Intel’s newest Core i7 processor, code-named Devils Canyon, runs at 4 gigahertz under standard conditions. But overclockers at the Computex trade show in Taiwan have pushed the chip to a new world record speed of 5.5 gigahertz.

Intel overclockers use liquid nitrogen to cool chips.

Above: Intel overclockers use liquid nitrogen to cool chips.

Image Credit: Intel

Overclocking means that you run a microprocessor for a PC at a faster speed than specified. That runs the risk of melting down the chip and ruining the computer, but it also gives people like gamers the maximum performance out of their machines. Using air and liquid cooling, the competitors in Taiwan pushed all four cores, or computing brains, on the Devils Canyon chip to more than 5.5 gigahertz.

The new chip will go into all sorts of new PCs, including all-in-ones, mini-PCs, and desktop computers. In his keynote speech at the conference, Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, encouraged the enthusiasts to beat the record.

To stoke the hobbyists, Intel announced its new Intel Pentium Processor Anniversary Edition, an “unlocked” version of its 20-year-old desktop processor that overclockers can play with all they want. It will be available in volume production later this month.