Team AMD FX sets Guiness record

Sep 14, 2011 by Nancy Owano report
Team AMD FX sets Guiness record

(PhysOrg.com) -- AMD has set the world record of fastest CPU with a speed frequency of 8.429 GHz, winning the company a place in the Guiness World Records. AMD’s yet-to-ship Bulldozer-based FX chips drew the Guinness ranking for the "Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor." The AMD-FX CPU is set to debut in Q4 2011.

Announced yesterday, the Guiness record news drew kudos and comments from a wide range of sites that closely follow news and events circling rivals and Intel.

Some reports noted the timing of AMD's announcement was made on the opening day of the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.The record was actually set at an event in Austin, Texas, on August 31. A special team had been assembled at the Texas event made up of expert overclockers along with AMD technologists and were dubbed Team AMD-FX. Their goal was to attempt record numbers by "overclocking" 8-core AMD FX desktop processors.

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They achieved an overclocked frequency of 8.429 GHz on the processors, breaking their former record of 8.308 GHz.

Overclocking refers to the process where technical experts get chips to run at higher than normal speeds.

AMD said they found that the company's FX chips could reach over 5 GHz using normal air cooling or water-cooling rigs that cost less than $100.

Commenting on the record-setting feat, the overclocking review site Overclockers Club made note that only two cores were running throughout the overclock. Having the other cores disabled may have helped the frequency boost, it said, along with the temperature of -235 degrees C to keep the CPU chilled. Nonetheless, the site added that a dual core clocked at 8.429GHz is still an AMD triumph.

Similarly, another site, Overclockers, said the record numbers spell only the beginning and that, looking forward, one might wonder what about 9 GHz. "Pre-production chips historically only scratch the surface of what the architecture is capable of. Given time as fabrication processes and yields improve while more people get their hands on more chips, we could hear reports of AMD seriously flirting with 9 GHz soon enough."

The AMD press statement said that, beside setting world records, the AMD FX processor will enable an "unrivaled enthusiast PC experience" for the money, including extreme multi-display gaming and HD content creation.

Explore further: Toshiba to launch world's fastest microSD memory cards

More information: Press release

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User comments : 21

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Eikka
2 / 5 (12) Sep 14, 2011
They need that speed for their lower instructions per clock efficiency.

Pentium 4 anyone?
kai0110
5 / 5 (3) Sep 14, 2011
LOL

Intel respectively locks their multiplier. Kind of hard to achieve the frequency past the recommended allocations.
Eikka
2.5 / 5 (8) Sep 14, 2011
Intel respectively locks their multiplier. Kind of hard to achieve the frequency past the recommended allocations.


Although you won't get any real benefits by increasing the clock speed of the CPU by increasing the multiplier, because the memory lags behind and the caches start to run empty. You can run PiFast extremely quickly, but any real application will choke on it.

Which is why these top overclocks are rather pointless. Increasing the DRAM speed by 5 MHz nets you more actual performance than getting the CPU to run 100 MHz faster, because any heavier computations tend to be memory bound, and this is exactly where computers have been dragging their feet.

Despite the increases in memory BUS speeds, the memory chips themselves are still almost as slow as ever, requiring dual and triple channeling (intel) to get sequential data in and out quickly.

The clock speed of the CPU has been quite irrelevant for the past 10 years.
Eikka
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 14, 2011
To make an analogy, running a CPU on a high multiplier is like driving a car on first gear. No matter how much you gun it, it's not actually going very fast.
jamesrm
3 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2011
CUDA, I mean kudos to them
hard2grep
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
I did a bit of drag racing back in the day too. Nitrogen runs are really bad on pc parts. This was just an "in your face" to remind everyone who took the ghz down.
SeeShells
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
@Eikka, You nailed it! Unless the rest of the system can provide data fast enough the CPU just spins it's wheels waiting for it to come down the pipe. Do you realize that light only has traveled about 1.5 inches during a clock cycle or 3.8 cm on this speedster?

Nothing changes, even doing engineering work on a old Ferrite iron core, transistorized, asynchronous clocked mainframe in the 60's things still had the same bottlenecks as now. GIGO
emsquared
5 / 5 (1) Sep 14, 2011
Great news! I've got my liquid nitrogen cooling system ready to go!
krundoloss
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
Yes its true that high Clock Speed is a bit like a Porsche delivering food to a Grocery Store. Sure it got there fast, but 8 Trucks going half as fast will get the job done faster. The CPU processes data, but it really is like a Mover of data, it works more efficiently if it can MOVE more data. Multiple cores at lower clock speeds achieve this better than fewer cores or cores with a faster clock speed. Also, higher clock speed causes more heat, leading to early failure and the need for advanced cooling. I wonder if we will just keep adding cores and staying in the sub 3Ghz range, or if we will jump to a new platform entirely, like Quantum or Optical CPU's. Time Will Tell. Good Job AMD for making toys for us to play with!
Eikka
2 / 5 (3) Sep 14, 2011
@Eikka, You nailed it! Unless the rest of the system can provide data fast enough the CPU just spins it's wheels waiting for it to come down the pipe. Do you realize that light only has traveled about 1.5 inches during a clock cycle or 3.8 cm on this speedster?


I am well aware, and that is why I always chuckle at the singularity idiots who think that just because the numbers get bigger every year, they'll get a free pass to nerd Valhalla in no time.

Feeding eight processing cores running at 8 GHz with today's memory systems is futile. It's like feeding fuel to a big block V8 through a drinking straw. Every time they introduce new improved memories with more megahertz to buy, the latencies increase at the same rate with the clock speed, which means that the random access time remains exactly the same - because the DRAM chips themselves are exactly the same.

It's simply a marketing gimmick.
finitesolutions
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
Gotta hate this Intel suckers.
The same stuff that mades AMD processors can be used to make RAM memory. RAM can also be cooled and sped up.
An advance in CPU speed will lead to faster memories eventually.
Eikka
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011

An advance in CPU speed will lead to faster memories eventually.


Not necessarily, since they rely on slightly different mechanics. Dynamic RAM relies on small capacitors that are supposed to hold a charge until the next refresh cycle, whereas CPU switching transistors just try to gain and dump their gate charge as fast as possible when the state changes. The CPU transistors are always driven high or low, they have a defined state to be, whereas the DRAM cell's state drifts constantly like a ball thrown up in the air (hence, dynamic RAM), so the faster you make them the more suspectible they become to slight deviations in timing and random errors, and manufacturing tolerances.

Technically, you could replace DRAM with SRAM which is made out of transistor flip-flops, which would make it fast and reliable, but it would also make the cost of a gigabyte of RAM shoot through the roof.

Ironically, the last Intel processor I owned was a 486. I buy value, not top speed.
Skultch
5 / 5 (1) Sep 14, 2011
Is it normal to handle liquid nitrogen without gloves?
maccaroo
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
Is it normal to handle liquid nitrogen without gloves?


That was the first thing I noticed too...

I think this record is about as useful as most other records (think land/air speed records). It shows what can be done when you focus all your efforts on a single variable, usually to the detriment of all others. Once proven that it can be done (at all), you then dare others to do it more practically.
rwinners
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
To make an analogy, running a CPU on a high multiplier is like driving a car on first gear. No matter how much you gun it, it's not actually going very fast.

Well.. my old BMW gets to 40 in first gear... and 120 in third....
Parsec
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2011
Actually, most chips have quite large on-board caches which execute much closer to processor speed then the external memory chips you guys are referring to. Optimizing code so that it is entirely in the cache is quite possible when you have 64mb or 128mb of cache memory. In fact, just using the automatic optimizer often loads the entire program into the cache during execution if the program is small enough without having to resort to assembly or any other low level programming at all. You can do the entire thing in C .
Eikka
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
Optimizing code so that it is entirely in the cache is quite possible when you have 64mb or 128mb of cache memory.


Yes, but what happens when you have a gigabyte of data that you need to churn through? Once your processor becomes quick enough to process the cached information faster than it can be replaced, you hit a brick wall in performance.

It's especially bad if you need data from random locations in memory instead of just streaming a block of data, because modern memory systems use interleaving to put the data in two or three different banks (channels) to get it in and out faster. E.g. you can hop on to writing the next bit to the next bank without waiting the previous one to finish doing its job. The trouble is that it only works properly if you have a continuous bunch of data, instead of bits and bobs from here and there.

So you can imagine how the performance scales when you try to run multiple processes that all require access to different data.
Ricochet
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
To make an analogy, running a CPU on a high multiplier is like driving a car on first gear. No matter how much you gun it, it's not actually going very fast.

Well.. my old BMW gets to 40 in first gear... and 120 in third....

How much crap can you fit in the trunk? And don't include the back seats, because that's your L2 cache area.
rwinners
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
To make an analogy, running a CPU on a high multiplier is like driving a car on first gear. No matter how much you gun it, it's not actually going very fast.

Well.. my old BMW gets to 40 in first gear... and 120 in third....

How much crap can you fit in the trunk? And don't include the back seats, because that's your L2 cache area.


It's a '95 Five series, so quite a lot! My L2 area is a bit cramped for large people, but it does have dual access.
EWH
5 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2011
"Is it normal to handle liquid nitrogen without gloves?"

You can dip your hand in LN briefly without any ill effect. The Leidenfrost effect forms a vapor barrier preventing heat conduction, just like a drop of water skittering over a hot frying pan. I've done it - it only feels a little cool, less so than ice water.
Skultch
5 / 5 (1) Sep 16, 2011
"Is it normal to handle liquid nitrogen without gloves?"

You can dip your hand in LN briefly without any ill effect. The Leidenfrost effect forms a vapor barrier preventing heat conduction, just like a drop of water skittering over a hot frying pan. I've done it - it only feels a little cool, less so than ice water.


Thanks. I nominate this for the cool fact of the day. :)

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