How to make your PC run at 7.1 Gigahertz

As many know, I do some tinkering with computers. While this isn’t my doings, I enjoyed it and thought you might too. Here’s the screencap of the CPU speed program, note the red underline.

I got a chuckle out of how this was achieved on a six core Intel Core i7 CPU. I suppose if you really need the speed, sure, why not? The video below explains it all. Be sure to wear gloves and a facemask if you try this at home.

They write on the Gigabyte blog:

Hey guys, here’s a quick shout out to everyone about another new feature we have with the X58A-OC board called OC Touch. It’s essentially a hardware level overclocking feature capable of adjusting the multiplier and bclock on the fly in or out of the operating system.

I’ve got a video here that hicookie made today to give you an idea how it works. He’s got the new Core i7 990X installed, LN2 pot running at -170C+, CPU boots at 6.4Ghz (178*36) and then gets clocked up using OC Touch bclock buttons to 7.1GHz (197*36). Easy!

Yes, that’s liquid nitrogen you see being poured into the CPU cooler.

BTW if you want the program, CPU-Z for your own use, it is free here.I find it useful since it saves me having to open up the case on the many machines I run at my business to figure out what is inside when we need to do some sort of fix or update.

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Al Gore's Holy Hologram
May 3, 2011 3:36 pm

They overclocked a pesky Pentium IV to over 5Ghz the same way five years ago.

May 3, 2011 3:39 pm

Charlie Sheen isn’t half the Vatican Assassin Warlock the elite of the elite OCers are.
I was happy to take my i7 2600k up to 4.4ghz on air and call it a day.

May 3, 2011 3:47 pm

The real pros use liquid helium. 🙂

William Mason
May 3, 2011 3:48 pm

I would think that even with the super cooling that taxes a cpu’s lifespan considerably. Still that is way cool to see. Makes me wonder what they could do with a better heat dissipation system build into the cores. This is interesting. Thanks Anthony

May 3, 2011 3:49 pm

If only the MET office had this technology…

May 3, 2011 3:56 pm

I needed a good laugh.
If you’re serious, you’ll need a good LN dewar….here’s a link for ya….
(you can get ’em a lot cheaper from other sources, ebay included)
If you’re really ambitious, you could set up an account with Airgas for periodic drops of a 280.. Mind, if you’re in a business, you may need to post a “Suffocation Hazard” sign because of the potential for oxygen displacement. If at home, just tell your wife it’s a new subwoofer that’s really, really cool.
The best part of having LN around? Some of the BEST ice cream you’ve ever had!!!

May 3, 2011 3:57 pm

There’s a good reason for maintaining a CPU in a limited speed. See Apple for instance. Overclocking any CPU, as William Mason said, has a cost and, without appropriate care in a cooling system, can burn your hardware. And of course, overclocking can increase your CO2 footprint and you will be doomed by a runway greenhouse effect originated at your home 😉

Douglas DC
May 3, 2011 4:04 pm

Sent this to a Geek buddy of mine- his reply:”Been there, done that, my wife still
hasn’t forgiven me about the cat…”
He wouldn’t go any further…

May 3, 2011 4:04 pm

I remember some of the fun stuff we’d do with hardware locks in the old SLOTA/B designed processors. Taking a 266/300mhz processor and overlocking it to 667, sometimes if you got lucky you could push 900mhz out of them. Pretty impressive back then. The real problem of course is the cacheing on CPU’s anyway. The CPU itself? Rock solid stable 99% of the time, the L1/L2/L3/L4 cache? Not so much. Too much voltage? Fried, too hot, fried, too cold, won’t work, etc. Which is why you could get that 266/300mhz processor at pushing 1ghz with trial, error, voltage tweaking and sometimes water cooling.
Of course the reason why we have hardware locks on CPU’s is two fold. First it prevents resilking a die(really really common back in the 90’s/early 2000’s. You could get Cyrix marked as Intel, AMD as Intel, Cyrix as AMD, lower speed cpu’s remarked at higher). Meaning lower quality bumped to a higher CPU type, or brand. The second is to ensure a the market has what it needs. Lot’s of CPU’s can be clocked higher than their stock speed, because they were underclocked to fill the market’s need for a specific speed. Or have cores turned off and so on.

May 3, 2011 4:15 pm

CPU-Z is good program, I have been using it for over ten years.

May 3, 2011 4:17 pm

Anthony to take a windowed screen shot press ALT+Print Screen and then paste the image into a graphics program.
REPLY: that only works if you have the screen in the first place…this is video shot by the Gigabyte company. – Anthony

Mike McMillan
May 3, 2011 4:21 pm

Looks like the memory needs cooling, too. It’s glowing red.
William Mason says: May 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm
. . . Makes me wonder what they could do with a better heat dissipation system build into the cores. . . .

The best system would be to use diamond as a substrate. I believe Apollo Diamond is working on that. They had grown 1/8th inch thick diamond sheets a couple years ago.

May 3, 2011 4:23 pm


May 3, 2011 4:44 pm

Mike McMillan says:
May 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Looks like the memory needs cooling, too. It’s glowing red.
Showing my age, but I worked on a core memory design back in the day. The memory was 32k x 16. Each bit was in it’s own array on the board. We were using temperature independent core from Ampex, and to really test it we put a plexiglass cover over the core mat instead of the metal cover. Then we’d excercise one single address at CPU speed with a memory tester, and would keep writing zeros so the inhibit circuits were turned on 100% of the time.
You could see 16 tiny glowing red ferrite cores inside the bake in oven.
And yes, I remember when this was high tech!
Am getting old.

William Mason
May 3, 2011 4:55 pm

Mike McMillan says:
May 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm
“Looks like the memory needs cooling, too. It’s glowing red.”
Actually I think that is the orange empty socket behind the memory.

May 3, 2011 5:23 pm

I think the new Chuck Norris CPU from Intel doesn’t need liquid nitrogen. It is cooled with a “round house” fan or something and runs faster than any CPU in history.

May 3, 2011 5:24 pm

That just made my geek molecules vibrate!

Berényi Péter
May 3, 2011 5:30 pm

The problem is current technology is pathetic. According to Landauer’s principle energy dissipation in an information processing device is only inevitable whenever a bit gets deleted. This energy depends on the operating temperature T of the device and it is kT ln 2, where k is the Boltzmann constant (1.38×10‾²³ JK‾¹), which means Landauer’s constant is about 10‾²³ JK‾¹. This number is extremely small compared to what present day computer hardware does.
Let’s suppose a device operating at 100 GHz discards 10 Mbit in each clock cycle with an operating temperature of 1000 K. This is way beyond what is possible at the moment, still, if it were optimal in a thermodynamic sense, it would only dissipate 1 mW.
One could do even better with reversible computing, where bits only get deleted when it is really necessary, that is, when memory starts to fill up.

May 3, 2011 5:30 pm

DJ says: May 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm “Mind, if you’re in a business, you may need to post a “Suffocation Hazard” sign because of the potential for oxygen displacement.”
A small defense contractor building transmitters for the Navy had a little trouble with that concept. They locked a guy in an enclosed room with nothing but passive ventilation to do environmental testing: transmitters on nitrogen cold plate simply vented right in the room.
He managed to crawl out before he — quite — passed out. And wondered what was wrong with himself. I just looked at the test set up and reminded him that carbon-based lifeforms of our sort require some oxygen (unlike AGW types who are apparently carbon-free silicon-based forms).

May 3, 2011 5:45 pm

One fun little fact about playing with liquid nitrogen. If air comes in contact with it, oxygen will condense into it as it has a higher boiling point. When the liquid has almost boiled off, the last little bit will be pure oxygen. This has led to a few oopsies over the years.

Geoff Sherrington
May 3, 2011 6:06 pm

In the late 1970s we used a LN2 cooled planar lithium drifted silicon radiation detector made by Ortec at Oak Ridge. The problem was, we located it 250 km East of Darwin in the hot Tropics of Australia, in a bush community of about 50 people. It had to be flown in to our home-made airstrip in a Dewar of 10 gallons or so. This had a loose fitting cap to avoid pressure buildup, but if the pilot hit a bump and sloshed the liquid around, the cabin could fill with mist depending on humidity etc. I think they have changed the aviation code now. The LN2 was most useful for cooling beer cans, but we did not use it to overclock the processor, which was Digital Equipment Corp PDP 8-e, with 8 K of core memory IIRC, which was fast enough for us. I’m getting old, too.

Steve R
May 3, 2011 6:40 pm

There is a guy on you tube somewhere who has immersed his entire computer in an aquarium filled with mineral oil. (with the case off). Looked pretty interesting.

May 3, 2011 7:11 pm

If Jeremy Clarkson was a geek… Moar power!!!!!

May 3, 2011 7:14 pm

I’d be interested in what memory is being used and what the timings and voltage are.
BTW, for thous who are not hobbyists, this is just like drag racing. Long term stability is not an issue, and an early death of the “engine” is to be expected. Getting that CPU-Z screen cap is the whole point.

Paul Benkovitz
May 3, 2011 7:19 pm

Looks like a lot of work just to bring Microsoft windows up to the speed of other OSes.

Jim S
May 3, 2011 7:22 pm

Now maybe I can play Gothic 3 with out stuttering. Oops, I just let my inner geek out.

May 3, 2011 8:11 pm

Memory type I can’t say, but voltages and timings look to be stock for DDR3. QPI 1.2/1.5w/6,4.

May 3, 2011 8:14 pm

Ok, I get it.
If the Earth goes into an Ice Age, it will spin quicker.
No more need for cooling fans on your computer.

May 3, 2011 9:42 pm

Will that make my DOS system run faster? If so, I’m in.

May 3, 2011 9:47 pm

It is stuff like this that makes one proud to be an engineer!
It reminded me of those folks who used liquid oxygen to light charcoal grills:

Luther Wu
May 3, 2011 10:30 pm

But will it fold?

Mike McMillan
May 3, 2011 11:12 pm

ew-3 says: …
Core memory was on the way out when I got into computers, but ram had 9 bits and cost $2500 a megabyte.
William Mason says: …
That’s actually the red-anodized heat spreaders on the memory sticks. Got some like that.
Douglas DC says: …
JinOH says: …
DOS running at 3+ GHz would give you the answer before you asked the question.

Ian UK
May 4, 2011 1:04 am

I’ve had a look at it. What does it do (for the person who just whats to know what’s happening, rather than tweak) that’s different to Belarc Advisor? BTW – when I installed it, I specifically cleared the tick on the Ask menu bar, but got it anyway!

May 4, 2011 4:44 am

“If only the MET office had this technology…”
Doh, but that is the MET office super liquid cooled weathery super duper computery all managed by the liquid coolant controllant intern from HadCRU (the gloveless safety conscious folks south of the border.)

May 4, 2011 5:14 am

using liquid oxygen eliminates the problem of death by nitrogen suffocation. I’m not sure a no spark environment would prevent the bbq pit scenario though, lol.

May 4, 2011 5:50 am

Reminds me of the time in the 1980s one of my students and I went to Los Alamos because he needed the computing power of a Cray for his thesis. For fun they showed us a room with three Cray-2s,, that were used for unclassified work. They used liquid cooling because of the close packing of the integrated circuits. You probably do better now with any old Intel chip and an nVidia card.

May 4, 2011 7:22 am

A paramedic a few years back told me about a nasty case involving liquid nitrogen. He was called out to a university lab one day. Apparently one of the medical students had been asked to remove a frozen sperm sample from storage. The student for some reason put his bare hand into the LN to remove the sample. Of course his hand was frozen instantly and had to be amputated.

Jason Bair
May 4, 2011 7:51 am

I saw this yesterday, but just noticed it this morning. Take a look at the voltage he’s needing to run at to boot this thing. 1.888v? Stock is
VID Voltage Range
Yeah, definately a throw away processor once they’re done with it.

May 4, 2011 8:15 am

I’ve found my spiritual home. So I’ve found people that think this extreme overclocking is cool, that have seen the “exploding AMD” video, seen the mineral oil aquarium video, re-post the “starting charcoal with liquid oxygen” video. I’m in the right crowd.
As far as CPU-Z goes, very nice freeware but you can get most info you need with dxdiag.

May 4, 2011 8:42 am

ew-3 says:
May 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Showing my age, but I worked on a core memory design back in the day.
I worked on equipment that used Bi-stable ferro-magnetic switching devises. One of the main rails (not for the “memory”) was over 1000 volts! I still have a little scar from the burn I got, getting too close to one of the power regulator tubes.
Boy some mornings I feel old 🙁

Dave Worley
May 4, 2011 10:38 am

My son burned up a perfectly good desktop computer playing around with overclocking.
I’m happy that he is inquisitive, but he still had to shell out for his own replacement machine.

Atomic Hairdryer
May 4, 2011 11:46 am

Overclocking causes heat which causes global warming so obviously we’re all going to burn in CPU hell. Or get a good framerate on Crysis 2.
Exotic cooling is nothing new though. One of my first introductions to big iron was chatting with the IBM plumber installing our new (I think) 3090 mainframe. Lots of chilled water needed to keep that beast cool. 128MB of central store, several million quid to buy and my graphics card probably outperforms it now. Also saw the Cray-2 with it’s Flourinet cooling, probably banned now for being unenvironmentally sound. Cray’s did have one advantage over PC’s though. You could sit on their coolers:
although depending on installation, the data centre manager may want to shoot you for doing so.

May 4, 2011 12:55 pm

LN played within an office cubicle? OSHA will be dropping by quite soon, methinks.

May 4, 2011 1:16 pm

This is like trying to get a ’67 Chevy to go 700 MPH by strapping JATO bottles on the sides. If it’s correct that O2 condenses into the liquid N2, they might even have a chance of winning a Darwin Award themselves – hard to do with only a computer.

May 4, 2011 1:27 pm

This reminds me of Project E.U.N.U.C.H..
That was more than 10 years ago and was probably a hoax anyway, but I still chuckle every time I hear of over-clocking.

May 4, 2011 1:48 pm

DJ says: May 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm “Mind, if you’re in a business, you may need to post a “Suffocation Hazard” sign because of the potential for oxygen displacement.”

As a company that uses N2 for purging things, I am aware that nitrogen hazards are significant. It is not like it leaves you gasping for breath; it has been described as a “punch in the face that knocks you unconscious”. Apparently you need CO2 to regulate your respiration. The lack of CO2 in nitrogen simply means that your respiration stops immediately; no warning, and you collapse. No gasping while you try to get out. There have been a lot of people killed due to nitrogen atmospheres, particularly entering vessels that are purged with it.

May 4, 2011 2:43 pm

GaryP says:
May 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm
“One fun little fact about playing with liquid nitrogen. If air comes in contact with it, oxygen will condense into it as it has a higher boiling point. When the liquid has almost boiled off, the last little bit will be pure oxygen.”
I don’t recall this being a major issue with LIN during my 6+ years as a cryo piping designer. For LH2, definitely, it’s a big deal. We used to sling stainless steel angle sections under the piping to collect any liquefied air and direct it to a safe disposal location.

May 4, 2011 3:01 pm

Perhaps I should clarify: exposed sections of liquid hydrogen piping would be so cold as to liquefy the surrounding atmospheric air, causing the situation GaryP describes.

May 5, 2011 10:25 am

Aren’t you worried that the electrons running so quickly through the chip will contribute to global warming?

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