Phenom II X4 Overclocking Master class

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Old ScarFace and the Phenom II X4 965BE rev. C3

Overclocking session with the AMD Phenom II X4 965BE rev. C3

Hey everybody! My name is Roger Kortenhoeven aka Oldscarface. At the young age of 38 years I live in The Netherlands with my girlfriend and four kids. For over eighteen years I have had a hobby called overclocking. For me overclocking is a passion, always trying to find things that make the system go faster without actually killing the hardware. In general overclocking is to increase the speed of a specific hardware component to get more performance out of the system.

During overclocking, the speed of the hardware is increased step by step until the maximum speed is reached for the voltage used. If you want to continue and overclock further, you also need to increase the voltage. Higher voltage and higher speed automatically boils down to one thing, higher temperatures.

This process repeats itself until the cooler is no longer capable of keeping the hardware cool and at that point you have reached the maximum of the system, and thus your maximum overclock. For most people overclocking stops here, but there are also people, like me, who go more extreme. One of the things extreme overclocking is all about is cooling the hardware component to extremely low temperatures. By low temperatures I mean temperatures which are around -250 degrees Celsius.

Why are lower temperatures needed you might ask? Well, lower temperatures equals super conductivity and that's where you reap the benefits. Superconductivity occurs in certain materials at very low temperatures. Why is that important? Well, when superconductive, a material has an electrical resistance of exactly zero. It is also characterized by a phenomena called the Meissner effect. This is the ejection of any sufficiently weak magnetic field from the interior of the superconductor as it transitions into the superconducting state.

At this moment there are seven different ways to cool your hardware:

  • With Air / Water cooling (above 0 degrees)
  • Using Chilled Water (around the 0 degrees, good ones go under the freezing point)
  • With a Single Stage Phase Change (till -30 degrees)
  • Using a container/tube and Dry Ice (till -70 degrees)
  • With a Cascade Phase Change (till -100 degrees)
  • Using a container/tube and Liquid Nitrogen, LN² (till -196 degrees)
  • Using a container/tube and Liquid Helium, LHe (till -269 degrees)

To reach a temperature of -250 degrees Celsius, you need to use Liquid Helium. Since roughly a year more and more overclockers started to use Liquid Helium (LHe), but the problem with LHe is its excessive price (more than ten times the price of LN²) and the availability here in the Netherlands. Therefore I used LN² which is available for around 1 euro/liter.

Many people ask me how far you can go when using extreme cooling. Below I made a comparison between the maximum CPU speed for benching Superpi 1M and the cooling used.

Cooling used


Max theoretical speed
Superpi 1M

Air / Water

> 0 degrees

approx 4450 MHz

Chilled Water

- 10 degrees

approx 4800 MHz

Phase Change

- 30 degrees

approx 5250 MHz


- 70 degrees

approx 5550 MHz


-100 degrees

approx 5800 MHz


-190 degrees

approx 6500 MHz


- 250 degrees

approx 6800 Mhz

 Note : This is an estimation and not done with this CPU.

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