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Overclocking at Computex 2014

Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said this year’s Computex was packed with overclocking events, was I? Hundreds of liters of liquid nitrogen were used, tens of overclockers from all around the world attended, tens of thousands of dollars were won, and countless hours of work (but also fun) were invested in these events. And something else happened – inevitably things changed, and they will probably continue to change. You cannot always say a change is good or bad, but this is what I have noticed in most of this year’s events.

First of all, it is all becoming professional and it is heading away from an amateur type of sport and competition. Most of the overclockers in Computex were either employees of companies, either contracted to have a show in a company’s stand. This is not a bad thing and I think it is normal for some of the guys to enjoy the fruits of their labor and work in the industry doing what they love. And it was easy to notice that the companies also get something important out of this, since many of the overclocking contests were won by company teams.

Second, the prizes are getting bigger and bigger, but at some expense – there are no more world wide qualifiers and big regional finals. Now an overclocker has to pay for his flight and accommodation if he wants to enter the competitions. Of course, this allows for bigger prizes but also takes down the number of people who are actually participating, and you end up with “world” championships with less than 10 people.

Another thing – in most of the competitions, the overclockers were allowed to bring their own hardware. This is a good thing because it guarantees that you will see huge numbers and world records, but it has nothing to do with the concept of fairness and sportsmanship as you imagine it in an amateur (think olympics) type of competition. As I said, it is all going pro.

Besides these changes, it is impossible not to notice Intel’s support to normal overclockers (air/water cooling) and the fact the the prizes were in most cases bigger for air cooled results then LN2 results. As Intel is a huge company that does everything after a long time spent researching, this is something that must be regarded very seriously – a new era is beginning and maybe soon we will see world championships and world finals on air cooling!

And that gets us to the last point – a move like this has a very specific reason and goal. The truth is that we were always passionate about overclocking, but as years pass and everything is going pro, the real number of guys who pay attention to this hobby diminished because most of them felt they could never compete with the pro’s, the sponsored guys and the LN2 bunch. Air cooling, on the other hand, is for everybody.

Of course, you need the same amount of skill, you still need a very good CPU and all that, but maybe the gap is not that huge. And this has potential to bring a huge crowd of power users and gamers back into the overclocking game. And honestly, this is something overclocking really needs – if we really want to have a future for this “sport” – a bigger audience.

In the end, I cannot say I am sure how things are going to go for overclocking in the next 5 years and we cannot say for sure “this is bad and that is good”. If you would have asked me 5 years ago I would most definitely told you overclocking was going to be big. Now we are all older and more experienced, so we are more cautious in making such affirmations. What I am sure of is the fact that overclocking was bigger then ever at Computex this year and a huge number of overclockers attended. Be it as competitors, exhibitors in LN2 demos or just friends in the HWBot Anniversary OC Gathering – Computex was all about overclocking this year. And one way or another, something tells me that next year it might be even bigger.

So…if you didn’t do it so far, maybe it is not such a bad idea to start overclocking. Who knows, maybe in 5 years from now you will be winning the 10000 USD prize and maybe we’ll have a beer at HWBot’s 15 year Anniversary Gathering. Now it’s time for me to head back home, so…. cheers!

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