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Dead chips, Vcore or Heat?

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Nov 19, 2002
I'm wondering, can the voltage itself destroy a chip, or merely the heat that is a biproduct of upping the voltage and mhz. I.e. can electron throw-off or some other biproduct of increased voltage other then heat in and of itself hurt the chip.

Any electrical engineers or the like help me out here? :)


Senior @ss
Sep 23, 2001
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Voltage can destroy a chip without heat being a factor. I'm not sure what all happens in the innards of a processor to make this true, but a processor can die from voltage, heat, or both.


May 9, 2002
Portland OR.
There are very small areas of insulating materials between the gate, source and drain areas of the transistors, overvolting can breach these insulators and short the transistors. The die is very small and holds millions (80 million for the P4 I think) so we are talking about very small insulating areas (Nanameters). With the new copper interconnects it takes less voltage to the pins in order to get reletive voltage to the transistor allowing the CD (critical Dimensions) to get smaller and more transistors on a die. With the intel chips heat is much less likly to cause a falure than over-volting.