[HARDWARE] Overclocking CPUs (more long rant)

Robert Norton rjn at execpc.com
Wed Sep 22 21:23:59 EDT 1999


taniwha wrote:

> well I think that the point of my rant was that you
> just can't tell - NO one really knows - we're deally with
> something so complex that it's not possible to tell.
> Us designers are designing to a statistical model of the
> process - the back-end guys who to burn-in and characterisation
> are sampling stuff from the real process (they get wafers
> which have been pushed into the various process-corners
> so they can skew their stats to get information in the
> interesting places on the bell curves - for them what
> happens in the middle is boring - they want to find out
> how stuff fails at the extremes).

How about a more specific question?  I'm assuming that the CPU makers have to pay
money to make a data paths go faster, so that there are quite a few paths that are
running at close to their design speed on a well designed chip.  What do you think is
the variablity from path to path among these most-critical top 10 paths?  If you can
tell me that they are all within 10% of eachother, then as you crank it up all hell
will break loose in the last 10%.  But by the same token, if it is running at all, you
could make all those paths safe by backing it off 10%.
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