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Overclocker pushes Intel Core i5 CPU to 7.3GHz

A little over a year ago, Intel very discreetly launched of the Pentium E6500K processor in mainland China. The 'K' in the name meant that the chip had an unlocked clock speed multiplier, à la AMD's 'Black series' CPUs.

The market was surprised, as the chipmaker had previously taken great lengths to keep the overclockers at bay, and this was probably the plan born of test-tube mentality.

Surprise turned to luke-warm reception as the processor chosen was a mid-to-low range processor. Needless to say, it didn't rally enthusiasts into mobbing stores to get their hands on one of the precious K series.

Fast-forward to May 2010, and Intel launched more K series CPUs, only these were Core i5 and i7 (model numbers 655K and 875K respectively). Many speculated that the integrated memory controller would be a great obstacle to achieving ultimate overclocking performance, but it seems it hasn't stopped quite a few people from trying.

At the beginning of the month, a very competent and well-known overclocker, duck, managed to squeeze 7307.84MHz out of his Core i5 655K Clarkdale, as validated on Canard PC's CPU-z site (opens in new tab). Although he doesn't describe that cooling has been used isn, the feat required setting a 33x multiplier in BIOS and a bus speed of 221.45MHz. The two gigabytes of DDR3 memory were running at a conservative DDR3 1066MHz setting, keeping things in check.

That's 7.3GHz... Not too shabby for a £160 processor, is it?

Ironically, the fastest validated CPUs on record (opens in new tab) are rather dated Celerons (347, 356) and Pentium 4 (631) of all things, with recorded clock speed of high than 8.1GHz. Considering these are 65nm processors, maybe there was some ground to that age-old NetBurst ambition of reaching 10GHz...

The slowest of the slowest CPU honour goes to a Pentium Overdrive, which has been clocked down to a barely-alive 7.07MHz. Something that will definitely not play Crysis in any form or shape. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.