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AMD Shows Upcoming Phenom II CPU At 6.0 GHz+

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the calm-down-there-cowpoke dept.

AMD 159

Vigile writes "Today during a press briefing at AMD's offices in Austin, TX the company showed off some upcoming technology that should be available sometime early in 2009. What was most impressive was the overclocked speeds of the pending Phenom II X4 45nm processors. On air cooling AMD showed the quad-core CPU running at nearly 4.0 GHz while with much more extreme liquid nitrogen cooling help the same CPU reached over 6.0 GHz! It looks like AMD's newest processor might finally once again compete with the best from Intel, including its recent Core i7 CPUs."

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159 comments

8===C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P===D (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836369)

You know you like it, baby.

8===C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P===D

first question.. (2, Interesting)

Hillview (1113491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836371)

what's the power rating for this thing at 4 ghz? 250 watts?

Re:first question.. (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836473)

What an odd question to ask when you are so far off the mark. [wikipedia.org]

Re:first question.. (1)

Hillview (1113491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836695)

Sorry, I guess I was looking at the standard ratings for existing processors from newegg. You know, 2.3ghz phenom at 95 watts, 2.4ghz at 125 watts... You linked it yourself: 65, 95, 125 and 140 Watt

Re:first question.. (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836705)

That link only includes information regarding the current it does have a quick paragraph on the new ones but no TDP is mentioned.

Re:first question.. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837367)

That link only includes information regarding the current it does have a quick paragraph on the new ones but no TDP is mentioned.

They're almost certainly going to keep the same TDP bands as they have today. Of course the 4GHz and especially 6GHz demonstration are probably well outside those bands.

Re:first question.. (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836749)

That's for the current generation Phenoms. You likely want this article [wikipedia.org] , which covers the Phenom 2 procs.

TDP spec at 3.0ghz is 125W, so don't think he's exaggerating that much. I'd guesstimate 150-200W at 4ghz.

Re:first question.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836515)

It's over 9000!!

Re:first question.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836595)

what's the power rating for this thing

Its... over 9000!

Re:first question.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836609)

what's the power rating for this thing at 4 ghz? 250 watts?

If you actually read the article you would have seen "AMD could theoretically have a 3.4 to 3.6 GHz processor at moderate TDP levels (think 125 watts)"

Re:first question.. (4, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837121)

Theoretically, he may have been wondering about 4GHz. He, theoretically, may have wanted the power rating of the one they actually demonstrated. Of course he may have theoretically read the article too...in theory that is.

Re:first question.. (1)

ckblackm (1137057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838801)

I think a better first question would be: Is AMD still going to be around long enough for this to matter? Disclaimer: I'm a shareholder.

Overclocking BS (3, Informative)

MLopat (848735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836377)

This is far from impressive. Showing the overclocking results, especially on liquid nitrogen, is not a good indication of the day to day performance of the processor.

For example, here is a video from 2006 where a Pentium 4 processor is overclocked to 5 GHz. [youtube.com]

So no, it doesn't look like "AMD's newest processor might finally once again compete with the best from Intel."

Re:Overclocking BS (5, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836477)

Yes, but you fail to note that the P4 was designed to reach insane clock speeds (which it never ended up being able to do.)

You can't get a Core 2 CPU to run at 5Ghz no matter how hard you try.

What this proves for AMD's CPU is that the architecture is able to handle 6Ghz, and the only problem is heat. Heat is a big problem, sure, but it's delt with every day in all sorts of new and creative ways - but usually just from reducing fab size and lowering voltage.

I personally don't care much anymore about who's CPU is 5% faster than the other. I choose what gives me the best options.. And I really have had excellent results with AMD's processors in the past. I have a few Core 2 based machines and they're nice too, no doubt. It just doesn't really matter anymore.

Re:Overclocking BS (4, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836541)

You can't get a Core 2 CPU to run at 5Ghz no matter how hard you try.

Given that the Nehalem is reaching the same speeds [theinquirer.net] or higher [fudzilla.com] on air-cooling, I wouldn't be surprised if Intel could match 6 GHz under liquid nitrogen cooled conditions.

Re:Overclocking BS (4, Informative)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838809)

Given that the Nehalem is reaching the same speeds or higher on air-cooling, I wouldn't be surprised if Intel could match 6 GHz under liquid nitrogen cooled conditions.

Here [hexus.net] is an example of Core i7 at 5.2 GHz on LN2

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837305)

What this proves for AMD's CPU is that the architecture is able to handle 6Ghz, and the only problem is heat. Heat is a big problem, sure, but it's delt with every day in all sorts of new and creative ways - but usually just from reducing fab size and lowering voltage.

Well, yes, in the sense that hotter transistors are slower than cooler ones. There's probably no way you could ever run it at 6GHz with air cooling, because even if you could actually dump all the heat produced you'd never get the chip cooler than ambient room temperature. Liquid nitrogen gets the chip well below room temperature so it can run faster.

Lowering the voltage would reduce heat output, but also reduces the speed of transistors. Sure maybe 6GHz may be possible air-cooled with the next generation of fab tech, but that's not really relevant to the current product, and is kinda trivial to say anyway as new fab tech is responsible for us being able to have GHz processors with hundreds of millions of transistors in the first place.

Re:Overclocking BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25838049)

You can't get a Core 2 CPU to run at 5Ghz no matter how hard you try.

http://www.nordichardware.com/forum/view-next-topic-vt10373.html?view=next&sid=62f3873314ffdc6a5910b83db8a718c7

Re:Overclocking BS (3, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838893)

You can't get a Core 2 CPU to run at 5Ghz no matter how hard you try.

I'm sorry, but it's quite easy. All you need is the following:
- Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 (x 3)
- Duct Tape

Bam! 6.78 Ghz. Done.

Re:Overclocking BS (5, Insightful)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839183)

personally don't care much anymore about who's CPU is 5% faster than the other. I choose what gives me the best options.. And I really have had excellent results with AMD's processors in the past. I have a few Core 2 based machines and they're nice too, no doubt. It just doesn't really matter anymore.

When they're about equal, I choose AMD, so that next time I build a computer I'll still have a choice.

Re:Overclocking BS (2, Interesting)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840259)

Absolutely. I agree with you.

Heck, even if the Intel solution might be a LITTLE better, I'll still pick AMD a lot of times.

And, at work I have the say as to what systems our clients will order for VMware hosts, and I always pick Opterons, even if they're a little more expensive. With AMD you get better multi-core performance when you're using a lot of RAM - perfect for VMware.

This is likely to change when Intel releases their Server CPU's with what is basically HyperTransport and an embedded memory controller (which they said was a BAD idea...) But I'll still choose AMD because I want to support the company that's moving the technology forward.

When you think about all of the big improvements to the x86 architecture in the last 10 years, it's almost all AMD innovations. A high-speed interconnect bus with no north bridge. An integrated memory controller. x64. The list goes on - AMD led the way, and it's amazing the arrogance you hear from the executives and product managers at Intel. They actually had the balls to say, when questioned about the similarities between Intel's new CPU and Athlon/Opteron, "Smart people can come up with the same ideas." Ohh, sure they can, but these engineers haven't been living in a box for the last 8 years, so that's utter bullshit. Unbelievable.

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836527)

On air cooling AMD showed the quad-core CPU running at nearly 4.0 GHz

A highly efficient processor running at clock speeds not seen in standard pc kit since the Pentium 4 era... Sounds like they are regaining their footing to me!

Re:Overclocking BS (5, Interesting)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836719)

Look, I don't think overclocking in liquid nitrogen is cause for a slam dunk conclusion that AMD is now competitive with Intel, but stating that it's not impressive and not an indication of the performance of the processor indicates a complete lack of understanding of electrical design.

This wouldn't have worked, for example, with the original PPC 7400 (G4) past 500MHz. As it turned out, there was a hard stop getting past that. Finding FMax (maximum frequency) independent of reliability and power concerns highlights design weaknesses. If they can overclock by 50% with adequate cooling, one can conclude they don't have any early or late mode problems preventing higher frequencies, and that metal isn't the limiting factor. In fact, they can easily conclude that the electrical design is sound and that their limit will be what they can qualify from a reliability perspective.

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838523)

Look, I don't think overclocking in liquid nitrogen is cause for a slam dunk conclusion that AMD is now competitive with Intel, but stating that it's not impressive and not an indication of the performance of the processor indicates a complete lack of understanding of electrical design.

I still want to wait to see how the intel performs when cooled with liquid helium.
(not that I care in the slightest what brand of CPU is in my machine as long as it's current in terms of performance, cheap and not a power hog...)

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839005)

It's nice, but I don't think the ability to overclock with extreme measures necessarily indicates that it is better at handling more conventional tasks in benign conditions.

Re:Overclocking BS (5, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836779)

This is far from impressive. Showing the overclocking results, especially on liquid nitrogen, is not a good indication of the day to day performance of the processor.

If the overclocking results were the only thing in the full article, your argument would be valid. However, your comment indicates that you read the short summary, did a quick search for your P4 overclocking link, and posted for quick mod points from Intel fanboys.

TFA shows the processor benchmarking at 3GHz, and 4GHz with air cooling, likely a custom air setup that would not be uncommon for many self builders. Check Intel's speeds, I'll even give you a link to a vendor [newegg.com] . I even filtered for the highest GHz. They are about the same.

So Yes, it does look like ""AMD's newest processor might finally once again compete with the best from Intel." Maybe it doesn't blow them away, but compete with Intel it does.

(This commenter recognizes that raw GHz is not the end-all and be-all of the final experience, but this is the only concrete number we currently have to argue about)

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

MLopat (848735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840371)

You're quick to assert that the AMD processor will compete with Intel but then turn around and give a disclaimer about knowing GHz != Performance. So again, my point is that the overclocked speed does not imply AMD is back on Intel's level.

Re:Overclocking BS (0)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836883)

What? You don't have a bottle of liquid Nitrogen in your room? I get a weekly shipment to keep my drinks cool!

Re:Overclocking BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837819)

4GHz on air is still, oh, about 1GHz higher clockspeed than the fastest Intel Core CPU.

This puts AMD at or beyond Intel's performance level.

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838399)

OVERCLOCKED on air to reach 4ghz. I've seen Core 2s do the same thing.

Re:Overclocking BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25840413)

Overclocked is only a valid term if a consumer does it or if the chip requires extraordinary cooling (ie. nitrogen). Since AMD themselves are running it at that speed on air, it's not overclocked.

Re:Overclocking BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25840671)

Overclocked is only a valid term if a consumer does it or if the chip requires extraordinary cooling (ie. nitrogen). Since AMD themselves are running it at that speed on air, it's not overclocked.

AMD does not plan to sell a 4GHz SKU. It is overclocked by any sane definition of the word. I guarantee you AMD's own engineers would call it an overclock.

Re:Overclocking BS (2, Informative)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840525)

GHz does not equal performance. Which is why a 2GHz Core 2 CPU can beat out a 3.6GHz Pentium 4.

Please don't bring back the myth.

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839031)

You must have mistaken frequency for speed. The clock is not the speed of the processor at its tasks, but rather the frequency of the processor. Let the benchmarks speak for themselves.

Re:Overclocking BS (1)

MLopat (848735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840339)

Did I even use the word speed anywhere in my original post? No. But thanks for restating something that just about everyone here already knows and frequency and speed. Also, reread the post and see that I'm infact agreeing that the frequency should not be an indication of performance.

Patience (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836385)

If they just wait six months, their new chip won't be such a hot product and thus won't need liquid nitrogen to reach 6GHz

All good but... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836431)

Will it run Vista?

they'll beat intel on price, they always do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836449)

I waited to jump to 45nm and I am sure AMD will give me the price reason early next year compared to intel.

Running dual core @ 2.5ghz, I can't even imagine quad at 4ghz!

The power savings alone at 45nm should pay for itself in a year I would bet.

Re:they'll beat intel on price, they always do (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840549)

All things considered, I think you'll have to be pretty cheap to care all that much about the power dissipation of your CPU. Even if it's 100W greater, you're looking at about 50 bucks a year at 6c/kWh if you're maxed out every day. That seems to me like the smallest cost involved.

Misleading title (3, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836487)

If you need liquid nitrogen to boost it to 6 GHz, it's not all that interesting. Nehalem 2.66 GHz offering has also been shown to overclock to 4 GHz on air cooling, and some people have got the 3.2 GHz offering up to 4.5 GHz on air. On GHz they're roughly the same, possibly with a slight Intel edge.

I thought both companies were ditching the GHz war and fighting for actual performance supremacy? What's with the silly "my GHz is bigger than yours" competition? Do we have PPW numbers, or just press releases that mean nothing?

Re:Misleading title (0)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836769)

It seems like AMD 'might' just be slightly desperate to try to psychologically compete now, if they can't compete with real numbers. Even their 9850 Phenom, 2.5Ghz, gets an average of less than half the performance in many benchmarks and many reviews, compared to the classic 2.4Ghz Q6600. The revision stepping that fixed the 'TLB errata' in hardware, rather than the 'slow software workaround' saw...no performance improvement clock for clock? And they use a -lot- more power.

But all AMD really has to do is try to compete in 'the hearts and minds' of the consumer, like Intel used to try to do with the Pentium 4/D revisions (when I cheerily went with a budget Athlon 64+ S939).

If they say "we're better, faster, more power efficient!", and some people won't do the research, will believe it wholesale.

If they sell roughly one processor per person, per Intel/AMD-works-best tradeoff, it's probably working in their favor.

Re:Misleading title (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837785)

The Phenom seem to perform somewhat better under linux, or at least gcc produces better code for them than it does for intel chips...

(note, this is based on 64bit gentoo, gcc 4.3.0 compiled with -O2 and appropriate cpu type setting on a 2.3ghz phenom 9500 and 2.4ghz Q6600)

Re:Misleading title (1)

darien (180561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838999)

Even their 9850 Phenom, 2.5Ghz, gets an average of less than half the performance in many benchmarks and many reviews, compared to the classic 2.4Ghz Q6600. The revision stepping that fixed the 'TLB errata' in hardware, rather than the 'slow software workaround' saw...no performance improvement clock for clock?

Can you provide references? I found the TLB fixed Phenoms more than 10% faster than their predecessors, making the X4 9850 convincingly faster than the Q6600.

Basically (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836875)

GHz is brought up when your chosen platform is on top. If you aren't, it's downplayed.

For example the original "MHz myth" was started by Mac fans. When they first went PPC, Apple had a large lag behind Intel in MHz. Well, the Mac fans were all excited about this new architecture and kept talking about how PPC has a positive second derivative of MHz and x86 had a negative one and so on and so forth. They were all excited about how they'd be ahead in MHz in a few years and basically equated MHz to performance.

Well that didn't come to pass. PPC didn't scale up in MHz fast and x86 did. So all of a sudden they started whining about the "MHz myth" and saying that it didn't matter, performance did. When their platform wasn't going to be on top it changed from important to worthless.

Same shit here. When Intel had the high GHz chips, AMD heads were up on the fact that AMDs did more per clock. Now if AMD has the high GHz chips, they'll be touting that as being the measure of awesomeness.

Me, I'll just keep buying what does the job best, forget the clock speed.

Re:Basically (2, Interesting)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837557)

You seem like the right person to ask this of, so, how exactly do I choose what's best for the job?

I want a good, cheap, stable, processor that's going to be able to handle every game made in the next few years (the same thing every home user wants).

I can't really judge by GHz, since my ancient 1.6 GHz processor is enough to handle most modern games when overclocked (2.13 GHz). So what do I look at? L1/L2 cache? FSB? Does the tech (45 nm) factor into speed at all, or is does it just give a general idea of how advanced the chip is?

I want to know more about the underlying technology and how it impacts real-world performance rather than just "buy a Core 2 Quad Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache, n00b": if I wanted a recommendation for a specific chip I could use one of a million benchmarks and pick one that's rated highly on Newegg.

I know, I know, JFGI, but I can't find a decent explanation anywhere. Even Wikipedia (while having plenty of great technical info) doesn't really tell me how having (for example) a larger cache will improve performance.

Re:Basically (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837963)

You are (possibly unintentionally?) turning this into a straw man argument.

It's not the processor that really dictates what you can handle. It's the graphics card moreso.

As long as you have a mobo that can handle PCIEx16 (minimum) and a nice processor, well you're good for quite a while. Meanwhile, anyone buying any motherboard right now is potentially fucked not because of processors or graphics, but because of USB3 coming out. Since no current motherboards will be able to support that speed without a drop-in PCIE card, you can imagine that in a year or two when USB3 is commonplace anyone without it is going to be screwed.

If you want to find unbiased reviews, stick with techreport.com and follow their articles. They are the company that outed other companies (and tested their own as well), to see who was willing to give positive reviews based on being bribed, such as tomshardware.

Re:Basically (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838467)

"screwed" in what sense? In the same sense that anybody who buys a PC in the next year or two is going to be when USB4 comes out?

I guess people that have an urgent need for the bandwidth provided by USB3 will have to spend a little more money than people who think the bandwidth will be a nice add-on to the baseline feature set, but your description of the situation is simply hyperbolic.

Re:Basically (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838969)

They are the company that outed other companies (and tested their own as well), to see who was willing to give positive reviews based on being bribed, such as tomshardware.

Really? Do you have a link to that story? I've read THG for years, so I'd like to hear the full details of that claim.

Re:Basically (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839243)

Thanks for techreport.com, I'd somehow missed that site.

I'm not sure why exactly I'd be screwed when USB3.0 comes out. Will it break my existing mouse and keyboard? How about my flash drives?

And if I really need USB3 functionality, I'll be able to buy that PCIE card, so I fail to see what the problem is.

I am well aware of the benefits of a good video card, and I opted for a $25 dollar processor (2800) and a $150 VC (7900GS) several years ago, and they served me (really) well. However, they are in need of an upgrade (especially as I play RTS games and a single-core seems to be holding me back), and I'd like to know what to look for in a good gaming processor.

(Sycraft-fu's post further down really answered my question).

Re:Basically (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838163)

My advice is get any processor you want that is currently sold. Unless you are doing some serious number crunching, very rarely is the processor the bottleneck in the system. Buy a $100 or less processor and throw the savings into RAM and the best graphics card you can afford. Hell even getting a faster hard drive will make a bigger performance difference than a 2ghz processor and a 3ghz processor for 95% of applications.

That's why I suggest AMD systems. Not because they are faster, but because I can get a processor that can handle pretty much anything and then some for $30 with very low power draw and toss in a much lower power demand AMD chipset motherboard and they will save big in the short term on the hardware and save in the long term on power consumption, all while having an indistinguishable difference in performance to a $500+ processor.

Re:Basically (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839043)

For games, doesn't much matter. Get a dual core chip that's reasonable and you should be fine. Games do use the CPU but the GPU is by far more important. You can get a quad if you really want but at this time very few can use it at all, and those that can don't tend to be that efficient. A good dual core from the mid range area from either manufacturer should work well.

65 vs 45 nm isn't that important except in terms of energy usage. The 45nm chips are going to use less power for equal performance. However this again isn't a huge deal since the GPU is likely to be the big drain in the system.

Cache isn't all that big a deal. Again, just get whatever the midrange is. Games aren't an area where cache seems to make a large performance difference.

More or less, while these things can make a difference, they don't make enough to justify that much worry or money. You will probably find that a $250 processor works pretty much as good as a $1000 processor, whereas a $300 graphics card is going to be 50% faster than a $150 graphics card. Thus it is clear where your money should go.

Personally I have a Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz 65nm chip and it works just fine on all the games I've thrown at it. In general, when games are limited it isn't the CPU it is either the refresh rate of the monitor (it isn't useful to go above that and as with all LCDs mine is set at 60Hz) or the GPU. Now keep in mind the GPU I have is a GeForce GTX 280. So even a GPU that heavy hitting doesn't really seem to need more CPU, for all the games I've messed with.

If I were to build a gaming system today my strategy would be as such:

--Get a midrange CPU. Something probably not more than $300, but not less than $150. Maybe a quad core since I also do audio work, but I'd be looking more at dual cores. I'd make sure it supports DDR2 RAM, since DDR3 is currently too pricey to justify the small gain.
--Get 4GB of RAM. It's cheap, why not.
--Get a nice big drive since bigger drives are faster and games are not getting any smaller.
--Get a video card such that I can afford to get a new one of the same price once every 12-18 months or so.

That last one is key: Your video card is important to games, and it gets outdated real fast. You can't buy one that won't, because new technology comes out all the time. You can drop $2000 on an insane multi-card setup, and it'll still be outdated soon. So, the right answer is to buy less card, more often. I say make it a yearly target. You aren't necessarily going to buy that often, but that's a good target to make sure your price is realistic and you really don't want to buy more often than that. So whatever you can afford per year, get that. Then, when the next worthwhile upgrade in that price range comes along, get it.

That's what I did. Prior to my 280, I had an 8800. They both cost me about $400. I can afford to spend that every year (I spend a lot on my computer, it's important to me). In that case, it was more like 16-18 months, which is fine. You keep your card until there's a new one worthwhile and/or you find a game that doesn't run well, but you are ready to upgrade yearly. Used to be I couldn't afford so much, so I used more midrange cards. I had a GeForce 3 Ti 200 back in the day. Wasn't top of the line, but I could afford to get it, and then to replace it next year if needed.

So get a midrange CPU, plenty of RAM, and a video card that you can upgrade and you should be fine. CPUs have pretty good life these days. It's videocards that are obselete all the time. Good news is that videocards can be gotten for reasonable prices. For example an ATi 4850 will run you about $150, less after rebate. However it is enough to run any game out there at high detail at a reasonable rez. My bet is it lasts more than a year, but at $150, it isn't unreasonable to replace next year if you need.

Re:Basically (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840081)

how exactly do I choose what's best for the job?

Buy a chip that costs about $100 and then be happy with it, or buy one that costs about $300 and be extremely happy with it.

Re:Basically (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840625)

Simple test:

Are they selling it to you? It's probably way more powerful than you'll need for a long time. Go with the cheapest one you can get on the newest architecture you can find.

You said it yourself, your ancient processor overclocked slightly (it does matter whether it's AMD or Intel to know how ancient that is) is almost enough to play today's games. No matter what you buy today it'll be way more powerful than either an Athlon XP 2000+ or a Pentium 4 1.6Ghz, probably 2-4 times before counting the dual-core aspect.

Good processors are getting so fast and so cheap, it's not really even worth figuring out. Go with the one that gives you the most warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Re:Basically (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837915)

Well that didn't come to pass. PPC didn't scale up in MHz fast and x86 did. So all of a sudden they started whining about the "MHz myth" and saying that it didn't matter, performance did. When their platform wasn't going to be on top it changed from important to worthless.

Same shit here. When Intel had the high GHz chips, AMD heads were up on the fact that AMDs did more per clock. Now if AMD has the high GHz chips, they'll be touting that as being the measure of awesomeness.

Me, I'll just keep buying what does the job best, forget the clock speed.

Right, that's the best thing to do, because despite the changing opinions the fact is that the Megahertz Myth is and has always been true. It's worth pointing out that at certain points in time, like when AMD and Intel were racing to 1GHz, the architectures being compared were similar enough that MHz was a decent first-order measure of relative performance. That went right out the window with the P4 which was designed for highly marketable MHz numbers at heavy cost to IPC* thus more or less necessitating AMD to play up the MHz Myth. Now even though both companies are back to PPro and K7-derived architectures they're still far enough apart that MHz isn't very meaningful. Nevertheless, MHz is half of the (clock frequency)*(IPC) performance equation, most importantly the half that doesn't change from app to app, so it's still important to demonstrate that processors have frequency headroom. Especially since squeezing out more IPC is difficult and done in 5-10% chunks over the course of a major processor revision.

Anyway, if you really care about performance and not Rah-Rah bragging rights (or whining rights), benchmark scores are what matter. Or better yet, the performance results of whatever you personally find important, though that can be hard to do. Still, that's no reason why AMD or Intel shouldn't pursue higher frequencies, or show off when they can.

* There was an engineering justification for this strategy, they had charts showing how they could continue ramping frequency, even at the cost of having to add more pipe stages, and still have a long-term performance advantage. That never came to pass, because their chart didn't account for increasing leakage current as transistors shrunk. In any event, I guarantee you that the mandate for clock frequency over all else came from management/marketing, and the engineers just had to find a way to make that work.

Re:Misleading title (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837247)

Actually the i7 last time I checked only went to 5.9ghz on LN2. And they showed 4ghz on air so yes this is pretty interesting depending on the price point.
An over clocked $250 AMD Phenom II could compete very well with a $1000 i7.
That would be very interesting.

Re:Misleading title (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837487)

I have had my Q6600 running at 4GHz for three weeks 24/7 on air. 4GHz is not that hard. The system didn't crash, everything ran fine. I didn't have to turn the heat on for those three weeks either, but cranking a 2.66 GHz to 4.1 GHz is going to create more heat.

It did take a bit of tweaking to get it there. But I did it, and now it is running back at stock speeds. This machine is a my DVR it doesn't need to run at 4 GHz to record TV. Yes I have a much less power hungry system on order. I was just testing things out with what I already had. The biggest gains I saw at 4 GHz were: boot times were faster, got higher CPU scores on benchmarks (3d mark etc), not needing to turn on the heat for a while.

Re:Misleading title (1)

LabRat (8054) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838429)

"If you need liquid nitrogen to boost it to 6 GHz, it's not all that interesting. Nehalem 2.66 GHz offering has also been shown to overclock to 4 GHz on air cooling, and some people have got the 3.2 GHz offering up to 4.5 GHz on air. On GHz they're roughly the same, possibly with a slight Intel edge."

Show me an Intel chip that doesn't require LN2 to reach 6Ghz, and I'll agree with you that it's not interesting. The fact that they've been able to at least match an intel offering is very interesting to me, personally...given the 2 years of having their asses handed to them by the wakened Intel giant.

"I thought both companies were ditching the GHz war and fighting for actual performance supremacy? What's with the silly "my GHz is bigger than yours" competition? Do we have PPW numbers, or just press releases that mean nothing?"

Well, back in the day of the P4 versus Athlon...you might have had a point since there was such a huge gulf between the two architectures in instructions per cycle (IPC). These days, the IPC is much closer so Ghz is a decent (though not perfect) measuring stick for coarse comparisons. Obviously, the most important metric is a set of benchmarks on the application that YOU are interested in..but as a first cut Ghz will do these days (it's the closest we've had to an apples-to-apples since the old k5/PIII days). Others have already talked about how reaching the "max freq", on air and cryo-cooled is more of a testament to the engineering soundness of the design, and not necessarily indicative of the consumer-level performance to be expected. Again..benches (and the PPW numbers you cited) are where the real action is at, but it's hard to fit a full set of benches on a shelf tag so Ghz still has its place in marketing. For the first time in a while, the Ghz comparisons actually have some meaning, so enjoy the brief window of sanity in number comparisons between the two camps.

Re:Misleading title (1)

basicio (1316109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839639)

AMD has consistently bested Intel in performance-per-watt comparisons. Their newest released processors (Shanghai) already offer better performance-per-watt than Intel's pre-i7 processors (see Ars' Shanghai review here [arstechnica.com] ). They are behind still, yes. But they are catching up.

Riight... (-1, Troll)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836559)

With "extreme liquid nitrogen cooling", you too can be as fast as an equivalent Intel processor cooled by air! Yaay! What a load of bollocks, AMD is loosing ground, and fast.

Re:Riight... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837997)

So wait, there's a magic processor I didn't know about that goes faster than two products that haven't been tested head to head yet, and it's intel's?

I have a bridge I'd like to sell you, too.

Re:Riight... (1)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839319)

Its the ghz war all over again. Overclocking doesn't mean performance. Whoever modded me troll, whatever. CPUs are designed for the everyday user, to produce decent power whilst being cooled by air. I didn't RTFA, but for AMD to claim their CPUs are wicked fast * when cooled by LIQUID NITROGEN * is completely irrelevant. There are benchmarks comparing the Nahalem CPUs to AMDs offerings, and Intel laps them up.

I'll jump under your bridge when you jump under mine

Is GHz even important? (0, Redundant)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836575)

I thought we learned over the past few years that gigahertz was no longer important. Can we switch to some other standard please? I am not sure FLOPS is any better, but Ghz clearly isn't it except to say 'ooooo, shiney, and faster than yours!'

Re:Is GHz even important? (1, Informative)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836655)

GHZ is actually very important. Given that all else remains the same, a 10% increase in clock speed is not greatly different from a 10% improvement in performance in CPU bound applications. Comparing GHZ across different designs is a rather bad idea, but that is not all that is going on here.

Re:Is GHz even important? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837231)

um but they are compairing an amd cpu to intel cpus, which are "different designs" and so your own words state that this is "a rather bad idea"...

Re:Is GHz even important? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836847)

Ummm. No...
We learned that clock speed wasn't the end all and be all of performance.
In this case both Intel and AMD are getting good performance per cycle so upping the clock is a good thing.
If it can do 4Ghz on air then yes it is getting in the the competitive range.

Re:Is GHz even important? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837505)

How can you say something is competitive based on the 4 GHz number WHEN THAT DOESN'T IMPLY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING UNDERNEATH!

A car engine running at 4000 RPMs goes a lot faster in 4th gear than it does in 3rd. Clock speed only means something when you're comparing two processors of the same core architecture (i.e. two P4s).

Re:Is GHz even important? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838285)

We do have a lot about what is "underneath". We have seen the 45nm server parts and they are very fast per clock tick. The new Desktop CPU is based on the same design so we can work from that and the clock speed.

Re:Is GHz even important? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837433)

GHz is one of several important factors in system performance. Speed and bandwidth of the bus is attaches to is another factor, as is the efficiency built into the CPU architecture itself (multithreading, cache size(s), etc.) to maximize the power derived from every available cycle.

Oblig car analogy: GHz = engine rpms, bus = transmission, cpu architecture = multivalve overhead cam cylinder heads with a supercharger strapped on top.

And ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836593)

Its going to cost what? An arm, a leg and?

Only nitrogen? (4, Funny)

cheetham (247087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836611)

Anyone ever tried cooling a CPU with a continuous flow of liquid helium? :)

Re:Only nitrogen? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836895)

Liquid helium?! Great! Now my processor can talk with a squeeky voice and giggles!

Re:Only nitrogen? (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838485)

That's nothing, I just finished overclocking my server by giving it a continuous feed of liquid hydrogen...

Man that puppy runs cool... I think I'll celebrate with a smoke!

[INSERT CaptainPatent INTO DARWIN_AWARD]

Re:Only nitrogen? (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838843)

Liquid hydrogen is about 16 degrees warmer than helium, and is usually used as a fuel, not a cryogen so I don't know why you would use it over liquid helium...

Oh that was a joke?
I see... carry on.

Almost a fanboy (0, Flamebait)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836635)

Had I not bought two new computers within a year I could almost have been a fanboy. No, they were Intel as I could afford them...

Normal usage, please (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25836641)

Is useless a test using overclock in this case, i opened this article tinking the CPU runs 6GHz at stock config!

Bahhh! Legion hardware did that on a i7. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836721)

We can expect 4.0Ghz on air cooling? You mean like Legion Hardware made here [http://legionhardware.com/document.php?id=790] with an i7.
And don't tell me about 6.0ghz with liquid N2 on a selected die. It's only useful for bragging right on the extreme OC community.

Re:Bahhh! Legion hardware did that on a i7. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836885)

The Phenom II will fit in my AM2 motherboard (which started with an Athlon 64 2.0GHz and currently has an Athlon x2 2.6GHz) and use my existing RAM. The intel i7 will not. The intel i7 is significantly more expensive than anything AMD has too.

Re:Bahhh! Legion hardware did that on a i7. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25840633)

But at the same time, the current Core2Quads can reach these sort of speeds under liquid nitrogen conditions. Sure Core i7 is more expensive, but unless the Phenom IIs are much higher performing then current Phenoms they will be more of a match for the current Core2Quads rather then the Core i7 CPUs.

intel ceo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25836857)

just choked on his coffee but feels better now it is an unrealistic over clocked speed.

naughty mr slashdot, very naughty

I've stuck with AMD (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837341)

First, I can put together an AMD box equivalent to an Intel for about $200 bucks cheaper. That money goes into my Video Card and I wind up with a better overall System.

Second, AMD clearly differentiates their product. An XP 6000 is faster than a 5000, etc. Buying an Intel CPU is a chore (and make sure you get the right board, That's not always clear either).Basically I'm Lazy, and Intel's made it a pain to pick the right processor.

Re:I've stuck with AMD (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25838651)

First, I can put together an AMD box equivalent to an Intel for about $200 bucks cheaper. That money goes into my Video Card and I wind up with a better overall System.

I just bought a new computer, looking at quad-core configurations from either Intel or AMD - and, granted, I'm not so in-touch with computer hardware as I used to be - but my impression from the reviews I'd seen, etc. was that AMD was slightly slower per clock-cycle than Intel, and that the range of available clock speeds didn't go as high, either. The one advantage AMD had was a better memory architecture... Which, given the fact that this is a quad-core system, is very important if you don't want the problem to be dominated by a bunch of cache misses - but still my impression was that the Intel offerings were stronger at the current time...

Re:I've stuck with AMD (4, Informative)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840217)

Intel handled (I think they still do) all IPC (Inter-Processor Communication) through the FSB. Which is also the ram bus, and so runs at ram speed. They even did this for inter-core communication, completely screwing any attempts to scale a single intel system to lots of cores and have it still run well.
AMD have 3 independent buses, an inter-core comms for multi-core cpus (runs at cpu clock speed), hypertransport for inter-cpu comms and device comms (runs at multiple GHz independent of CPU speed), and an independent ram bus (runs at ram speed, obviously). This means that an AMD system gains real performance pretty linearly with the number of cores and cpus, and an Intel one didn't.

Intel countered by massively increasing their ram speed, countering the FSB bottleneck for smaller (2 or 4 cores) systems, and by making their cpus capable of more instructions per clock than AMD cpus (a real surprise when it happened), giving them great single-threaded performance. AMD couldn't match the performance of the most powerful Intel Core 2 cpus, so went for energy efficiency in a big way, and generally tried to undercut (instead of outperform) Intel at every turn. AMD's cache architecture was better too, with data not duplicated in all levels of the cache, so AMD cpus effectively had 10% more cache compared to Intel cpus. Intel countered by adding lots more cache to their cpus. AMD also went for forward and backward compatibility in a big way, a BIOS update (and sometimes not even that) is all that is needed to make the oldest socket 939 boards work with the newest AMD cpus. You lose out on a few features (e.g. faster HT and ram), but it makes upgrading an AMD machine much cheaper.

This leaves us with the situation where AMD cpus are great for highly-communicating parallel operations, and are great in clusters and datacenters due to having higher performance per watt (so they cost less to run and need less cooling). They also make for cheaper desktop systems both to build and to run, important if you're on a budget. Intel cpus are great for ram performance, and high-speed single-threaded ops, important if you are building a super-powerful gaming rig. Intel's pushing of their on-board graphics chipsets has also caused Intel cpus to end up in a lot of pre-built machines.

Though to be honest, You don't need a cpu costing more than £60 to play anything released recently at full speed, and AMD is incredibly competitive at those prices (e.g. my AMD X2 5600). The real expense is in graphics these days, though my 2-generation-old nVidia 8800 (rev 1) GTS 320MB hasn't struggled on anything I've bought recently, even on high settings...

Looks like the performance race might be slowing, unless someone comes up with a cheap, working holographic projector :)

Re:I've stuck with AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25839135)

Damm right.

And AMD never sold me a defective CPU and told me i was shit out of luck over it like intel did.

yay FDIV bug! I'll hold that aginst intel forever! It's just impossible to believe such a giant bug was let out of testing. Let alone sold to millions of people.

AMD.. more speed. less $. less bullshit. and they are a much 'nicer' company overall.

Re:I've stuck with AMD (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839613)

If an AMD box is $200 cheaper than a Intel box you are doing it wrong.

The E5200 is the same price as AMD's best offerings and smokes all of them. The motherboard is the same price, around $80.

Clockspeed Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25838733)

Can't we all agree that clockspeed isn't really important. The only thing that really matters is how quickly your porn is loaded.

Sublimates at what? (0, Troll)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25839237)

From TFA:

as these liquids freeze well below the 109.3F that dry ice sublimates at.

Aside from their glaring misuse of "at", I think they also may have a slight error on the temperature, as I'm fairly certain that dry ice does not remain a solid at room temperature.

*checks the wiki*

Ah. -109.3 F. Much better.

... except that it's still 'F'.

Shenanigans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25840347)

The article now states that it only overclocked WELL over 5.x GHz, not over 6.

Well, when you have free cooling... (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#25840673)

That's why I chose to work with superconducting magnets. Free liquid helium!

Although its pretty useless, I love having an overclocked desktop in my lab to show off to the simulation folks.

Now I can finally turn on Aero.

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