AMD Phenom II X4 940 Subzero Overclocking Test: 6Ghz Obtainable?

Overclocking/Overclocking Tests by massman @ 2009-02-06

There is no denying that the AMD Phenom II´s overclocking capabilities were hyped before launch, at CES AMD showcased the CPU running at 6.4Ghz. How realistic is this result for us enthusiasts? Can such a stunt be repeated? Time to find out.

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"Wohoow ... awesome". That's my first reaction when AMD published their first overclocking results of the 45nm Phenom II; not only because they showed frequencies way above 6GHz, but mainly because they eliminated the cold bug issue, which was the plague of every Phenom ánd Intel cpu in the recent past. In Las Vegas, during the CES event, the people of AMD teamed up with SF3D and Sampsa from Team Finland to perform the world's first overclock on Liquid Helium, which has a boiling temperature around -269°C, only four °C above the absolute zero point. Effectively, they were able to run the CPU at -232°C, resulting in a 6.3GHz 3D stable CPU.

When the first series of official AMD Phenom II reviews was released we could finally find out if the results obtained by the AMD team at CES was repeatable or not. We went through almost 30 reviews of the new Phenom II X4 940 but were quite disappointed by the overclocking tests which were almost solely focused on air-cooling. Time to complete the testing; I teamed up with Belgian LN2 OC guru Blind_Ripper, got 30L of LN2 and set up the following system to check the true overclocking limits of the Phenom II:

Madshrimps' Ph-II LN2 Test Setup

CPU AMD Phenom II X4 940 (0850BPEW, batch 0323)
Cooling Dragon F1 EE
Mainboard DFI Lanparty DK 790GX-M2RS
Memory 2 * 1GB G.skill F2-8500CL5S
  • Asus ENGTX295
  • Antec 1000W PSU
  • Western Digital 320Gb SATA HDD
  • Windows XP SP3
  • OCZ Freeze thermal paste

  • It’s always good to have a goal when you’re dealing with LN2 as you don’t have unlimited time or resources. Our aim:

  • Highest overclock on LN2, borderline stable
  • Highest overclock LN2, stable for 2D benchmarks
  • Highest overclock on LN2, stable for 3D benchmarks

    We turned to HWbot to find out what competition we’re up against, the bar was set at <12 seconds in superpi 1m and off we went!
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