AMD TWKR Edition CPU PreviewThe Smith - June 30, 2009
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I am very impressed by what I achieved with the TWKR. Going extreme cooling allowed for a great boost in frequency. What amazed me the most is that the processor required much lower voltages than the previous Phenom II chips. Even when overclocked to around 5GHz, it did not need more than 1.6V.
However, I know there is much more left on the table. I felt dry ice could not provide the temperatures needed to scale to the top of the processor's performance. In fact, the processor ran better with lower voltages than 1.6V. My theory is that maybe it was getting a bit too warm when I pushed high voltages in it, which it is supposed to sustain without any problems due to its high leakage. The same thing happened if I increased the integrated memory controller voltage beyond a certain point at the same time as the core voltage, even if it ran fine when the only overclock was on the IMC. In other words, I felt dry ice cooling was still very limiting for the TWKR Edition since it did not allow the high voltages it can take.
So anyone who gets his hands on one of these limited edition processors must be sure to AT LEAST test it under dry ice, and under liquid nitrogen if possible. These processors really start to show off their capabilities at a much lower temperature that is not quite attained with dry ice, as we have seen. Now, you might be wondering as to how high it could go. Well, AMD has produced a great little video to show it off. Some of the world's known overclockers including K|ngp|n got the chance to play with these TWKR chips. Not only liquid nitrogen but also liquid helium was used to cool the processors down to near absolute zero (-273oC).
The fact that they can scale that much and that they can run without any glitch at such low temperatures demonstrates the sound engineering and the superior process that lies in each of the Phenom II processors. It is amazing that the engineers over at AMD were able to create processors without any 'cold bugs.' In other words, cooler is better. I am looking forward to what scores will be achieved when some of these processors get distributed throughout the overclocking crowd.