We've already caught a glimpse of how Intel's next-generation Nehalem processors will perform, so how about something similar from AMD? The folks at Chinese-language forum ITOCP didn't quite get there, but they've come awfully close by photographing, testing, and overclocking a 45nm Phenom X4 sample.
CPU-Z screenshots of the chip in action reveal a 2.2GHz default clock speed, four chunks of 512KB L2 cache, 6MB of shared L3 cache—4MB more than on current Phenom X4s—and a 1.224V core voltage. The CPU retains the four cores, four threads, and DDR2 memory support of current, 65nm quad-core Phenoms.
What's most interesting here is no doubt the overclocking results. The forum member who posted the data shows the chip completing a SuperPI 1M run at 2.8GHz with stock voltage, and he was able to push the sample up to 3GHz at 1.336V and a staggering 3.44GHz at 1.558V. For reference, we weren't able to get our Phenom X4 9850 above 3GHz even with a copious voltage bump.
AMD stated back in April that it planned to start 45nm CPU production this summer, with volume shipments to follow in the fourth quarter of this year. If these early numbers are any indication, AMD might get away with hitting 3GHz on commercial quad-core chips before long. Of course, Nehalem looks to be a formidable opponent either way. (Thanks to PC Perspective for the tip.)