You have to admire the timing. On the first day of the Intel Developer Forum, AMD is trying to steal some thunder by announcing a 2-week-old achievement: one of the company’s 8-core, Bulldozer-based FX processor CPUs hit 8.429 GHz running the CPU-Z PC benchmark test while first being cooled down to 77K (-196C) using boring old liquid nitrogen—an overclocker staple cooling fluid that costs about the same per liter as beer—and then to about 4K (-269C) using liquid helium. Lest you think this is all a stunt, the same processor tops 5GHz using either air cooling or an inexpensive and common liquid-cooling system.
AMD discussed the Bulldozer architecture at last month’s Hot Chips conference http://www.hotchips.org. Here’s a block diagram of a “Bulldozer module.”
From this diagram you can see that one fetch-and-decode unit feeds two separate integer units and one floating-point unit. Each integer unit contains four separate integer execution pipelines. Each integer unit has its own 16-Kbyte L1 data cache and all of the execution units in the Bulldozer module share a 2-Mbyte L2 cache. So one Bulldozer module actually contains eight integer pipelines.
PC World has a posted a writeup with some photos and AMD has posted this video that dramatically documents this event/achievement:
The AMD announcement includes this curious caveat: “Note: Overclocking and extreme cooling will void your hardware warranties and could cause serious damage to your PC hardware. We destroy motherboards, processors, and graphics cards at an alarming rate doing it.”
You were warned.