Overclocking Results Show We’re Hitting the Fundamental Limits of Silicon

By Joel Hruska

Silicon Lottery, a website that specializes in selling overclocked Intel and AMD parts, has some 9900KS chips available for sale. The company is offering a 9900KS verified at 5.1GHz for $749 and a 9900KS verified at 5.2GHz for $1199. What’s more interesting to us are the number of chips that qualify at each frequency. 31 percent of Intel 9900KS chips can hit 5.1GHz, while just 3 percent can hit 5.2GHz. The 5.2GHz option was available earlier on 11/4 but is listed as sold-out as of this writing.

The 9900KS is an optimized variant of Intel’s 9900K. The 9900K is Intel’s current top-end CPU. Given the difficulties Intel has had moving to 10nm and the company’s need to maintain competitive standing against a newly-resurgent AMD, it’s safe to assume that Intel has optimized its 14nm++ process to within an inch of its life. The fact that Intel can ship a chip within ~4 percent of its apparent maximum clock in sufficient volume to launch it at all says good things about the company’s quality control and the state of its 14nm process line.

What I find interesting about the

Power per unit area versus throughput (that is, number of 32-bit ALU operations per unit time and unit area, in units of tera-integer operations per second; TIOPS) for CMOS and beyond-CMOS devices. The constraint of a power density not higher than 10 W cm2
is implemented, when necessary, by inserting an empty area into the optimally laid out circuits. Caption from the original Intel paper.

The advent of machine learning, AI, and the IoT have collectively ensured that the broader computer industry will feel no pain from these shifts, but those of us who prized clock speed and single-threaded performance may have to find other aspects of computing to focus on long-term. The one architecture I’ve seen proposed as a replacement for CMOS is a spintronics approach Intel is researching. MESO — that’s the name of the new architecture — could open up new options as far as compute power density and efficiency. Both of those are critical goals in their own right, but so far, what we know about MESO suggests it would be more useful for low-power computing as opposed to pushing the high-power envelope, though it may have some utility in this respect in time. One of the frustrating things about being a high performance computing fan these days is how few options for improving single-thread seem to exist.

This might seem a bit churlish to write in 2019. After all, we’ve seen more movement in the CPU market in the past 2.5 years, since AMD launched Ryzen, than in the previous six. Both AMD and Intel have made major changes to their product families and introduced new CPUs with higher performance and faster clocks. Density improvements at future nodes ensure both companies will be able to introduce CPUs with more cores than previous models, should they choose to do so. Will they be able to keep cranking the clocks up? That’s a very different question. The evidence thus far is not encouraging.

Now Read:

Read more here:: www.extremetech.com/feed

Posted on: November 5, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: