AMD Overclocks 3.2 GHz Phenome II X4 To 7 GHz

AMD Overclocks 3.2 GHz Phenome II X4 To 7 GHz

Out of the box, the new X4 955 Black Edition, which is aimed at gamers and hobbyists, runs at 3.2 GHz, giving it similar performance to Intel's fastest Core 2 processor at lower cost.

However, AMD was able to more than double the processor's speed to 7 GHz in during its overclocking tests.

To achieve such an increase, AMD needed to make use of exotic cooling materials, primarily liquid nitrogen and liquid helium. Barry said liquid nitrogen can help bring PC systems down to about -140 degrees Celsius. Liquid helium is even more potent, able to bring systems down to about -240 degrees Celsius, which starts to approach absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius).

Cooling a PC for 90 minutes requires 250 liters of liquid helium inside a aluminum vat the "size of a VW Beetle," according to AMD product manager, Brent Barry. The helium is kept under such high pressure that a leak has the potential to push all of the other gases out of the room and asphyxiate anyone inside.

Using Liquid Nitrogen cooling, hardware enthusiasts managed to overclock AMD's X4 955 CPU up to 6.5 GHz.