Tom’s Hardware Germany and the ‘5GHz Project’ – December 2003

Even though today isn’t a Thursday, I can’t help but share this article and video which cropped up today from back in 2003. Entitled ‘The 5GHz Project’, the article is in many ways a good snapshot of where extreme overclocking was at this point in history, cooling a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 to reach a clock of 5.25GHz. One of the more interesting aspects of the project was that it took lots of old school engineering know how to make it all happen.

This is a time before the existence of der8auer or K|ngp|n LN2 pots. These guys didn’t just order their LN2 pot online, they went to man at a firm in Munich called Basche Kupferarbeiten and had one made from sheet copper. Incredible stuff. These were the days when folks really didn’t know what the best design for a copper LN2 pots should be, thus they went with one that is about four times taller than what we use today.

Other hardware components included an ASUS P4C800-E motherboard that was treated to a VRM mod to up the amount of power that could be put through the CPU. The Intel 875P Northbridge chipset was cooled with a Vapochill cooler, just because why not? In the end we have very decent overclock indeed, especially considering the OC knowledge and engineering available at that time.

"In the run-up we tested 10 different P4 CPUs for their overclocking potential. We also used a painstakingly modified Asus motherboard (P4C800-E) that featured a four-phase voltage regulator to allow for extreme voltages. When seriously overclocking the CPU, we recorded a current of 96 Amps, which even stretched the potential of the modified voltage regulator on the Asus P4C800-E."

"Finally, by gradually increasing FSB speed from 200 MHz (factory setting) to 309 MHz, we achieved a record speed of 5255 MHz. The fixed multiplier caused problems on all of the P4 CPUs we examined. That meant that from the outset synchronous operation of FSB and memory speed was not an option. When all’s said and done, there is no DDR memory around that can be operated at 309 MHz. As a result of the 3:2 split (FSB to memory), we were able to reduce memory speed to 206 MHz. This meant Corsair’s two DDR550 modules had enough air - previously we recorded the maximum possible clock rate at 285 MHz (CL3 mode)."

You can catch the full article here where it is preserved on Tom’s Hardware. You can also watch a great video that accompanies the article which has been re-uploaded here on the Tom’s Hardware YouTube channel.

Please log in or register to comment.