AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: video, overclocking, FX, bulldozer, amd

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...

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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. 

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You can read AMD's take on the accomplishment by hitting up the AMD Blogs website or looking up Simon Solotko's directly.

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.  

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Source: AMD
September 13, 2011 | 09:34 AM - Posted by ThomasR (not verified)

In general CPU speed is playing less and less of a role for at home computing though right? Not taking anything away from this achievement, just posing a question. To me in the last 2 years the bottleneck is now my Internet speed. It went from memory starvation, to CPU speed, to graphics speed, to hard drive times which have now all been solved....and now the aforementioned 'net speed. Do others agree?

September 14, 2011 | 06:03 AM - Posted by kie7077 (not verified)

No, definitely don't agree, editing 1080p video and saving at high quality takes forever, I want a processor 100x as fast. Internet download speeds are fast enough to watch Hi-def but upload speeds in the UK suck.

September 14, 2011 | 06:11 PM - Posted by player-x

Agree totally here, do I fixed that by doing all the encoding of all my films on my server.

I use a 2600K in my server that i even sometimes OC to 4,4GHz if needed, the difference between a G620 and a 2600K is 4 watts in normal use, see table in the bottom. (+/-5 euro/year energy cost)

So now I just start re/en-coding and forget.

Got some nice benefits.

1. Server is on 24/7 anyway
2. On my kill a watt meter I use about 50% less power then my main system with a i7 970 for encoding a hole film.
3. No noise, server is standing in the basement anyway.
4. No problem work PC under encoding load, wile using it.

Bit minus is that the cooler (Spire Thermax Eclipse II) and CPU is about 220 euro extra, over a G620 and the stock cooler.

CPU (total system use) Idle/Load
E-350 26W/38W
Pentium G620 Undervolt @ 0.9GHz 31W/43W
Pentium G620 31W/60W
Pentium G840 31W/60W
Pentium G850 32W/65W
Core i3 2100 33W/69W
Athlon X2 240e 34W/84W
i3 2120 33W/84W
i5 2400 34W/99W
i5 2500K 34W/110W
i7 2600K 35W/125W
i7-2600K (4.85GHz) 39W/190W

September 16, 2011 | 04:55 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

I agree with you Thomas. For me, and a larger majority of people, the bottleneck is bandwidth. The reason why i say majority is because a much bigger percent of enthusiasts using these type of parts are gamers. A smaller group are encoding/decoding and say the CPU will always be the bottleneck.

September 13, 2011 | 09:35 AM - Posted by ThomasR (not verified)

... And before anyone critiques my post I understand the enormity of the values CPU speed has to industry and research and yes these limits are exciting in those realms :)

September 13, 2011 | 09:51 AM - Posted by wren337 (not verified)

Seems these guys are not being respectful of the materials they are handling (LN and LH) - Where are the goggles? Where are the gloves? One splash and you've got a nasty burn, blind for life, etc. Bad example guys. You're pros, act like it.

September 13, 2011 | 10:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nah dude, neither are really useful unless you're holding the container with liquid nitrogen in it, and it's cold. Liquid nitrogen and helium evaporate so quickly that it takes sustained contact with skin to cool its surface long enough for the liquid nitrogen/helium to even actually touch the skin before turning into a gas. I've poured liquid nitrogen in my hands, and it creates a layer of nitrogen immediately under the liquid that boils so quickly, your skin barely even gets cold (mind you, I only poured a tablespoonful).

September 13, 2011 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Platypus F (not verified)

Anonymous is correct. I've been in contact with LN2, myself. It feels like a cold skin of compressed gas.

September 13, 2011 | 01:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Liquid nitrogen is soooo cold that if you get it on you in small quantities (like splash), it will surface boil, never touching the skin.

The problem is stepping on LN when you spill some on the floor. That will ruin your shoes! (yeap, speaking from experience)

So yeah, what you posted is uninformed FUD.

September 13, 2011 | 10:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The goggles, they do nothing!!

October 21, 2011 | 07:43 PM - Posted by TheHottuB (not verified)

Yeah, not even RadioActive man can handle this stuff. lol

September 13, 2011 | 10:48 AM - Posted by essequemodeia (not verified)

Hopefully this will create some PR buzz that will counter the eventual revelation that Bulldozer underperforms like a mofo.

September 13, 2011 | 11:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Jesus guys, I've never seen liquid helium worked with so haphazardly! I at least hope you had proper ventilation and were careful liquid oxygen condensing?

September 13, 2011 | 02:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

They weren't cooling the processor to these temperatures. They were just trying to get cooler temperatures. Any LHe would evaporate very very quickly before you could get any LO2 there.

LO2 is only a problem in cases where you actually have pooled LHe exposed to air. They obviously did not.

I also do not understand your comment about ventilation. He is inert and it will not kill you - there are medical tests where you breath in He. Nitrogen is 78% of air. Heck, people are using dry ice without proper ventilation all the time and we are MUCH MORE sensitive to any increase in CO2 than He or N.

September 13, 2011 | 05:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Inert gases in high quantities with poor ventilation can indeed kill via asphyxiation. The inert gas displaces and reduces the partial pressure of oxygen we require to be able to breathe. Many industrial deaths occur every year due to working with nitrogen in a poorly ventilated environment. With the amounts they used here and the relative size of the room, I'm sure it was well ventilated.

September 13, 2011 | 01:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I saw this earlier today and was initially thrilled. But then I saw this FX-Series Pre-Order If these prices are accurate it just indicates that AMD will be competing in the same low to mid performance levels against Intel that they have been for the last several years.

September 13, 2011 | 02:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So AMD has some PR now, not bad.
But I want some real tests(rendering) under linux, it seems AMD chips benefit from changing OS more than Intel http://www.anandtech.com/show/2978/amd-s-12-core-magny-cours-opteron-617... unfortunatly there aren't much tests like this, i wonder if Bulldozer vs SB would be the same.

September 17, 2011 | 01:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

those are not bulldozer processor.

September 14, 2011 | 09:09 AM - Posted by Jesse (not verified)

Awesome vid. Keep up the good work!

October 1, 2011 | 10:20 AM - Posted by drbaltazar (not verified)

pcper:i couldnt help but notice on the tube above (cpu z)that they ran only in 2 cpu 2 thread!does it mean they wrongly tested the cpu and that if they had tested at 8 cpu and max number of thread the cpu support they would have had lower number?i all in for posting big number but if it isnt at the max the cpu is capable of it means squat if it does 8.5 gh in a 2 cpu 2 thread environement!ty for reply

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