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 AMD's Top-of-the-Range FX Processors May Get Bundles Liquid-Cooling Solution

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PostSubject: AMD's Top-of-the-Range FX Processors May Get Bundles Liquid-Cooling Solution   Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:56 pm

08/11/2011 07:24 AM
by Anton Shilov

Advanced Micro Devices is mulling to equip boxed versions of its
FX-series central processing units (CPUs) with a liquid-cooling solution
(LCS) in order to enhance their overclockability as well as to improve
their image in the eyes of high-performance computer enthusiasts. The
idea seems to be rather innovative and AMD's arch-rival Intel Corp. is also considering it.

In a bid to offer quiet and high-performance cooling solution
for its next-generation FX-series microprocessors, AMD intends to
bundle a liquid cooling solution with the chips, according to a source
with knowledge of the company's plans. AMD is considering to bundle the
advanced cooler with its top-of-the-range eight-core chips, but it is
unknown whether the chip designer will include the LCS with both
eight-core FX chips or only with the most expensive model. The
Sunnyvale, California-based company is currently considering to include a
completely sealed liquid system that consists of a CPU water block with
copper base, large heat-exchanger as well as cooling fan.

Both Advanced Micro Devices and Intel have been bundling rather
powerful air cooling solutions with their chips for a number of years
now. The majority of enthusiasts and high-end PC makers, however,
utilized even more advanced coolers with massive heatsinks and numerous
heat-pipes or even used liquid cooling solutions. Both AMD and Intel are
now considering to bundle self-contained coolers with their
enthusiast-class FX and Core i7 3000-series "Sandy Bridge E"
(SNB-E) microprocessors in a bid to offer better user experience and
allow to overclock their chips better right out of the box.

Self-contained liquid cooling solutions are more reliable than
higher-end custom LCSs that involve numerous plastic pipes and have high
risk of leak. By contrast, self-contained liquid coolers have seriously
lower risk of leak, but they still perform much better than traditional
air coolers with fans and heatsinks. There are more advantages that
sealed liquid cooling systems have over traditional air coolers.
Firstly, such coolers route all the CPU heat directly out of chassis,
which means lower overall ambient temperature. Secondly, the low
physical size of water-block drastically reduces the footprint of CPU
cooling system, which greatly increases overall airflow inside chassis.

At present AMD is looking at something like Antec Kühler H2O 620
self-contained liquid cooling system. The solution consists of a CPU
water block with copper base, large 151x120mm heat-exchanger as well as
120mm cooling fan with 1450 - 2000rpm speed. The product - which was
developed in tandem with well-known LCS specialist Asetek - can be
easily installed into almost any modern computer just like any other
cooler and the only condition is presence of a place to install a 120mm
fan. The Kühler H2O 620 is claimed to be 20% more efficient
compared to stock coolers.
“With CPU cooling, today’s users care primarily about four things:
performance, low noise, reliability and ease-of-setup – all offered at
the right price. The new Kühler H2O 620 switches it up and packs a remarkable amount of cooling in a compact solution,
and one that delivers performance greater than many of the tall
dual-fan CPU coolers that barely fit into a system,” said Scott
Richards, senior vice president at Antec.

The new Kühler H2O 620 is compatible with present and
future central processing units, including AMD microprocessors in AM2,
AM3, AM2+ and AM3+ form-factors as well as Intel's chips in LGA 775,
1155, 1156 and 1366 form-factors.

One of the remarkable things about the Antec Kühler H2O 620 is its price: $69.95, which is comparable to high-quality air coolers. The pump in the Antec Kühler H2O
620 has an MTBF of 50 000 hours, which is over five years of
24-hour-a-day operation. The novelty is backed by Antec’s Quality 3-year
(AQ3) limited warranty on parts and labor.

Naturally, AMD may order a different LCS or
customize the 620 model.

Inexpensive sealed liquid coolers cost from around $60 to around $70
in the U.S. retail, which means that it is completely possible to bundle
it with chips that cost $300, $400 or more. Such microprocessors are
usually bought by enthusiasts who usually overclock their chips and
included LCS allows to do it easier and safer. Furthermore, bundling
self-contained liquid cooler with a CPU will attract attention to this
CPU and the brand. On the other hand, inclusion of such unusual cooling
solution may indirectly indicate that AMD needs something extraordinary
in order to attract attention and boost competitive advantages of its
FX-series chips code-named Zambezi.

AMD itself believes that its multi-core Zambezi FX CPUs will allow it
to compete head-to-head with Intel's high-end Core i-series "Sandy
Bridge" processors that can sell for as much as $300 and more per chip.

Earlier this year it turned out that AMD had to delay commercial
launch of its desktop FX-series microprocessors due to insufficient
performance of B0 and B1 stepping Zambezi/Bulldozer processors, which
could function only at around 2.50GHz/3.50GHz (nominal/turbo)
clock-speeds. As a consequence, AMD needed to tune the design of the processor
and create B2 stepping of the chip with better clock-speed potential
amid similar thermal design power (TDP), which is not a quick process.

It should be noted that the refreshed AMD FX "Zambezi" lineup will
compete against Intel's Sandy Bridge E as well as Ivy Bridge
microprocessors due in late Q4 2011 and March-April, 2012, respectively.

AMD and Antec did not comment on the news-story.

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