Galax-sponsored TecLab OC team from Brazil has managed to push Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 graphics processor to a record-breaking 3.45 GHz with the help of some modding and liquid nitrogen.
This is the highest GPU clock speed ever achieved.
But there is a catch. At such a high frequency the card started showing performance degradation — and the team had to reduce the clock speed before they were able to run benchmarks.
According to VideoCardz, the team of overclockers took Galax's upcoming GeForce RTX 4090 SG (Serious Gaming) graphics card — a likely contender for one of the best graphics cards — which uses a custom-printed circuit board that is designed to make graphics processors run at frequencies higher than those recommended by Nvidia.
Using the card's quad-fan stock cooler, the Galax GeForce RTX 4090 SG can be overclocked to 3.075 GHz. But with higher voltages and extreme LN2 cooling, the GPU can hit speeds as high as 3.45 GHz, with memory data transfer rates hitting speeds of up to 24 GT/s (probably the default speed of Micron's latest 16GB GDDR6X chips).
To prep the card for their overclocking session, the TecLab OC team had to remove the power limit controller, resolder some of the elements from the front side of the PCB to the backside of the PCB to install the liquid nitrogen pot, and add voltage probes to better understand the board's behavior.
The TecLab OC team managed to get the Galax GeForce RTX 4090 SG to 3.45 GHz, which is the highest GPU clock speed ever achieved. However, at such a high frequency, and with liquid nitrogen, the GPU started to show degraded performance, and the team had to reduce the clock speed to 3.27 - 3.36 GHz to run benchmarks on the card.
Even overclocked to ~3.3 GHz, the GeForce RTX 4090 still managed to break five benchmark records, achieving the world's highest performance scores in 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, 3DMark Port Royal, 3DMark Time Spy Extreme Graphics, Superposition 1080p Extreme, and Unigine Superposition 8.
When Nvidia introduced its AD102 graphics processor as well as its GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card, it said the GPU was designed to hit high clock speeds and claimed to have already run the AD102 GPU at 3.0 GHz in its labs. And now the TecLab OC team has proven the GPU can hit even higher clock speeds outside of Nvidia's labs — once it's fed with enough power and cooled with liquid nitrogen, of course.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.