There is a sub-culture in the computing world that is more or less analogous to the world of NHRA drag racing: liquid nitrogen overclocking. And if you are really serious, liquid helium. During a press event in Austin, TX in August to discuss the upcoming Bulldozer processor, a team of overclockers pushed the new architecture to frequencies well beyond safety and well beyond where they should be. Without giving away the whole story yet, AMD was able to set a new frequency world record…
Sami Mäkinen and his team hit 8.429GHz on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium with a near-production FX processor sample. This bests the reigning record of 8.308 GHz that was hit on a Celeron processor with LN2.
On August 31, an AMD FX processor achieved a frequency of 8.429GHz, a stunning result for a modern, multi-core processor. The record was achieved with several days of preparation and an amazing and inspired run in front of world renowned technology press in Austin, Texas. This frequency bests the prior record of 8.309GHz, and completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold. We achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.
I was in attendance for the event and have to say that group put on a spectacular show and anytime you can play with liquid helium running at near absolute zero temperature, it’s worth paying attention! In fact, I put together a video of the event that you can see below and if you haven’t participated or seen something of this nature, it is worth checking out!!
Now I need to temper some dreams right now – the chances of you or I reaching these types of clock speeds on the Bulldozer CPUs upon release are pretty close to nil. What was more interesting was the casual overclocking we saw pushing upwards of 4.8+ GHz without breaking a sweat and that is what we will be investigating with our review of the processor later this year.
Update: Here is the screenshot from the official HWBot frequency rankings as well as a different video created by AMD themselves summarizing the event.