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Before every major architecture launch from AMD or NVIDIA, the companies typically hold an editor's or tech day. These events usually last about a day (sometimes two) and involve a bunch of press sitting in a conference room while they get peppered with presentations and pepper back with questions. Engineers and key architects are usually present. The goal behind these tech days is to help the press understand, at least from the manufacturer's perspective, what makes their new architecture tick. Benchmarking usually doesn't happen at these events, but typically we get hardware at the event or shortly thereafter. If you're curious, Intel doesn't typically do a tech day - that's what IDF is for.

Two weeks ago AMD held one of these tech days for its upcoming Bulldozer architecture, which will be sold under the FX brand (e.g. AMD FX-xxxx CPU). Although it'll still be a little while before I can talk about most of what transpired at the Bulldozer tech day, there is one thing I'm allowed to share today: overclocking potential.

AMD was conducting overclocking experiments at the tech day and had three different stations setup for us to look at. The first used a sub-$100 closed-loop waster cooling solution from Antec (Kühler series). I can't tell you much about the chip itself other than it is an 8-core FX processor that AMD was able to overclock to 4.8GHz using the Antec Kühler.

Next up was phase change cooling. Armed with a phase change cooler AMD pushed another 8-core FX CPU up to 5.894GHz at 1.632V.

AMD ended on its most aggressive cooling solution: liquid helium. Using liquid helium AMD was able to take Bulldozer to a new world record of 8.429GHz. The resulting overclocked frequency was high enough to get AMD's FX processor inducted into the Guiness Book of World Records for the highest frequency for a computer processor.

None of this tells us much about how Bulldozer will perform unfortunately. The most interesting number is likely the first number (4.8GHz) which gives you the upper bound of what to expect from an overclocked Bulldozer at home without any exotic cooling.

AMD recently announced it started shipping server versions of its Bulldozer CPU and that desktop parts will be available in Q4.

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  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    ... with an equally fast gpu..... Reply
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Helium melts at 4K, or just 6 degrees celcius away from absolute zero, where NOTHING MOVES. Does it really have to be THAT cold in order to push the processor? Reply
  • GuinnessKMF - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    You don't understand what records are do you? Reply
  • BSMonitor - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Or a company looking for any good highlights! Maybe this will push my stock price up! Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Amen to that!!!!!!!

    I bought at $8 and am still waiting to see some ROI
    Reply
  • ajlueke - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    I would just like to point out that the Kelvin scale and degree celcius are unit proportional. If something is a 4 Kelvin, it is four Kelvin away from absolute zero as well as four degrees celcius away from absolute zero, not six. Reply
  • phantom505 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Wow, not only is your science bad, your point is worse.

    By definition 4K is 4K above absolute 0. If we find out that that absolute 0 needs to be moved, it is. It's not a set scale.

    It actually operates quite well with slight cooling. You comment doesn't make any sense. You do know the basic physics of electronics and over clocking right?
    Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    So we could wake up tomorrow and find out that water now freezes at 8°C because they moved the Kelvin scale? Reply
  • Camikazi - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    To push i to 8.4GHz yes, considering it was a world record speed I'm guessing any CPU needs liquid helium to get close to that. Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    That's almost true. Helium's melting point (going from solid to liquid) is actually 1.15K, but it's boiling point (going from liquid to gas) is 4.55K (technically 4.549994K).

    BTW, 0K is defined as "absolute zero", and is part of the SI units. The relationship between Celsius and Kelvin is strictly a change in the zero point: 0°C = 273.15K, 0K = -273.15°C. So 4K is really 4 degrees Celsius away from absolute zero. It's also 4 Kelvin away from absolute zero so ...

    Either way, that's a crazy high multiplier...

    One thing that I've been trying to find out is what the previous record was.
    Reply

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