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World's fastest processor is an overclocked beast [video]

World's fastest processor is an overclocked beast [video]

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AMD announced that their new 8-core Bulldozer FX processor clocked a record speed of 8.429GHz with the help of liquid nitrogen and helium.

A new computer chip nicknamed Bulldozer just earned the title of the world's fastest computer processor. Just don't expect it to bring the same record-breaking performance to PCs any time soon.

Computer chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices announced yesterday that a team of technicians overclocked their new 8-core FX processor to a speed of 8.429GHz, surpassing the previous Guinness-certified speed record of 8.309 gigahertz. For perspective, that's triple the performance of what's typically found inside powerful laptop.

Although the company now officially has bragging rights, there's one caveat: the feat involved dousing the chip with liquid Nitrogen and liquid Helium to prevent it from overheating. Taking into account that the testers revved up performance by relying on some pretty heavy-duty coolants with temperature properties ranging between minus 180 and minus 230 degrees Celsius, this method can be quite impractical -- to say the least.

However, the stunt did demonstrate that the new chip is "temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed," according to the company's blog. The company also pointed out that implementing more modest and realistic cooling methods like fans and inexpensive water systems would still enable the Bulldozer chip to reach clock frequencies "well above" 5 GHz.

AMD is so confident in the reliability of this new technology that they're ensuring that the product will be ready-made for overclocking once it launches in the final quarter of 2011. In a statement, the company said: "All FX branded products, including the upcoming AMD FX CPU, will offer completely unlocked processor clock multipliers for easier PC enthusiast overclocking, and include exclusive AMD software through the AMD VISION Engine to fine-tune system performance."

But the release does include a warning:

"Note: AMD's product warranty does not cover damages caused by overclocking. Extreme overclocking with liquid helium and liquid nitrogen should only be attempted by professional overclockers."

(via CBS News)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure