Hardware hacker Hicookie has taken Intel's latest high end processor to speeds in excess of 7GHz, according to overclocking rankings website Hwbot . Processor speed records change rapidly and aren't usually all that newsworthy, but what's interesting about this achievement is that the new record for Ivy Bridge is almost a full GHz faster than the one for older Sandy Bridge chips.
There's been a minor controversy around Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors over the last few weeks regarding their heat dissipation and suitability for home overclocking. In the world of extreme hardware abuse, however, Ivy Bridge looks to be a clear winner over its predecessor.
Of course, if you don't have a few flasks of liquid nitrogen to hand you may not achieve the same results.
Some sites, and a lot of comments on this blog, have raised concerns about Ivy Bridge's performance at high speeds, which have been put down to two factors. The tiny 22nm process means less surface area to dissipate heat over, and that's not helped by the warmth generated by a more complex graphics core. There's also been concerns raised about current leakage on the small pathways.
Personally, my experience of Ivy Bridge so far has been good in this regard – all the unlocked chips I've tried have been able to hit their maximum clock on air cooling, but it's something I am planning to go back to and investigate further next week.
In the meantime, Hicookie used LN2 cooling to make the most of the new tri-gate transistors Intel has packed into Ivy Bridge and proved that with help they're pretty damn nippy. According to screenshots posted on Hwbot, he was using a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H motherboard and an engineering sample (stepping 9 – the same as retail chips) of the i7 3770K.
Hicookie is the same enthusiast who hit 8GHz with AMD's FX chips last year.