AMD Sets CPU Highest Frequency Record by Overclocking Eight-Core FX "Zambezi" Chip to 8.429GHz

AMD's Unavailable FX Chip Inducted into Guinness Book of Records

by Anton Shilov
09/13/2011 | 05:57 AM

A group of overclockers from Advanced Micro Devices has managed to set the world's record for the highest frequency of a microprocessor by overclocking an eight-core FX-series microprocessor code-named Zambezi to whopping 8.429GHz. The achievement showcases potential of AMD's Bulldozer micro-architecture to scale in terms of frequency, but it remains to be seen whether AMD will be able to deliver truly high-performance products.


The eight-core AMD FX-8150 central processing unit, set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2011, achieved a top speed of 8.429GHz (although two cores functioned at the time), - surpassing the previous record of 8.308GHz. AMD has officially achieved the Guinness World Record for the “Highest Frequency of a Computer". The record was set on August 31, 2011, in Austin, Texas, by “Team AMD FX”, a group comprised of elite overclocking specialists working alongside top AMD technologists, who will also be named in the Guinness World Records. The professional overclockers combined high voltage increases along with extreme cooling solutions to set the record.

“The record-breaking processor speed that resides in the AMD FX CPU clearly demonstrates performance gains for the new AMD "Bulldozer" multi-core architecture, which will provide x86 computing power for this CPU and future AMD accelerated processing inits. Along with world-record frequencies, the AMD FX processor will enable an unrivaled enthusiast PC experience for the money – extreme multi-display gaming, mega-tasking and HD content creation," said Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager, client group at AMD.

According to AMD, extreme overclocking that involved liquid nitrogen and liquid helium demonstrates that Zambezi microprocessors made using 32nm silicon-on-insulator process technology do not contain so-called cold bug.

Previously, overclockers from around the world only managed to hit 8.0GHz and higher clock-speeds using old Celeron microprocessors based on Cedar Mill micro-architecture and made using 65nm fabrication process. The latest AMD Phenom II and Intel Core i-series chips could "only" achieve 7.182GHz and 7.307GHz, respectively. With the emergence of the new FX chips, overclockers will likely have a new favourite as, based on AMD's claims, a lot of such chips can hit 5GHz or higher frequencies with proper air coolers or inexpensive sealed liquid-cooling solutions. AMD indicated that after a few days of testing, eight processors our of unspecified number tested by Sami Maekinen were found to be able to hit over 8GHz in the expert hands using extreme cooling.

AMD's Bulldozer micro-architecture is tailored to achieve high clock-speeds in many situations thanks to flexibility of power consumption trimming technologies and other innovations. However, AMD will not officially launch microprocessors running at 5GHz, 6GHz or 7GHz, but will stick to more conservative 3.50GHz - 4.0GHz clock-speeds. It remains to be seen whether chips capable of hitting 8.40GHz frequencies offer competitive levels of performance at stock clock-speeds as not all of AMD's customers are overclockers.

“We applaud AMD for their entry into Guinness World Records for achieving the Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor. We congratulate everyone involved in this record-breaking achievement," said Freddie Hoff, adjudicator for Guinness World Records.