Deep in the bowels of Intel’s Portland, Oregon facilities, the company operates an overclocking laboratory. (We know; we’re already polishing our resumes.) It recently invited German overclocker de8auer to its offices to show off some of its testing and validation tools. As expected, he showed off all kinds of software and hardware the general public will never be able to use. The most interesting is an internal overclocking tool Intel uses that offers granular control over a ton of normally inaccessible attributes. This level of control allowed de8auer to overclock a mobile chip all the way to 5.8GHz with ease.
The software in question is called Real-Time Overclocking, or ROC for short. It’s listed as “confidential” in the video, as it’s for internal use only. de8auer likens it to a slimmed-down version of Intel’s eXtreme Tuning Utility, known as XTU. It lets you overclock on a per-core basis in real time. You can select any of the cores, such as cores 1, 2, 9, and 14, and apply new settings just to those. That includes changing the frequency multiplier, voltage, and so forth. There’s no reboot required, and changes are applied instantly. You can even change the voltage on a per-core basis. In the video, the software is shown to be responsive with an intuitive user interface.
To see what the software can do, he used a validation board running a Core i9-13900HK mobile chip. This is a recently released Raptor Lake CPU with six efficiency cores and eight performance cores. By default, this 45W CPU tops out at 5.4GHz for just one or two cores. In the video, the entire affair looks rather painless, with de8auer nudging clocks on all P-cores up to 5.8GHz casually while expecting it to crash. It remained stable, though, until he bumped it up 200MHz to 6GHz, and the system froze.
Not only was he able to hit 6GHz on a mobile CPU, which is a first, but it had sub-optimal cooling as well. He adds that he recently couldn’t hit this frequency on a mobile chip using dry ice. The best he could do was 5.6GHz or so. Let’s not forget that Intel hit 6GHz on its desktop chips with the Core i9-13900KS. This is largely uncharted territory for CPUs.
The video is an interesting look at Intel’s operation. It also bodes well for Intel’s mobile efforts with Raptor Lake, which it launched last week. Its Core i9-13980HX has landed at the top of the PassMark leaderboards for mobile CPUs. However, AMD is yet to launch its full mobile lineup for its Zen 4 platform. That should be happening this month, however, so it’s unclear how long Intel will stay on the top step of the podium.
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