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Liquid Helium Makes 'Bulldozer' the Fastest Computer Processor


"...a clock eating monster..."

What can't the world's fastest computer processor live without? Liquid helium, a substance that is -268.93 degrees Centigrade (-452 degrees Fahrenheit).

Computer chip maker AMD announced that it has beat the Guinness World Record with its processor -- the "Bulldozer" -- at 8.429 gigahertz. Previous record was 8.309 gigahertz. And yes, according to the AMD blog (via CNN), to achieve this speed it needs to be cooled in an extreme way.

Here's how it works:

AMD has more:

This frequency [...] completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold.  We also achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.

The team used liquid nitrogen (-180 degrees C) in initial tests. It then was able to break the world record using liquid helium (-268.93 degrees C) .

Extreme overclocking, such as this, generates a lot of excess heat. Cooling techniques, such as liquid nitrogen, allows processors to achieve speed while managing the heat. According to AMD, there' a certain point where the cooling components create a "bug" because of extreme temperatures. This was not observed in their experiment.

Here's a little background on overclocking if you aren't quite sure what it means. Overclocking is making a computer processor run faster than it was designed to do to enhance performance. In many cases, overclocking doesn't require any special measures to make the processor run faster. As PC Stat's Beginner's Guide to Overclocking says, "Since almost every modern processor and memory module is overclockable to at least a slight degree, there are few reasons not to attempt it."

Watch this Intel video shows just how easy it can be to overclock your processor yourself. It's so easy "even your grandma could do it":

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