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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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  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#26609321)

    .. to get a decent score in 3DMark ..

  • Crunchy (Score:5, Funny)

    by x1050us ( 832886 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:38PM (#26609367)
    Numbers must be really crunchy at that temperature
  • 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 unity100 ( 970058 )

      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.

    • 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.

      • by anss123 ( 985305 )

        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.

        My experience has been similar. I've managed to overclock CPUs but to get them runing stable I had to fiddle with voltages and even then the overclock had to be pretty mild (2.4 Ghz to 2.6 GHz for instance).

        Ignoring stability performance did increase, yay, but so did the heat and the noise of the CPU fan. Not worth it.

      • I made the same mistake. I bought 3 OEM Celeron 300A CPUs, based on widely published claims they could be overclocked to 450MHz. Only one of them could successfully run at 450MHz, and that required cranking the CPU voltage way up (that machine is still running and still crashing all the time, but then it is still running Windows 98 SE.) I suspect the dealer had gone through the batch and picked out all the good ones for himself. At this point, overclocking seems silly when you can wait a few months and get
      • 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.
      • Same boat for me. When I was younger (and cheaper) I would always try a little bit of overclocking. Overclocked a Celeron 366 to 550 and it worked pretty good after some tweaking. After that I overclocked my next chip as a Celeron 566 to 850. Again though, took some tweaking. I used "slockets" back then and constantly was looking for high quality HSF's, slockets that offered voltage or FSB adjustments via jumpers, etc. Took a lot of work to get them stable. After that I tried several different chips

        • And just as an addendum: while I think overclocking is a fine hobby (like I said, I used to do it), and wish overclockers all the best, I must admit that sometimes they can be annoying with user-generated reviews. With processors, countless times when looking through user reviews I have to wade through a ton of reviews which rate the chip poorly simply because it didn't overclock as well as they'd hoped, or even worse, write that they are returning the product because it didn't overclock well.

          Do as you wan

    • Re:from TFA (Score:5, Funny)

      by ahoehn ( 301327 ) <andrew AT hoe DOT hn> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:25PM (#26611995) Homepage

      Like Ozymandias, nothing beside remains...

      "My name is G1G4BY73_PU5H3R, Overclocker of Overclockers:
      Look on my 1337 benchmarks, ye n00bs, and despair!"

  • whoo! and i _still_ get the first post with my q6600!
  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:46PM (#26609503) Homepage Journal

    Can you run FSX and Cryis at 60FPS?

  • by VinylRecords ( 1292374 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:47PM (#26609513)

    I'm not sure if it's quite -232 Celsius in my apartment but it's pretty close. They probably could have achieved 6.0GHz overclocking using an air-cooled system in my living room alone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hattig ( 47930 )

      You can't be married. Any woman would have turned on the central heating to max by now, and filled every room with electric heaters on top.

      And they'd still complain about it being cold, even as you sat there sweating like a pig, wearing a wife-beater, with your feet in cold water, and a cold can of wife-beater in your hand.

  • I was there (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:50PM (#26609567) Homepage Journal

    I was there, too. The coolest it got was approximately -242 degrees C; the warmest was approximately -218 degreesC, at least while I was watching.

    The party was the [] party at its LV headquarters, and it was sponsored primarily by AMD, DFI, Gigabyte, Cooler Master, and Thermaltake. It seems to me that Commodore had a presence there, too.

    See ThinkComputers' blog [] for some more pictures (disclosure: my article).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    How reliable is that thing?
  • FIRST POST (Score:5, Funny)

    by A. B3ttik ( 1344591 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @01:56PM (#26609677)
    ...with my lightning-fast 486!!!
  • That's pretty impressive, but right now I'm posting using my overclocked apple IIe.

  • Anyone know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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... ;)
  • Considering that chip is rated to run at 3Ghz and you can OC only around 5 - 15% at room temperature, I'm pretty impressed by >200%. Also that the chipset held up while the CPU was running that as well.

    Wonder what kind of power requirements that would translate to... Current leak becomes a significant loss above 3Ghz (which is pretty much why no one really makes 4Ghz+ chips), do the low temperatures keep those leakages under control, or does it just keep the hemorrhaging from making the system unstable?

    • Leakage is not a direct function of speed. Thin gates and short transistors leak, and they are necessary for high speeds. Higher voltage increases speed and dramatically increases leakage. Lower temperatures decrease leakage.

      The primary effect of low temperature is to make FETs conduct better. This reduces switching time, so the CPU can be run faster.

    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      Also that the chipset held up while the CPU was running that as well.

      The chipset was running at its usual speed. You don't need to overclock the chipset to overclock the CPU -- that's only the case when the multiplier is locked and you have to get the FSB/HT running higher to get the CPU to run higher... and nobody uses those CPUs for serious overclocking.

  • 3DMark? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 )
    What the hell is a "3DMark"? It sounds about as objective as a bogomip.
  • During CES a group of overclocker's

    a group of overclocker's what exactly? Is it just me or is the correct use of apostrophe's [sic] starting to become a lost art these days?

  • Light Distances (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperAndy ( 1414157 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:32PM (#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.
  • I'm more curious to see real world results. How well can you overclock this on air?

    I just ordered the same proc, a 790GX mobo, and a 1 gig HD 4850 yesterday on the cheap. The cpu+mobo combo was $295, and the video card was $161.

    Intel still has the top end market, but at these prices, I'm pretty happy with what AMD is offering.

  • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @02:41PM (#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,5505.html [] Although I think this was reset to 8.2ghz not long after.
  • So you can watch all your postage-stamp-sized video and hear all your high-bitrate MP3 tracks.
  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by smcdow ( 114828 ) on Monday January 26, 2009 @03:25PM (#26610949) Homepage

    Imagine a Beowul... oh, never mind.

  • I heard (Score:2, Funny)

    by mandark1967 ( 630856 )

    that it still only scored 4.7 on the Vista Performance Index...

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