Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Intel plans to deliberately limit Sandy Bridge overclocking

Information provided by Intel in its own presentations about its upcoming mainstream LGA1155 Sandy Bridge CPUs appears to confirm the company has designed the CPUs to deliberately limit overclocking.

A video leaked to HKEPC and posted on YouTube (see from 2mins onwards) confirms the fact that only a 2-3 per cent OC via Base Clock adjustments will be possible. This is because Intel has tied the speed of every bus (USB, SATA, PCI, PCI-E, CPU cores, Uncore, memory etc) to a single internal clock generator issuing the basic 100MHz Base Clock.

This clock gen is integrated into the P67 motherboard chipset and transmits the clock signal to the CPU via the DMI bus. This means there's no need for an external clock generator that used to allow completely separate control of all the individual hardware.

When you're overclocking, you want to be able to push certain frequencies, such as the Base Clock and memory clock, but leave others, such as SATA, completely stable as they're very sensitive to adjustment. Current motherboards allow multiple bus speeds because external clock generators are programmable via the BIOS.

According to one Taiwanese motherboard company, on a Sandy Bridge system, the fact that all the busses are linked means that turning up the Base Clock by just 5MHz caused the USB to fail and SATA bus to corrupt.

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We chatted about possible work-arounds but at the moment the few 'asynchronous' setups tried were currently not working. It's been claimed to use out-of-the-box the design was deliberately limited with the intention to simplify board design and lower costs. This obviously has the 'unfortunate' side effect that enthusiasts will be unable to manually overclock Sandy Bridge CPUs to their limits, but the CPU's own internal overclocking, TurboBoost, will still work and Intel will offer some controlled multiplier overhead for enthusiasts as a token gesture.

At the time of writing we are still talking to Taiwan's motherboard companies, but the few we have had contact with are certainly worried as Intel's move not only impacts enthusiasts, it also takes control and emphasis away from motherboard manufacturers. After all, why would you buy one board over another if they all overclock the same? On the plus side, if a company does crack the Base Clock limit, then it means a potentially huge advantage over the competition. It's no understatement to say the next few months are crucial for the motherboard engineering teams.

On the plus side though, memory strap limits are at present removed on sample Sandy Bridge hardware - Intel's slides claim 2,133MHz - which is nice to have, but since most of the performance comes from additional CPU MHz rather than memory speed, it's not the answer we were really looking for.

HKEPC also mirror what we've heard and go further to include details Intel's upcoming LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E and 'Patsburg' chipset that will replace the current X58 and LGA1366 platforms.

According to HKEPC the upper limit DDR3 support currently exceeds 2,666MHz (wowzers) and most importantly follows previous current generations basic designs so overclocking potential is unaffected, yet, unspecified.

Intel still plans to sell K-series CPUs which come with an unlocked CPU multiplier - and with this move, the K-series CPUs start to make a lot more sense, as they will be the only Intel CPUs capable of overclocking. Is this move a slap in the face for enthusiasts that will send them towards an AMD Fusion platform or are CPUs just getting fast enough that overclocking really doesn't matter that much to you any more?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ultimate desktop: A $16,000+ PC

We asked Puget what its goals were in building this thing and, perhaps more important, what was their customer hoping to get out of it. They answered with the following:

"Our client came to us with a need we hear often: he wanted a high performance machine, but wanted it quiet. Of course, “quiet” is a subjective term... Building a mainstream PC to be quiet isn't difficult at all, but high-performance machines are more challenging. This particular computer has four quad-core Opteron processors, 32 GB of memory, two VelociRaptor hard drives in RAID1, and six 1 TB hard drives in RAID 5. That's not a easy machine to make quiet! We opted to cool the machine with a massive radiator mounted to the side of the case, providing an extreme amount of radiator surface area, allowing us to run the fans at 5 V for nearly silent operation. And the temperature on the CPUs? 36 C at idle, 45 C at load.

We begin by testing the board under air cooling, to make sure the motherboard, CPUs, and memory are working properly. It takes half a day to run one pass of MemTest!"

More Story here

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Asus' Triton 81 CPU Cooler for Core i7 and LGA1366 Motherboards

Though we've yet to spot any Core i7 CPUs or LGA1366 motherboards on store shelves, the clock is ticking down to the release of Intel's new architecture. With that countdown clock come any number of different accessories aimed at the new CPU line. Of course global giant Asus has something to contribute to the product lineup with the company's latest processor cooler, the Triton 81.
This beauty is straight out of the Triton design philosophy and shares a lot of design elements with it's brethren. There are a pair of 90mm fans (PWM controlled blue LED models which typically operate at 18dBA) mounted on opposite sides of the fin assembly. The fins are made of aluminum and enclose four copper heat pipes which run up from the copper base. The unit measures 4.7 X 4.6 X 5.7-inches and weighs 1.5 pounds.
Not interested in the LGA1366 mainboards and the Core i7 yet? Waiting to perhaps buy after a while but still need a new cooler now? Check out the Triton 81 for plenty of backwards compatibility, including LGA775, Socket 1207, 1207+, AM2, AM2+, 939, and 940. Information on the new Triton should be available on Asus' cooling site soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Danamics Innovates the First Liquid-metal Based CPU Cooler

Here's something new: A CPU cooler that comprises of a circulatory mechanism of liquid-metal, the liquid-metal has higher thermal conductivity than other liquid media, flowing liquid metal across an array of metal fins to disperse heat, and the cycle continues. What's more, the liquid is inextinguishable. That's 'cool'. Danamics innovated such a cooler for today's CPUs called the LM10.
The cooler also has no moving parts. The pump that circulates liquid-metal across tubes doesn't have them either. The pump functions on the principles of electromagnetic flow, the ferromagnetic liquid is subjected to flow caused due to changes in polarity of electromagnets. With no moving parts, the MTBF is substantially increased. Of course, you can use a retention module of some sort to hook up a fan or two on each side of the heatsink. This product will be available soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Overclocking Phenom II at 6+ GHz: How AMD May Have Done It

A couple of weeks ago, at the AMD Austin Tech Day event, the company stunned the computer enthusiast community, by presenting to the press, the overclocking capabilities of the upcoming Phenom II X4 processor. The enginners managed to boot the machine at CPU speeds in excess of 6 GHz, 6.213 GHz to be precise. A close-up snap of a portion of the CPU-Z window showing the overclock, made its way to AMD's own photostream at Flickr, among other pictures related to the event.

The picture reveals the clock speed at 6213.6 MHz, bus speed at 200 MHz, FSB multiplier at an unreal 31.0x and resulting HyperTransport link speed at 1002.2 MHz. This would mean that they may have dropped down the HT link multiplier (normally 200 x 10.0 for the Phenom II X4 940) to 5x. We already know from previous reports that the vCore was set around 1.90 Volts, and that a copper pot with liquid nitrogen was used to cool the chip. The motherboard used, from the pictures, appears to be Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H, which is based on the AMD 790GX + SB750 chipset.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Intel Core i7 Overclocking - Core i7 Overclocking


We have already benchmarked two new Nehalam processors- the 920 and the 965EE and compared them to other processors on the market. It is now time for some temperature tests and to see how high these processors can be overclocked using the ASUS P6T motherboard. It is very interesting how Intel works with the QPI bus v/s Multipliers. After a bit of tinkering around, we eventually found the sweet spot on each of these processors. So it was now time to see how hot these babies got on a one hour OCCT stress test

No surprises with the temperatures for the 130W CPU’s especially the 965EE hitting 4GHz on a stock air cooling solution.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty while we explain how we managed the overclock. We kept the voltage configuration set to Auto at first and increased the BCLK from 133 MHz to 150 MHz as a jumpstart. From there we steadily increased the BCLK in increments of 5 MHz. We eventually hit the wall at 180 MHz which was the limit at which we could enter Windows, but the OCCT test threw off a bit and we lost stability.

We then took the bus speed down in 2 MHz decrements with stress tests at each level and success arrived at 168 MHz. Next up was the Multiplier, which we toggled around a bit until we hit 4 GHz on the 965EE while the 920 stayed at 3360 MHz due to its multiplier limit of 20x. Increasing the voltage wasn’t doing us any good as we weren’t able to manage a stable one hour stress test. Although, higher clocks could be possible with a better cooling solution and a lot more time.

From this we can take home the fact that the Core i7 has started out as a good overclocker. Getting to the sweet spots wasn't really difficult and all this achieved on the stock air cooling solution provided by Intel and stock core voltages. We feel that with better cooling and a lot more time, these processors can be taken even further to new heights.
The overclocked Core i7’s do make excellent performers and those seeking not only thrills from overclocking their CPU’s are in for a ride. So, are you ready to click on the Order button to enjoy the benefits?

World's first personal supercomputer unveiled

The world's first personal supercomputer, which is 250 times faster than the average PC, has been unveiled.

With its £4,000 price tag, the Tesla supercomputer is beyond the reach of most consumers, but is expected to revolutionise the way scientists and medical professionals carry out their work.
The gadget's power will allow doctors to process the results of brain and body scans much more quickly. This would allow them to tell patients within hours instead of days whether they have a tumour.

Scientists also believe that the supercomputers could help them discover cures for diseases, such as cancer and malaria, much more quickly than using traditional research methods.
This is because the device lets them run hundreds of thousands of simulations to create a shortlist of the drugs that are most likely to offer the potential for a cure.

Until now, supercomputers were massive systems made up of thousands of machines taking up entire rooms, which cost millions of pounds to build and maintain.
By contrast, Tesla personal supercomputers will cost between £4,000 and £8,000 and look much like an ordinary PC.

David Kirk, chief scientist at NVIDIA, the American company which has designed the new technology, said: "Pretty much anything that you do on your PC that takes a lot of time can be accelerated with this."

"These supercomputers can improve the time it takes to process information by 1,000 times.
"If you imagine it takes a week to get a result [from running an experiment], you can only do it 52 times a year. If it takes you minutes, you can do it constantly, and learn just as much in a day."

The new computers make innovative use of graphics processing units - a technological breakthrough, which the company claims could bring lightning speeds to the next generation of home computers.

They went on sale to British customers yesterday and will initially be sold to universities and to the scientific and research community.
The PC maker Dell, however, said that it would soon be mass producing them for the general consumer market.

Eric Greffier, a Dell senior executive, said: "Before mobile phones were reserved for the few, now we can't live without them. It will be the same with these supercomputers. They are the building block for the computing of the future."