Overclocking at Computex 2014
I remember the time when we started LAB501 and so many manufacturers used to tell us that we are writing for a niche, that the audience will never be big enough in order for us to survive through the economical crisis that was starting to show it’s gloomy face in the IT industry. I also remember when guys from IT forums used to look at extreme overclocking as a stupid thing to do, and the guys doing it were seen as crazy nerds who had nothing better to do with their time and money…
And in all fairness, maybe at that time they were right and this was not meant to be a thing for the future. Nevertheless, for many of the guys involved with extreme overclocking back then it was never about the money and it was not even about the glory. It was a consuming passion that you would enjoy sharing with your friends from the other end of the world. And yes, it was about many lost nights, and too much money invested in cooling gear and hardware – but hey… when you managed to get the 1st score in 2k1 or Pi 1M… it was all worth it.
Then 2008 came, and what do you know… Two of the biggest motherboard vendors in the world started organizing world wide overclocking championships. I am talking about MSI, with MOA (Master Overclocking Arena) and GIGABYTE with GOOC (GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship). Both events took off in 2008 and were organized on a local qualifier / regional final / world wide final model. Hundreds of overclockers from all around the world competed, the regional and world wide finals were fierce and spectacular, and overclocking started to get more attention from the IT industry.
Big IT shows around the world (CeBIT, Computex) started to get assaulted by overclockers. I mean, you could see the freaky LN2 guys before, but now it became mainstream – any motherboard company that wanted to be taken seriously had an overclocker doing a LN2 demo in their stand. And for us overclockers it was great – we had yet another opportunity to meet, discuss overclocking and have fun. And many things happened since then, many local events, many smaller events (AOOC, GOC), many press releases that had the word overclocking in it…
But when GIGABYTE discontinued GOOC and MSI took a cheaper approach with MOA (online qualifiers) it seemed that the bad mouths were finally right – this was the beginning of the end. But as motherboard vendors started to reduce their investments in the live events, other vendors came to the rescue – I am talking about the memory manufacturers like Kingston or GSkill and of course about the most important manufacturer of them all, Intel. And guess what, not only overclocking is doing fine and well, but this year proved to be more important then ever. Because Computex 2014 was literally packed with overclocking events – I think this was the IT show with the most overclocking events ever organized so far and I don’t remember seeing as much overclockers together since the golden days of MOA and GOOC!
It all started with Intel OC Challenge 2014, a free to join event organized by Intel. There were no qualifiers, no sponsored trips, and… not only extreme cooling involved! Actually, I think the air/water cooling category prizes were even bigger then the ones you would get for the LN2 category!
I think Intel played a very smart card with this and going back to the roots (air cooling) will attract much more people to the game, since many of the original overclocking fans stopped doing it after being disappointed for not being able to compete against extreme overclockers who also got sponsored by various vendors. We’ll have to wait and see what the long term results are, but this is an idea with huge potential.
At the event in Computex there were two type of rankings – OC Challenge and Amateur OC Challenge. For the OC challenge, teams from vendors got into the competition – ASUS, ASRock, EVGA, GIGABYTE and MSI. There were many different trials, both on LN2 and air-cooling. On LN2 GIGABYTE managed to get the highest CPU clock 4c8t, the highest CPU clock 1c and the highest DDR frequency. ASUS got the best XTU and the best HWBot Prime results, while ASRock got best Cinebench and MSI got best WPrime 1024M.
In the air cooling category, MSI got the highest 4c8t CPU clock, ASRock got the best XTU, EVGA got the best WPrime 1024M and ASUS got everything else. At the end of the competition, Team ASUS (smoke, slamms, Elmor and XtremeAddict) got first place in 6 of the 14 benchmarks, GIGABYTE (HiCookie, dinos22, sofos1990 and sin0822) got 3, Asrock and MSI 2 and EVGA 1.
The Amateur OC Challenge also looked nice, with Zzolio, CherV and Rookie_JR taking the first 3 places in the top.
All the pictures from this page are courtesy of our friends from OverclockingTV. You can also watch the whole event recorded by OCTV.
Kingston (HyperX) is another good friend of overclockers – you should know because you can see them hosting LN2 events at all the DreamHack events. This year they rented a special venue in Taipei, where they had a gaming event but also HyperX Overclocking Takeover – a free to join overclocking event focused on memory performance.
Ten teams entered this event, and their main goal was to get the highest DDR3 clock, the best SuperPI 32M result and the best Intel XTU result. Using the power of the excellent GIGABYTE SOC Force LN2, the guys from Team GIGABYTE (HiCookie and sofos1990) managed to get the best DDR3 frequency (DDR3-4565) beating their previous record and the best XTU result. Having the 3rd SuperPi 32M result also meant that they got the first place on the podium.
The second team was also a GIGABYTE team at heart – TeamAU ( SniperOZ & JJJC) – they got the 2nd place in all benchmarks so they also got a place on the podium. The 3rd team on the podium came from China (Hero & DFORDOG).
Again, here are the videos provided by our friends from OverclockingTV.
The guys at GSkill have been supporting live overclocking for 3 years now – usually they have what they call the “OC Record Stage”, where guys from vendor teams are invited to bench and break world records on stage. This year they invited guys from ASUS (Coolice & Elmor), ASRock (Nick Shih & Splave), EVGA (Kingpin), GIGABYTE (HiCookie, dinos22 and sofos1990) and MSI (Pt1t). They also had their own overclockers there (Hiwa, Young Pro and Vivi). It is also worth mentioning that Seasonic was a partner of GSkill’s OC show.
Besides the record stage, there was also something pretentiously called the World Cup, featuring 6 overclockers (der8euter, Splave, ZeRO_Dan, Hero, Xtreme Adddict and 8Pack). The competition was won by Splave, followed by 8Pack and Xtreme Addict.
I think it took lots of skills from the guys to win this (it was held live during 5 days and you can imagine how stressful that is) and the prize for the first place is also impressive for the overclocking world (10000 USD), but if GSkill wants to be worthy of the name “OC World Cup” they should invest more, because 6 people do not make a world wide overclocking competition. Also, the 6 guys that competed there deserve our greetings and cheers, because they had to pay for their own flight and accommodation!
Video material from OverclockingTV
GIGABYTE didn’t host any competition at Computex, but they did a live WR at their press conference, and they also had a full crew of overclockers at Computex. You all know HiCookie and dinos22, and you all know that they are working for Gigabyte as overclockers for quite a while now. But maybe you didn’t know that DaCoSa and sofos1990 are also putting their experience in GIGABYTE’s service. Well, besides these 4 guys, GIGABYTE also invited Sin0822 and SniperOZ to represent their company at Computex.
The guys had a special overclocking corner in GIGABYTE’s suite in Taipei 101 where they overclocked daily, and they also participated in many of the Computex OC events on behalf of GIGABYTE.
Again, our friends from OverclockingTV were right on the spot, having a little chat with the best thing that came out of Australia after AC/DC, dinos22.
One of the companies that got involved with live overclocking recently is Galaxy, a motherboard and VGA manufacturer from China. The guys from Galaxy had a pretty large overclocking set-up in their booth, where their overclocking team (Mad Tse, OCWindforce, Little Boy) teamed up with Steven Yeong and overclocking legend Petri “SF3D” Korhonen to break the 4Way SLI Fire Strike Extreme World Record.
The guys from OverclockingTV had a chat with our friend Petri – just before he broke the 3DMark WR
Even if there was not as much hype around it, world records didn’t fell and there were no tens of thousand dollars prizes, there were other interesting booths that had a live liquid nitrogen demo at Computex this year. In the ASRock booth, Nick Shih had a nice LN2 show and also an interview with the guys from OCTV (which you can find on the bottom of this page).
MSI also had a line-up of overclockers at their stand, featuring Pt1t, Pepinorag and Lucky_noob. Last but not least, Zotac invited argentinian overclocker nacho_arroyo to have a live LN2 demo in their booth.
I saved the best for last – HWBot 10 year Anniversary OC Gathering – a nice event organized by HWBot. No contest, no prizes, no stress, just a lot of overclockers getting together, benching and having fun. Overclockers from all over the world gathered at the HWBot event and spent 3 days there in an atmosphere that truly celebrated overclocking!
Besides HWBot, the Overclocking TV crew was there and provided coverage (thank you Xyala for the dry t-shirt!), together with Hardware Asylum. The venue was also visited by guys from the industry (like Pasi and Niilo from Futuremark) and vendors. HWBot provided the LN2, the refreshments (thank you Adeline for the great sandwiches!), the keyboards, mice, power supplies and monitors, but…no beer. Fortunately a Seven Eleven was close by so I managed to save the situation quickly, but for the next time, this is a most sought for improvement.
Even if everybody was obviously tired after Computex and the tropical rain made it difficult to get there dry, there was still lots of joy and overclocking fun during the 3 days HWBot 10 year Anniversary OC Gatherring tooks place, and I can honestly say it was a success! Happy Birthday HWBot, way to go Pieter, and meet you guys in Europe next time for sure!
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!