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Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition 2009
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Date: May 01, 2009
Section:Misc
Author: Mathew Miranda
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Introduction

While most computer enthusiasts overclock their systems to get increased performance from their components, there are a select few that push the limits of hardware to another level for the entertainment factor alone. Instead of just trying to get higher frame rates for gaming or better throughput for other types of workloads, these extreme enthusiasts run a series of benchmarks to see who can achieve the highest score or finish with the fastest time. Professional overclockers throughout North America often participate in ongoing competitions online to see how fast they can run their processors and graphics cards for bragging rights and geek glory. In this world, operating voltages are raised to insane levels and stability means being able to submit results before the system crashes. You can think of it as PC drag racing in a sense. And for the same reasons that drag racing draws spectators, extreme overclocking has steadily grown in popularity through the years. Some manufacturers are even designing parts made specifically for this exclusive crowd. Whether it be processors, motherboard, memory, power supplies, or video cards, the extreme enthusiast scene is evolving.

For the second year in a row, Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry, California was host to the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship North American Final. On Saturday April 25th, 2009, Gigabyte flew in the best of the best among the extreme overclocking scene to find out who would represent North America in the World Championships being held in Taipei, Taiwan on June 3rd.   


North American Regional Contestants - The few, the proud, the Uber-Geek Elite...

Gigabyte Open (GO) Overclocking Tournament 2009
North American Regional Final

When Saturday April 25, 2009
Where Pacific Palm Resort - City of Industry, CA

Sponsors Gigabyte, Intel, Nvidia, Kingston, Enermax

Speakers Tony Liao,  Gigabyte VP North America Sales
Francois Piednoel,  Intel Performance Analyst
Jack Chen,  NVIDIA Channel Sales Manager
Mark Takunoff, Kingston Sr. Tech Manager
Joerg Theissen, Enermax Marketing Chief

Competitors Jeremiah Allen - Miahallen
Jody Bailey - 3oh6
Gautam Bhatnagar - Gautam
Jeremy Clifton - sno.lcn
Michael Graf - Mikeguava
William Harmon - Buckeye
Eric Hassett - Vapor
Vachira Khowdee - TiTon
Matthew Kinley - rdrash
Ross Lapkoff - Ross
Mark LeaMaster - Maxi
Chris Morrell - Gomeler
Charles Wirth - FUGGER

1st Place Prize
Roundtrip Flight to Taipei, Taiwan
Intel Core i7 965 Processor
Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme Motherboard
Gigabyte GV-N285-1GH-B Videocard
Kingston 3GB DDR3-2000 Memory
Intel X25-M SATA 80GB SSD
Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W PSU

2nd Place Prize
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 Motherboard
Gigabyte GV-N285-1GH-B Videocard
Kingston 3GB DDR3-2000 Memory
Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W PSU

3rd Place Prize
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P Motherboard
Gigabyte GV-N260C-896H-B Videocard
Kingston 3GB DDR3-2000 Memory
Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W PSU


Obviously, there was no shortage of sponsors or prizes. Landing first place at this event gets you thousands of dollars worth of hardware along with a trip to Taiwan. Let's take a closer look at the overclockers that came out to compete in this event.

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Competitors


This year, 13 top ranked overclockers tested their skills and luck against one another. Here are their current rankings, previous achievements, and thoughts on the GO OC event. 

Jeremiah Allen
Ranked #36 in US on hwbot.org


MIAHALLEN

  • Team IRONMODS
  • "LN2! Isnt' that stuff dangerous?"


Jody Bailey
Ranked #1 in Canada on hwbot.org


3oh6

  • Ranked #30 worldwide on hwbot.org
  • "Ready to represent the Great White North with pride. We live in the cold, so we can certainly bench with it."


Gautam Bhatnagar
Ranked #2 in US on hwbot.org


Gautam

  • Ranked #7 worldwide on hwbot.org
  • Previously held world records in 3DMark06, 05, 03, and PCMark05
  • "Can't wait to meet up with old friends!"


Jeremy Clifton
Ranked #10 in US on hwbot.org


sno.lcn

  • Ranked #100 worldwide on hwbot.org
  • "Ain't no party like a Gigabyte OC party!"


Michael Graf
Harcore Overclocker


mikeguava

  • PCMark Vantage score - 20851
  • PCMark05 score - 31055
  • "Let the good times roll."


William Harmon
Ranked #28 in US on hwbot.org


Buckeye

  • "I find it great fun to take just about any CPU and throw it under phase or LN2 cooling to see what it can do. Its a challenge to see what older CPUs can do with modern cooling and to push new hardware as far as I can."


Eric Hassett
GO OC 2008 Freestyle Champion


Vapor

  • 3DMark06 score - 35550
  • Previously held world record with Gautam
  • "Looking forward to more fun in 2009!"


Vachira Khowdee
Team IRONMODS


TiTon

  • Forum Wars "Power of 3" Award
  • "I am very excited to have this opportunity to participate in Gigabyte's OC event. It is very exciting to be able to meet and compete with some of the best benchers in the USA. It is great to see Gigabyte bringing these events to the overclocking community."


Matthew Kinley
Ranked #16 in US on hwbot.org


rdrash

  • Core i7 940 overclocked to 5104MHz using Gigabyte's EX58-Extreme motherboard
  • "Best of luck to everyone! This is going to be classic fun with so many of my friends in one place. Something is bound to happen, eh?"


Ross Lapkoff
Ranked #30 in US on hwbot.org


Ross

  • GO OC 2008 US Regional Champion
  • 3rd Place in GO OC 2008 World Finals
  • "Looking forward to another extreme Gigabyte event!"


Mark LeaMaster
Ranked #6 in US on hwbot.org


Maxi

  • 3rd Place in GO OC 2008 World Finals
  • "This will be a great battle. Good luck everyone!"


Chris Morrell
Ranked #8 in US on hwbot.org


Gomeler

  • "Last year's GO OC has raised my expectations of this event considerably. I look forward to visiting Gigabyte and having a chance to compete against some of the best benchers in the USA."


Charles Wirth
GO OC 2008 Freestyle Champion


FUGGER

  • Owner of Xtremesystems.org

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Hardware Setup

To keep a level playing field, the competitors used identical set ups for the competition provided by the sponsors of the event. However, contestants were allowed to use their own CPU and GPU cooling devices. Gigabyte provided two large containers of liquid nitrogen (LN2) for the event and all of them made good use of it. Here is a list of the hardware and software used during the event.

GO OC 2009 Configurations
Core i7 and X58

Hardware:
Core i7 965 Extreme Edition
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P Motherboard
Gigabyte GV-N260C-896H-B Graphic Card
Kingston KHX16000D3K3/3GX DDR3 Memory
Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W Power Supply
Intel X25-M SATA Solid State Drive
Gigabyte 19" LCD Monitor
Gigabyte Keyboard / Mouse

Relevant Software:
Windows XP SP2
Easy Tune 6
RivaTuner v2.22
CPU-Z v1.49
GPU-Z v0.3.1

Drivers
:
NVIDIA Driver Release 181.22 (PhysX enabled)

Benchmarks:
Super PI 8M
3DMark06







Contestants had two hours to set up their systems and prepare the components for sub-zero temperatures. This usually consists of applying some form of coating to the motherboard and graphics cards, specifically around the socket area. K|ngp|n's F1 copper pot was a popular choice and used by many of the overclockers at the competition. 





The copper pot approach not only provides a suitable container for Liquid Nitrogen but it also has great thermal conductivity itself.

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Extreme Overclocking

This year, Gigabyte went with a different format and cut down the number of benchmarks used in the event. Each competitor was given two hours to submit a SuperPi time. After a 30 minute break, another two hours were allowed for 3DMark06 benchmark runs. The additional time afforded the overclockers the chance to tune voltages and increase core clocks. Also, it provided the opportunity to swap out components if something went wrong.  





Sub-zero temperatures were reached and maintained by a constant flow of liquid nitrogen. Hurried trips to the LN2 tanks for refills occurred throughout the event. Last year's GO OC 2008 Freestyle champions, FUGGER and Vapor, were on hand to show off their skills as well but did not compete as they already have a spot in this year's world finals. FUGGER bypassed the liquid nitrogen pot and went with a monstrous triple stage cascade cooling unit to cool his CPU. Another interesting setup was Mikeguava's submerged system. In a blue plastic container, his components sat in approximately three inches of fluid.   

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Results

Here's a look at the final scoreboard. Points were given to the top 5 scores in each benchmark. 3DMark06 points were awarded in two categories, highest HDR/SM3.0 scores and highest overall score. 



After the initial SuperPI round, Miahallen held the lead with 12 points by overclocking his Core i7 965 processor to 5.12GHz and completing the benchmark in 1m 30.969s. Going into the 3DMark06 benchmark, he was able to finish a run that earned enough points to pull off the victory. Miahallen's win is impressive considering he opted to hard mod the videocard in order to raise voltage and was not able to monitor the added juice he was giving the GPU core. Immediately after completing the 3DMark06 benchmark and screenshot, the system crashed and did not come back up. Sno.lcn finished in second place with a strong showing in 3DMark06 round. With his CPU at 4.64GHz and GPU clock at 880MHz, he scored 24869 3DMarks and earned enough to rank #2 in the contest. Maxi rounded out the top 3 by scoring well enough in 3DMark06 to secure third place



To win this competition, you need a combination of skill and focus--and a little bit of luck. As any enthusiast will tell you, every processor is different and some overclock more than others. On this day, we watched as some of the most talented overclockers in North America faced off and eventually crowned a new champion. Miahallen will be accompanied by second place winner, sno.lcn, to represent this region in the world finals. It promises to be the largest overclocking competition ever held as competitors from 26 countries will battle to find out who really is the best in the world.

We'd like to thank Gigabyte, Intel, NVIDIA, Kingston and Enermax for throwing the event and showing us a great time. It is terrific to see companies embrace the extreme enthusiast culture and sponsor this type of contest. Congratulations to the winners and good luck in Taiwan!




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