Supercooled AMD Bulldozer Breaks Overclock Record

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AMD has smashed the overclocking speed record thanks to the use of liquid nitrogen and liquid helium

AMD has entered the Guinness World Book Of Records after it smashed the previous overclocking frequency record using an eight-core AMD FX desktop processor. The world record was set by a team of people dubbed Team AMD FX, which is said to be made of up of AMD technologists as well as elite overclocking specialists.

This chip is AMD’s forthcoming FX processor (codenamed Bulldozer), which will launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

World Record

At an event in Texas on 31 August they used an AMD FX CPU to set the world record, where they achieved an overclocked frequency of 8.429 GHz on a near-production, eight-core AMD FX 8150 (Bulldozer) processor sample. The previous world  record was 8.308GHz.

Although the event took place last month, it took until 13 September for AMD to be officially recognised as achieving the Guinness World Record for the “Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor,” by overclocking the upcoming eight-core AMD FX desktop processor.

“The record-breaking processor speed that resides in the AMD FX CPU clearly demonstrates performance gains for the new AMD ‘Bulldozer’ multi-core architecture, which will provide x86 computing power for this CPU and future AMD Accelerated Processing Units,” said Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager, at AMD.

“Along with world-record frequencies, the AMD FX processor will enable an unrivalled enthusiast PC experience for the money – extreme multi-display gaming, mega-tasking and HD content creation,” he added.

“We applaud AMD for their entry into Guinness World Records for achieving the Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor,” said Freddie Hoff, adjudicator for Guinness World Records. “We congratulate everyone involved in this record-breaking achievement.”

YouTube video of the world record being set can be found here.

Combatting Heat

Overclocking is the process of running a processor at a higher frequency rate than its maker designed it for. It significantly increases the speed of the processor, but it does have drawbacks – the main ones being power and heat.

Essentially overclocking records like this are something of a balancing act, as the researchers have to apply power (i.e. voltage) to the chip to improve clock speed (i.e. performance), while at the same time combating the massive build up of heat. Most desktop and laptop PCs for example use fans to shunt this heat out of the computer casing. Some servers and mainframes use liquid cooling, in the form of water or oil.

For the record attempt Team AMD FX used a combination of liquid nitrogen and liquid helium to combat the heat. Indeed the experiment showed that the AMD FX CPU is robust enough to handle increased voltage, but that it is also extremely resilience to cold, and has excellent frequency scaling with lower operating temperatures.

Last week, AMD revealed that it had begun shipping the 16-core “Interlagos” Opteron server chip, the first of its processors based on the Bulldozer architecture.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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