or a third the price of a similar CPU at 2.4 ghz, and I'd overclock my RAM, also.

    I learned two things:

    First, you really have to know your stuff. The RAM I had wouldn't overclock very well, and RAM which would cost a bit more. I had the BIOS helping me out, and I still had to fiddle with timings and voltages.

    And second, despite all the stress testing I did, it would still occasionally crash. I never tracked down these crashes until I clocked it back to spec. Once I got a job, I decided that shelling out another hundred dollars or so for a faster CPU was a better use of my time than trying to overclock one, and dealing with the instability once I did.

    Now, that's probably a completely different area than overclocking to 6.5 ghz, but if I really needed that, I imagine it would be much more cost-effective to buy two or three of them. It won't really help rasterized games (that'd be video-card bound), and raytraced games should scale to multiple machines.

  • Re:from TFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:09PM (#26609897)

    It is one thing to know that in two years you can regularly buy a system twice as fast as today's fastest system

    I doubt it. CPU speeds haven't really increased that much in the past few years. We're reaching the limits of what we can do
    with a CPU as far as speed goes. Even shifting to 32nm wont increase the speeds that much... mostly just lower power usage.
    They wont be running too much faster but we'll have CPUs with many more cores and it'll take more than a couple of years to shift
    to properly distributed programming which will be needed to properly use those cores.

  • by CookieOfFortune ( 955407 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:12PM (#26609923)
    It really depends on the type of substances used, usually an alloy with the correct proportions, but I doubt they would stumble upon a superconducting combination on the chip. (Not that it would matter anyways, since the speed limitation is caused by the switching speed of the transistors).
  • 3DMark? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gmail. c o m> on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:21PM (#26610017)
    What the hell is a "3DMark"? It sounds about as objective as a bogomip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:37PM (#26610235)

    (a) Some people just enjoy this sort of thing. I don't really pay attention to who is the fastest at driving a car around a track, but some other people do. So, one answer to your question: maybe it's not exciting at all, to you, and no one says it must be.

    (b) Epic overclocks like this presage the chips to come. While I won't be using anything but stock air coolers in my own computers, I'm happy to know that the Phenom II overclocks this well, because that means there is headroom in the design and that AMD will be able to get the clock rate up over the next year or two. So, maybe it's not exciting, but it is interesting to know that the Phenom II isn't a chip that can just barely support its official clock.

  • Re:Stability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:54PM (#26610473) Journal

    I've always been more of a fan of underclocking, myself. Or as you say, regular-clocking.

    ten or even thirty percent just isn't that much of a difference in performance to justify a stability headache OR paying an extra couple hundred bucks.

    To be interesting, the performance improvement per dollar ought to be significantly better than linear, and at least double. Or you need an application that is CPU bound, time sensitive, and has large processing chunks. 30% isn't going to make much difference in UI performance. Spend that money on RAM.

  • Re:Stability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @03:05PM (#26610629)
    Overclocking is like tricking out your Honda Accord. It is a hobby in and of itself. It isn't a good idea for people who just want a computer that works well, just as constant modification to an Accord isn't a good idea for people that just want a reliable form of transportation. That doesn't mean that they are not perfectly reasonable hobbies. It just means that they are not hobbies for me, not hobbies for most people, and most people will think you are wasting your time because it is not their form of entertainment.

    Personally, I have purchased a brand new homebrew Amiga clone within the last year, and have purchased 2 C64 clones within the last 5 years. I certainly know what it means to enjoy a hobby that the vast majority of people "don't get".

    The biggest problem with overclocking for the masses is that if you don't enjoy the act of overclocking in and of itself, you can achieve better results through procrastination.
  • Re:Okay.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cide1 ( 126814 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @03:23PM (#26610929) Homepage
    I generally don't let these types of things affect the CPU I use for work. I have found that in order for a system to be fast, all components much be equally matched. When the CPU is overclocked by a factor of 2, and the memory is not, the amount of time spent waiting on memory will increase significantly. If a designer knew the chip would be run at the higher speed, more cache would generally be included to make up for the disparity between CPU speed and memory speed. A good rule for buying new systems is to upgrade in two halves. I generally buy motherboard, RAM, CPU, and power supply at the same time for compatibility reasons. A year or two later, I will update my storage and video card. I buy a motherboard that supports the fastest memory made, I buy a lot of memory, and I buy a CPU that is at a point on the price to performance curve where spending more doesn't yield much more performance. In a year or two when software starts to actually use this capacity, Ill upgrade storage and video for a bit of a boast. Unfortunately, faster hard drives only make a bit of difference.
  • Re:Zomg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SleepingWaterBear ( 1152169 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:00PM (#26611491)


    People use liquid nitrogen to over clock a CPU, news at 11.

    Well, really they used liquid helium. When you use liquid helium (which has a boiling point of about 4.2K at 1 atmosphere), you're using the liquid nitrogen (boiling point of 77K) just to keep the liquid Helium cold longer. Using liquid nitrogen is sort of boring - you can store it in an insulated jug for a good long while even, but using liquid helium is, well, pretty damned cool!

  • by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @06:59PM (#26614615) Journal

    A ultralow wattage athlon64x2 with a 780g chipset uses less power than an atom machine last I checked. the 945 chipset is shirts.

  • Re:Okay.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @07:31PM (#26614997) Journal

    'Unfortunately, faster hard drives only make a bit of difference.'

    I suppose a 'faster' hard drive doesn't make a big difference compared with a 'fast' hard drive. But a fast hard drive compared with a slow hard drive makes a HUGE real world performance difference. Clunky and slow drives are the primary reason that laptops are so doggedly slow compared to desktops.

    Of course 'speed' is defined by rpm's in this case, not throughput.

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