Comdex Fall: Cooling tech revs up AMD chip

Star of the show at AMD's Comdex stand in Las Vegas this week is a 375MHz K6 processor - but its not the chip maker that has squeezed out the extra clock cycles.

US firm KryoTech has taken an AMD 266MHz K6 and used its chip cooling technology to freeze the chip down to minus 40 degrees, thereby enabling it to run at the faster than rated frequency, as heat renders processors unstable. Charles Nickel, a mechanical engineer for the firm, said KryoTech is talking to European distributors.

Chip cooling and 'upclocking' - the industry term for notching up processor clock speeds - is not new but is usually guaranteed to raise the hackles of chip makers. In contrast, AMD seems to have afforded KryoTech, a one-year old South Carolina-based spin-off from NCR, a welcome and is currently testing the technology for certification. If AMD finds nothing untoward then the technology will find a home in systems from March 1998. PCs using the KryoTech 'Cool Computing' technology will carry a premium of around $500.

Also on the AMD booth, the firm showed a notebook running a low-power 266MHz K6. AMD expects to shortly ship low-power K6 chips to mobile PC vendors.

Also on display in a very thin Fujitsi subnotebook was the Elan SC 400, a single-chip processor designed for ultra-portable PCs.

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