The Kryotech Method

If you’re not familiar with Kryotech they are a South Carolina based company (AnandTech’s southern neighbors actually) that originally gained much of their fame from their work with Intel.  Although publicly the only Intel based Kryotech system ever offered was a Pentium Pro system, Kryotech’s cooling solutions were used quite frequently in Intel demonstrations.  Many times when Intel would demo a system running at an extremely high clock speed without specifically mentioning that it was air-cooled, there would be a Kryotech unit sitting underneath a table hidden by a curtain. 

Not too keen on the idea of taking Intel processors and overclocking them, Intel left Kryotech with one choice, to work closer with AMD.  When Kryotech started working with AMD in 1997/1998, the K6 was AMD’s flagship and it didn’t exactly dominate competition from Intel in the performance market segment that Kryotech was targeting.  Regardless, AMD was a great partner for Kryotech and they continued to work closely.  When the Athlon was released, the eyes over at Kryotech lit up with anticipation of what they’d be able to do with a processor that was not only capable of reaching much higher clock speeds, but also with one that was a performance dominating offering.  But how exactly does Kryotech do what they do?

The Kryotech method relies on a phenomenon known as Vapor Phase Refrigeration.  The concept of vapor phase refrigeration shouldn’t be all too unfamiliar to you since it is the same principle that keeps your food cold in your refrigerator (it’s not surprising that a Kryotech system usually sounds a lot like a refrigerator).  Let's start by looking at the words Vapor Phase Refrigeration; refrigeration means that there must be some sort of refrigerant involved and indeed there is.  This refrigerant can be considered the base for this cooling pie as it is the substance that cycles through the Kryotech system, performing the extreme cooling.

The refrigerant alone isn't too useful for removing the incredible amounts of heat today's processors generate; this is where the "vapor phase" part of the equation comes into play.  The refrigerant is sent through a compressor which increases its pressure tremendously.  Because the refrigerant used is initially in a gaseous state, when exposed to extreme pressures it undergoes a phase change to a liquid. 

The same refrigerant, now actually in a semi-liquid form, is sent through a condenser.  Also a part of a normal refrigerator, the condenser takes the semi-liquid refrigerant and cools it down using a fan blowing across the copper pipes that hold the refrigerant. 

Now, finally as a liquid, the refrigerant is sent to the processor and undergoes a pressure drop in the process.  This allows the refrigerant to remove significant amounts of heat from the CPU in its conversion back to a gas.  As a gas, the refrigerant repeats the process, journeying through the compressor, condenser and again to your CPU. 

All of that is just great but how does it allow you to increase clock speed?  As we’ve discussed numerous times in the past, there are two major ways that CPU manufacturers can increase the clock speed of their CPUs.  They can either enhance or change the architecture of the core (for example, optimizing layout or even adding stages to the pipeline) or they can decrease the size of the processor’s circuitry thus allowing electrons to flow with less resistance through the CPU.  It is the latter that supercooling a CPU allows for, the more heat is removed from the processor, the more electrons can be moving without encountering enough resistance to stop them; this paves the way for higher clock speeds.  The rule of thumb for exactly how much of an improvement is that at -40C, you can get approximately 30 - 35% of an increase in performance out of most conventional semiconductors. 

Kryotech's solutions work by "thermally accelerating" (read: overclocking) present day CPUs beyond their limits by employing this Vapor Phase Refrigeration technology to supercool the CPUs.  Kryotech's SuperG2 can "thermally accelerate" an Athlon 1.4GHz processor to 1.866GHz, a 33% increase in clock speed and a clock speed that AMD's roadmap doesn't list anytime this year.

Index The SuperG2

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now