Originally Posted by michael-ocn
First I've heard of there being a "break-in" period for solid state devices? Did prior generations of intel chips need that too? What procedure is used to break-in a chip? I know hi heat can accelerate degradation. Is the "break-in" the consequences of over aggressive clocking and heat when finding the limits of a new chip?
The "break-in" is simply early degradation (probably a degree of electromigration) which happens quickly, then plateaus rather than accelerating...unless pushed beyond certain limits, of course.
It's probably been a thing forever, to one degree or another, but I first noticed it in CPUs around the time of Wolfdale...though I dismissed it as insufficient stress testing at the time. There have even been cases of ICs improving in capabilities, to a point, with a certain amount of wear; though the only credible reports, and only first hand evidence I've seen of this was with Winbond DDR ICs (BH-6, BH-5, and CH-5, specifically).
It's likely that some designs and certain manufacturing processes have more of a propensity to reach a definitive plateau rather than just continuing on a more dramatic failure curve, and that certain types of OCing tend to make the presence of this more apparent.
As far as procedure...it's inevitable, unavoidable, and is probably why there is so much margin left on these parts in the first place. If it's electromigration (or most kinds of IC aging/failure to be honest), the more current, voltage, and heat, the faster it will happen. Obviously, if you go too wild on any of these you will rapidly degrade the part to outright failure.
To speed the process up, I stress test parts heavily out of the box, either at stock, or with a mild OC (also useful for weeding out weak samples while I still have 30 days to return things to where I bought them). It could take weeks of light use to break in a part, or a few hours of LINPACK. Only afterwards do I try to find my 24/7 stable OCs...too easy to waste time trying to dial in a final OC before the part has plateaued.