For those who would attempt such a thing, the record overclock to beat for AMD’s new Ryzen 3 3100 processor is 5,923.62MHz. It’s a noteworthy feat for a $99 CPU, though as is typically the case with these sort of things, air cooling and even traditional liquid cooling won’t cut it—the record overclock was achieved with a steady dose of liquid nitrogen.
Having to pour LN2 onto your CPU is impractical for anything other than chasing overclocking or benchmarking records, or to see how high a chip can go when not bound by thermal constraints. It’s messy, and only good for relatively short bursts (the fun is over once the supply of LN2 is depleted).
Still, it’s an interesting practice, both for sport and to see what the underlying architecture is capable of when heat is removed as a roadblock. Traditionally, current generation Ryzen processors have not been exceptional overclockers in typical settings (air-cooled and liquid-cooled PCs). This is something we saw again in our Ryzen 3 3300X CPU review (though our friends at Toms Hardware fared a bit better, on what might have been cherry picked silicon).
It’s another story when using exotic cooling, as demonstrated by TSAIK, a professional overclocker who fell less than 77MHz shy of hitting 6GHz. He now holds the top spot on HWBot (via ThinkComputers) for 3100 CPUs.
At stock settings, the 4-core/8-thread processor has a 3.6GHz base clock and up to a 3.9GHz boost clock. So, TSAIK effectively squeezed out an additional 2+GHz. This was done on an MSI Mag X570 Tomahawk motherboard with 8GB of RAM. According to the CPU-Z image that accompanies the database entry, he set the voltage at 1.45V. That’s fairly high—at stock settings, the 3100 should peak at around 1.1V.
Neat, but not feasible for daily use. Even so, AMD’s affordable Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X CPUs are compelling products, especially when paired with a B550 motherboard. They bring the benefits of AMD’s latest generation Zen 2 architecture into the budget segment, potentially paving the way for some inexpensive but good gaming PCs. And hey, if you happen to be a hardcore overclocker with a supply of LN2, much higher frequencies await.