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AMD_FX_CPU_LogoNormally I do not think that a CPU running at a massive clock speed is very news worthy. This is even more true when the speed in question cannot do much more than verify “yes this was my clock speed”. However, when the same model and style of CPU breaks a world record twice in around two months… well that is something a little different. I decided to take a look and see what was going on.

It seems that back in September an overclocker by the name of Macci (aka AMD_FX-FX_chew*_macci_hardman_64NOMIS_AJS) posted a verified CPUz for the AMD FX-8150 Octo-core CPU of 8.429.38 MHz (8.429GHz). This speed was achieved by using a staggering 2.016 volts on an Asus Crosshair V Formula. This is not a bad clock at all, but we did notice something very interesting.

If you look at the screen shot above you notice that despite being listed as an “AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core Processor” CPUz only lists two cores and two threads. This would seem to indicate that to reach this speed Macci had to shut off three other cores (there are two “cores” per “core) bringing it down to just the two single cores inside one CPU module on the processor die. Now, before you fire off that nasty email of start warming up the flame thrower, I want to be clear on something; this speed is extremely impressive. No matter how thin you slice it, but it does bring up something though. On the Phenom the crossbar that talked between CPU cores would often fail to respond in a timely manner between all cores. This would cause a BSOD and mean that that high clock speed you were going for was out of the question.  (Before anyone says anything, I know this happens on Intel CPUs as well it is just not as common).
Last week another overclocker by the name of Andre Yang pushed the FX-8150 (Dual Core) CPU past the 8.42 mark to 8.46GHz. This time the high Clock speed was reached with a voltage of only 1.992 Volts, but still using the same motherboard.  These two clock speed are very impressive in terms of simply going for that top spot, but what is missing right now is the performance side of overclocking. Where are the low SuperPi Scores, the high PCMark Scores, and PiFast numbers?  

While I would never take away from the accomplishments of these two overclockers, I will say to AMD that overclocking is not only about the clockspeed. You have to have performance to match these numbers, and from what we are seeing… it just isn’t there yet.

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01Overclocking is a big deal these days. I can remember when it was just a bunch of crazed guys with too much money and free time on their hands. We used to do things like solder new resistors onto CPUs (the Slot A Athlons), swap out caps and resistors on motherboards to get more voltage through the boards and to the CPU.  I vividly remember building water cooling kits with pool pumps and tubing bought from Home Depot. Once I even pulled a radiator from a Coke vending machine (old and broken) for a rig I was building. Well thankfully those days are over (but it would still be fun to do some of this). Motherboard makers are now designing and building motherboards with top of the line components voltage regulation systems and tracing that is laid out for business. Many have world class overclockers that work for them to get the most performance out of each and every motherboard. Every now and then they get to build something special from the ground up. We are taking a look at one of these boards that has been built for speed. The one we have in-house was designed by HiCookie; the resident overclocker at Gigabyte. This is the X58A-OC (the OC is for Overclocking as if you could not guess).