Breaking the GHz barrier: 15-year-old processor record is finally broken

It took 15 years before the 9000 MHz wall could be broken. Intel now takes the crown.

A piece of cpu history has been written this week by a team of chip enthusiasts who, in collaboration with Intel and the company’s upcoming Intel Core i9-13900K top processor, were able to run a frequency of over 9,000 Mhz – and thus call themselves the world’s fastest spinning CPU.

This completes the first GHz milestone since 2007 when it was possible to get a Pentium 4 processor to spin at a staggering eight GHz.

Intel’s new processor also takes the lead from the previous frequency record holder, AMD’s FX-8350 processor, which in November 2012 topped 8.79 GHz.

The wild gigahertz race

There was a time when processors couldn’t spin fast enough.

The more MHz, the faster. Which triggered the so-called overclocking discipline, where hardware enthusiasts competed to see who could make processors from Intel and AMD run the fastest.

To reach ever-higher frequencies, the recipe from the manufacturers was that processors had to be printed with increasingly advanced print lithography, while the architecture itself had to be tuned to the higher frequencies.

Subsequently, the overclockers took hold, poured massive amounts of power into the processors, and installed at least as massive cooling solutions to avoid the chips burning together in the record attempt.

The GHz race took off in June 1999, when the first processor (an Intel Celeron 466 Mhz) was tuned to run over the promised 1,000 MHz wall.

A year and a half later, a tuned Pentium 4 (1.4 GHz model) topped 2.0 GHz, then the 3.0 GHz wall fell in September 2001 when a Pentium 4 (2.0 GHz) topped the next milestone.

The GHz records seem to be falling apart, as just seven months later, a Pentium 4 (2.4 GHz) topped the 4,000 Mhz mark.

But then the laws of physics began to threaten the wild GHz race.

A long cool way over the 9000 Mhz

After the five GHz was reached in July 2003, development continued with annual breaches of the next GHz wall.

The first 6.0 GHz processor came less than a year later, when an Intel Pentium 4 560 was pushed to the wild frequencies, while the 7.0 GHz record was rounded in August 2005.

However, the race ended abruptly in January 2007, when an Intel Pentium 4 631 was the first to round the 8001 Mhz.

It was the last swan song from Intel’s outgoing Netburst architecture, which prioritized high frequencies, rather than the new Core architecture, which both offered potentially more computing cores and a structure that can perform more calculation work at each clock beat.

No matter how massive the amount of power and even with advanced cryogenic cooling, Intel’s Pentium 4 architecture never got above 8,309 Mhz.

Although AMD got close four years later with its ‘Bulldozer’ architecture and the AMD FX-8150, it took 10 years without further technological breakthroughs before the promised limit of 9,000 MHz could be reached.

Below you can see the development in frequency records and the full list here.

You might also like
error: Content is protected !!