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IBM overclocks chip to 500GHz

Has to be cooled to -268.5°C, mind...

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Boffins from IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) have produced what they claim is the world's fastest silicon chip thanks to what must be the acme of overclocking. The researchers reached a clock speed of 500GHz by reducing its temperature to just 4.5° above absolute zero.

The feat was part of the team's exploration of fourth-generation Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) devices, which IBM and GIT are investigation for future comms chip applications. The scientists wanted to see just how fast such a chip could be persuaded to run without malfunctioning or, in extreme cases, melting.

If cooling a machine down to -268.5°C seems a trifle impractical, take heart from the boffins' other efforts, which saw the chip running at 350GHz at room temperature - rather better than the 2GHz commercial products for communications applications typically run at today. ®

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