We knew it was only a matter of time before someone doused Intel's flagship Core i9-7980XE (Skylake-X) processor in liquid nitrogen and cranked up the clockspeed, and right on cue, renowned overclocker der8auer posted a video (opens in new tab) showing the chip running at 6.1GHz.
He was able to push all 18 cores past 6GHz, not just one of them. Not only did this require extreme cooling, der8auer also had to apply a generous portion of thermal paste—both to the CPU die itself, which he exposed by slicing off a section of the integrated heatspreader (IHS), and the surrounding sections of the printed circuit board (PCB). Without doing that, der8auer says he loses about 400MHz under load.
This is a better overclocking result than der8auer was able to obtain on an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor. With AMD's chip, der8auer was able to hit 5.4GHz on all 16 cores, giving him a score of 4514 in Cinebench R15. He ran the same benchmark on the Core i9-7980XE running at 5.6GHz and scored 5635.
Now here's where things get crazy. A look at the Core i9-7980XE's power consumption when running at 5.5Ghz shows around 70 amps being sucked through the +12V rail, most of which goes right to the CPU. That means the CPU is drawing around 840W, even though the vCore is sitting at a relatively tame (when it comes to extreme overclocking) 1.45V. At 5.8GHz and 6GHz, wattage jumps to 1,000W.
Rather than stop there, der8auer slapped an Nvidia Titan Xp graphics card into the setup, soaked it in LN2, and set new single-card 3DMark benchmark records—the overclocked system scored 45,705 in 3DMark 11, 35,782 in 3DMark Fire Strike, and 120,425 in 3DMark Vantage. Good stuff.