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 Post subject: Do cooler chips mean more throughput at a given clockspeed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:09 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:41 pm
Posts: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY
A recent post by Colm reminded me of an argument a friend and I were having: Does the temperature of a chip affect its performance?

My friend aircools his system down to 5-10°C above ambient. He says that even without adjusting clockspeed, lower temperatures alone improve his FLOPS, FPS, and RAM bandwidth. I spin my fans slowly and run my chips hot, and I figure as long as it doesn't create instability, there's nothing to be gained by keeping the chips cooler. Who's right?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:44 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:35 am
Posts: 1266
Location: Pleasanton, CA
A CPU's speed is determined entirely by clock frequency.

Temperature is irrelevant if the two systems have the same clock speeds and multipliers.

However, and this may be what your friend is trying to get at, lower temperatures generally allow for more aggressive overclocks (ie, higher reliable clock rates). But you only get the performance boost if you actually change the clocks.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:44 am
Posts: 62
What the friend was referring to, may be conductor super cooling. It's a technique used to limit the loss on an electric connection.
I doubt it has any effect on cpu's, since the distances of the connections in the die are really small. Furthermore, super cooling requires sub-zero temps.

As cmthomson said, if not overclocked, the temperature will not affect performance in any way. If overclocked (and the cooler you can get the cpu, the more you can overclock it) it will of course perform better.

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