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Event Report: GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship 2008

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MAC

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Event Report

GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship 2008






Introduction



On September 25th, Gigabyte hosted a who’s who of international overclockers for the first (hopefully annual) Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 in the heartland of computer hardware - Taipei, Taiwan. Hardware Canucks was one of a few fortunate media organizations to be invited to report on the event, and we are pleased to be able to bring you a chronicle of this unprecedented competition. If a picture is worth 1,000 words then this article is about 130,000 words long, and we hope that it gives you a one of a kind look at how the event unfolded.

Now just in case this is the first time that you have heard of the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 (GO OC 2008), which means that you missed the intense buzz over the event in every noteworthy enthusiast forum on the internet, and also missed the fast-paced live blogcast on the GO OC 2008 website, let’s do a quick background story.

The Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 is the final event in a series of worldwide overclocking competitions that were held all over the world. These 11 regional qualifying events began in Indonesia on June 14-15 2008, gathered steam in the U.S.A on June 28th, and finished up in Japan on September 5th. Now some countries were not able to host their own regional events, but in many cases the choice was obvious, Hipro5 for Greece, Harshal for India, Giorgioprimo for Italy, etc. In the end, competitors from 25 countries qualified for the final event, specifically Australia, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, U.S.A and Vietnam. Regrettably, as is often the case when organizing such a large event, some people could not attend the September 25th final, so the championship was deprived of Team Germany and Team Greece.


Nevertheless, despite drop-outs, visa issues, typhoon-related flight delays and more, we ended up with a very sizeable group of world-renowned overclockers, all eager and willing to put their skills on display. No matter if you were a competitor or a reporter, seeing this much talent in one place for the first time ever was quite exciting.

So who exactly was there? Well here is a list of the competitors for your convenience:


If you are a member of any enthusiast forum, such as XtremeSystems, or visit the hwbot.org website, then these usernames should already be familiar to you. There certainly were no undeserving competitors at this event, so we all expected some impressive achievements. Did they deliver? Keep reading!
 
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MAC

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Schedule/Guidelines

Schedule/Guidelines


Schedule

Although many of the competitors (and reporters) had only arrived in Taiwan the night prior, there was no rest for the weary as the breakfast/morning buffet started at 6:30A.M and the schedule for the day was packed:


8:00AM to 7:30PM is a grueling schedule, especially when one has to focus on tinkering and tweaking hardware and software settings, and it was definitely possible that mental exhaustion would come into play in the later hours of the day.

Guidelines

Competition I: Battle for the Best P45 OC

For the first part of the competition, Gigabyte provided the following hardware configuration:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Quad-Core Processor - Engineering Sample
  • Gigabyte EP45T-Extreme DDR3 Motherboard
  • Corsair CM3X1024-1800C7D Ver3.1 PC3-14400 1GB Module – Micron D9GTS ICs (x2)
  • Gigabyte GV-R487-1GH-B Radeon HD 4870 1GB Graphics Cards (x2)
  • Gigabyte GE-MK20A-D1 ODIN Pro 1200W Power Supply
  • Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB SATA2 HDD
  • ViewSonic VX1962wm 19" Widescreen LCD Monitor
  • Gigabyte GK-K8000 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Gigabyte GM-M6800 Gaming Mouse

Aside from the engineering sample processor, the rest of the configuration was comprised of components that you can easily find at your favourite online retailer. Windows XP SP2 was preloaded on the VelociRaptor, along with the Catalyst 8.8 (67975) graphics driver and all the necessary benchmarking programs and tweaking tools. For the full list of preloaded software, please visit the GOOC 2008 website.

The rules for this first competition were quite simple:
  1. Competitors were not permitted to use their own harware or software.
  2. Each component could be replaced only once.
  3. Competitors had to bring their own LN2 pots, soldering irons, hardware modification components, insulation material, multi-meters, digital thermometers, hair dryers, etc.
  4. Competitiors had to save their scores and screenshots on a Gigabyte-provided USB thumb drive, no others were allowed on-site.

  • Score Submission
Points were awarded based on the results of each benchmarking round. The Top 5 teams in each of the four benching rounds would be awarded points, except in 3DMark 2001 & 06 where only the Top 4 would receive points. The competitors had to do a printscreen, save the results on their USB thumb drive, and raise their hand to submit a score. Gigabyte judges would then verify and add the score to the live database. Naturally, the team with the highest point total at the end of the four rounds would be declared the winner. In case of a tie, the team with the highest 3DMark06 score would be the winner.



  • Prizes
In a competition of this caliber, competing for bragging rights would almost be enough, but Gigabyte sweetened the deal with some good old fashioned cash incentives:​

  • 1st Place: US$ 5,000 cash and the sponsor products (Total US$6,000 prize value)
  • 2st Place: US$ 2,000 cash and the sponsor products (Total US$3,000 prize value)
  • 3rd Place: US$ 1,000 cash and the sponsor products (Total US$2,000 prize value)

They even had bonus prizes:​

  • WR Prize: US$ 500 for anyone who broke a recent world record in any benchmark.
  • Event Prize: US$ 100 for anyone who broke the event target record in any benchmark.

Competition II: Freestyle Contest

The second half of the competition would be the Freestyle Contest, which would allow the competitors to show off their skills using a hardware configuration of their choosing.

However, there were a few basic requirements:

  • Competitors had to use an Intel CPU (any kind).
  • Competitors had to use a Gigabyte motherboard with an Intel chipset.
  • Competitors had to use an ATI-based graphics card(s).

The objective for the Freestyle Contest was easy, break as many world records in as many benchmark and individual hardware categories as possible in the alloted 2 hours. The qualifying benchmarking programs were 3DMark 2001/03/05/06/Vantage, PCMark 04/05/Vantage, Aquamark 3, SuperPI, wPrime, PiFast, and even CPU-Z validation. Effectively, anything that was recognized on hwbot.org could be used. The teams with the highest record breaking score in each respective category would be awarded 1 point. At the end of the Freestyle Contest, the team with the most points would be the winner. In the case of a tie, the team who broke a world record by the largest margin would be declared the winner.

  • Prize


  • 1st Place: US$ 3,000 cash


Simple enough? Well then let us move on to the actual Competition Day...
 
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MAC

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Competition Day

Competition Day

As mentioned above, the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 was held on September 25th, which was a particularly beautiful day in Taipei, Taiwan:



The exact location of the competition was the palacial Grand Hyatt Taipei hotel in the Xinyi District, which is located right next to the world's tallest completed skyscrapper, the soaring 509.2 m/1,670.60 ft Taipei 101.


Despite jet lag and 6:00AM wake-up calls, the competitors were in good spirits and on-time for the 7:30AM registration. This was actually the first time that everyone was in one spot together, since the prior night's Welcome Party had been slightly undermined by the numerous typhoon-related flight delays.


Here we see Deanzo from Team Australia signing the Great Wall of Overclockers, which I'm sure is now in a prime location at Gigabyte Headquarters...at least it should be! Also, we have a good picture of Ross & Maxi from Team USA 1 with dinos22 & Deanzo of the aforementioned Team Australia. Due to their unusual height many suspected the Aussie/Kiwi combo of using performance enhancing drugs...


The competitors had to pick a number out of a box to determine which table they would be assigned to, this eliminated any possibility that the hardware that was already placed on each work space had been handpicked for an individual team. Each team was also given their respective national flag and an accompanying sign.


Naturally, there were some strategically placed promotional banners for the new Ultra Durable 3 technology which was launched during this event, and which we will be reviewing shortly in the form of the EP45-UD3P. My initial impressions of this new model are positive, it has a promising layout, and I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces. At around 8:00AM the hall doors opened and the competitors were now allowed to go to their respective tables.


As the teams familiarized themselves with their new hardware, and unpacked their sizeable carrying cases, the media settled in on our side of the red velvet ropes. However, as you will see shortly, a 3-foot barrier couldn't stop me from bringing Hardware Canucks readers up-close & personal coverage.


Looking around the venue, GIGABYTE had a system up & running using the soon-to-be-released EP45-UD3P motherboard, which is part of the new Ultra Durable 3 series. There was also an interesting wall displaying the numerous innovations that the company has introduced to the motherboard market on the years, but the lighting conditions regrettably caused havok on any attempt for up-close photography.


However, before joining the competitors, something shiney caught my eye. These little beauties are what the teams were competing for...along with pride, bragging rights, and ridiculously oversized checks.
 
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MAC

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Preparation Work

Preparation Work


At their individual work tables the teams where greeted with the following hardware setup:


The previously mentioned keyboard, LCD monitor, motherboard, mouse (slightly covered on the right of the KB), and power supply were ready for unwrapping. The Corsair DDR3 modules, Western Digital VelociRaptor HDD, and Gigabyte Radeon HD 4870’s were handed out a little later. Of course, the centerpiece of the whole competition was the Gigabyte EP45T-EXTREME motherboard (you can read our tough but fair review here), which all of the competitors were already very familiar with.


Since this was a hardcore overclocking competition and Murphy’s Law always rears its ugly head, Gigabyte came prepared with a lot of replacement components, dutifully guarded by their watchful staff. As we mentioned prior, under the rules each team was permitted to swap each component once. The processors had writing on them because they were all pre-tested by Gigabyte in-house overclocker Hicookie to ensure that no one received a subpar chip, and based on my observations they were all capable of 5.1Ghz and above under liquid nitrogen (LN2) and ideal conditions.


Team USA 2 (FUGGER & Vapor) came well-prepared with the LN2 overclockers most vital and most used asset, high-quality paper towels. At the table of Team USA 1 (Ross & Maxi), we see Ross inspecting his QX9650 E.S quad-core processor, which was labeled Q23 and proved to be a very good overclocker (5.55-5.625Ghz).


Here we see that Team Sweden 1 (Ekberg & Mean Machine) have received all of their hardware and should be ready to begin setting up. Right nearby, Team Australia (Deanzo & dinos22) have removed the EP45T-Extreme’s elaborate copper cooling system and are ready to prep the motherboard for the rigors of LN2 cooling.


Giorgioprimo from Team Italy (giorgioprimo & Dimas) definitely did his homework, and he had a great illustrated handbook with all the possible modifications to the available motherboard and graphics cards. In the mean time, Tat from Team Hong Kong (Tat & Lok) was busy taping up one of his Radeon HD 4870’s.


Team South Africa (Flytek & TraX) had their system up & running pretty quickly, and here Flytek is checking the resistance on one of his HD 4870’s prior to starting the voltage modifications. Vapor is doing likewise, and notice the ingenuity of having the schematics on his iPhone (that in itself is worthy of the Hardware Canucks Damn Innovative Award).


When dealing with LN2 cooling moisture and condensation are always the primary concern, and while insulation foam and paper towels were omnipresent, and it was interesting to see the different materials and methods the teams used. For example, Team Turkey (Tosunermc & hey) used kneaded eraser/putty rubber, which was just recently introduced to the overclocking community, and is not only easy to work with but comes off cleanly. Dinos22 sealed most critical areas with a thick application of nail polish (…while also occasionally applying some coats to himself, haha). On the other side of the hall, FUGGER took a more conventional approach and simply used a whole lot of Vaseline petroleum jelly everywhere. Staying true to their 'Team Ghetto' slogan, the South Africans made due with run-of-the-mill duct tape.


In the mean time, Ekberg & Mean Machine were finishing the foam isolation on their impressive GPU pots, while Tat was putting the finishing touches on one of the graphics cards. Both of these teams definitely had the largest GPU pots in the whole competition.


Here Ross from Team USA 1 is preparing the wiring to do a voltage droop modification on the motherboard. The EP45T-Extreme actually has a relatively stable vCore line, and is great for mainstream overclocking, but a 5-6Ghz quad-core processor needs rock solid power delivery. Where as most teams had disassembled all the stock hardware and were in the process of modifications, Team Vietnam (Recoba & Tsondt) took a more laid-back approach, thoroughly testing their hardware in stock configuration before getting down & dirty. Will this be a Tortoise and the Hare situation? We’ll find out…


Within the first hour, the liquid nitrogen started flowing. They had 12 large tanks and a great crew always busy filling up thermoses.


Roughly 2 hours into the setup and testing stage, Team USA 1 and Team Australia were still in the early assembly process, but there definitely wasn’t any stress coming from these veteran teams…yet. It was interesting to see that while most teams chose extreme cooling for the northbridge, Team USA 2 used a simple Corsair Nautilus 500 self-contained water cooling kit in conjunction with the EP45T-EXTREME's stock hybrid water block. Would it hold them back? We shall see.


With 55 minutes left before the official start of the competition, Team USA 2 was ready to go and so was Team South Africa…or so we thought, then they whipped out their secret weapon, a huge empty Dry Ice box. In brief, by running their system in a sealed box they are able to avoid most of the condensation issues that are caused by sub-zero cooling.


At the T - 10 minute mark, Team Australia had a bootable system (a rare sight as you will find out), but they still had not done any LN2 testing due to a number of motherboard-related issues.




Less than 6 minutes before the start of start of Round 1: Everest Bandwidth, the competition is about to begin. Even the judges are fired up and ready to go.
 
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MAC

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Competition I: Battle for the Best P45 OC

Competition I: Battle for the Best P45 OC

  • Round 1: Everest (Bandwidth)

The first round consisted of memory bandwidth benchmarking with the immensely popular Lavalys Everest program. Teams were given 25 minutes to post the highest possible result, and given the handpicked Corsair DDR3 modules (Micron D9GTS ICs) , we were all expecting some impressive numbers.



Colin Brix (Technical Marketing Manager) and Daphnee Kao, the two incredibly energetic hosts for the event, announced the official start of the competition, 25 minutes and counting...


Team Taiwan was one of the first to upload a result, although it was a pretty weak 9,146MB/s. They quickly and consistently improved up to 9,480...10,800...10,421 but they peaked at 10,500 and were inactive for the last 10 minutes, having apparently experienced some 'technical difficulties'.



Here we see Lok from Team Hong Kong, which totally dominated Round 1. Not only did they annihilate everyone right off the bat with a comparatively huge 11,220MB/s, but they posted a new higher score almost every 3-4 minutes. For the curious among you, their processor was running at 5.8Ghz(!) while their DDR3 modules were set to an impressive DDR3-2050 7-7-7 at around 2.1V. Because of these high system clocks, they were definite front-runners for Round 2: SuperPI 1M.


Both Swedish teams had some pretty serious difficulties during the Everest round. In fact, it took over 20 minutes before either team posted a result. This was partly due to the fact that Team Sweden 2 (Elmor & SF3D) actually swapped out their processor, and only had their system back up 2-3 minutes before the end of Round 1. However, as you will see in Round 2, their replacement chip was a gem.




Having reclaimed the top spot from the impressive Team Turkey, Lok could sit back and wait for the seconds to run down.

Here are the end results for Round 1:


Here is the full list of uploaded Everest results:
Click for full size…



  • Round 2: SuperPI 1M

Round 2 was focused on SuperPI 1M, which is easily the most popular and competitive benchmark in the enthusiast realm. Latency and memory speeds are important in SuperPI, but processing power is King, so whoever could clock their Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 the highest had a good chance of winning.


Early in Round 2, Team Russia (DeDal & Neoforce) posted two strong results (8.329 & 8.281) in quick succession, and it looked like they had the momentum to win the round. On the completely other end of the 'Success Scale', Team Australia was still encountering severe issues with their system: erratic motherboard behaviour, USB issues (hence the ghetto beige PS/2 keyboard), and they even managed to completely corrupt the Windows installation. To add insult to injury, their processor/motherboard combo could occassionally boot into the bios at 5.2Ghz, but would often barely post at 4.9Ghz. Therefore, they wisely chose to get a new QX9650 and EP45T-Extreme.


With Pt1t from Team France (Boblemagnifique & Pt1t) behind the desk (or anywhere else for that matter) anything is possible, and the Belgian/French duo managed to surpass Team Russia with 18 minutes left in the round.


Sometime in the middle of Round 2, Team USA 1 (Ross & Maxi) finally had a working system, and even uploaded a few competitive results (8.360-8.375). The reason they missed all of the first round and much of the second was due to an issue that affected many teams. Naturally, everyone removed the stock Radeon HD 4870 cooler to install their own LN2 pots, and obviously unplugged the fan(s) as well. Well apparently, the ATI drivers or Catalyst Control Center (CCC) or VGA BIOS was detecting the lack of fan RPM and rebooting the system. None (or few) of the competitors had previously experienced this issue with Radeon HD 4870's, so it is perfectly understandable that it took so long to narrow down the source of the problem. By the way, you may notice that their table still looked suprisingly clean...a little too clean...well that's because they wisely invaded a neighbouring table.


Team Italy was suffering many of the same problems as Team Australia (they were neighbours ironically enough), and they were only able to post one uncompetitive result (9.062), which was still better than none in Round 1.

With 6 minutes left, Team Singapore (NightRaven & T_M) managed to tie Team France's 8.266 mark. Did the rules even allow for a tie in an individual round? Or would it even matter?


Well it didn't matter, because 15 seconds after Singapore's tying result, Indonesia surpassed everyone with 8.250 seconds. Their secret? The prerequisite Red Bull and delicious finger foods.


However, less than two minutes after Indonesia's success, Team Sweden 2 took the lead with 8.172 seconds and held it to the end. The new processor they received at the end of Round 1 could hit a massive 5.75Ghz at ~2.05V in SuperPI, so they really did not even have to bother with specific software tweaks. Both Russia and Singapore battled to the end for second and third place, and finished with 8.188 and 8.187, respectively.

In the end, Round 2 finished like this:



Here is the full list of uploaded SuperPI results:
Click for full size…
 
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MAC

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Competition I: Battle for the Best P45 OC Cont.

Competition I: Battle for the Best P45 OC Continued


  • Round 3: 3DMark 2001

In Round 3, teams had to compete in 3DMark 2001. Although this is a relatively ancient DirectX 8 benchmark that was first released in 2001, it remains an enthusiast favourite since it is the most CPU dependent of all the 3DMark programs.


3D benchmarking greatly increases the number of variables that competitors must take into consideration, and considering how many issues certain teams had already experienced, this was clearly a 'Make it or Break it' round.


Team USA 2 (FUGGER & Vapor) had their cooling down to a frosty art, and their system clocks were very respectable as well. Their CPU was in the 5.3Ghz range, with DDR3-2000+ 7-7-7 memory speeds, and both the HD 4870's were running at 1010Mhz (GPU)/999Mhz (MEM). However, even by the 55th minute, their results were still only middle of the pack, and they weren't even close to Team Russia's early and extremely impressive 101,639 3DMarks. The simple reason for Team USA's shortcoming is the fact that the other teams had better processors running 200-350Mhz faster, and in a benchmark like 3DMark 2001 there is almost no way to overcome such a processing deficit.


Team Sweden 2 was almost guaranteed to be a front-runner in this round due to their previously mentioned gem of a processor, which did 5.65Ghz at around 2.00-2.05V in 3DMark 2001. However, their motherboard would occassionally shut down when not under load, for example in between game tests. This greatly limited the amount of times they could run the benchmark suite, but they still briefly led the round with 101,880. It should also be noted that Team Sweden 2's graphics cards were not volt-modded, but still achieved a respectable 900Mhz/1090Mhz.

The last 10 minutes of Round 3 were some of the most exciting part of the whole competition, since there were 3 lead changes during that short period of time. Regrettably, only two of the three scores officially counted as Team China 1's impressive result was disqualified due to a lack of screenshot.


Since this was the first round were the graphics cards actually came into play, it was great to finally see the competitors utilize all of their LN2 pots. It was also great to see that Team USA 1 finally had their system running flawlessly. With their Radeon HD 4870's running at 950Mhz/1000Mhz, and a processor that was capable of an easy 5.55-5.59Ghz (13 x 425-430Mhz), they were able to grab the top spot in the dying minutes of the round.

Round 3 finalists:

Here is the full list of uploaded SuperPI results:
Click for full size…


  • Round 4: 3DMark06

Round 4 was 80 minutes long and dedicated to 3DMark06, the de facto DirectX 9 3D benchmarking suite. This 3DMark is more GPU-dependent than the 2001 edition, and those with high VGA clocks would have a certain advantage.


As you can see, Gigabyte Staff felt so bad for Team Australia that they put them as the leading team at the beginning of each round, just so that they could have a few seconds in the spotlight before the other competitors actually had a chance to upload any scores....The very first team to post a result was Team USA 2 (FUGGER & Vapor), and while it did not remain the top score for more than a few seconds, they were certainly were not sitting on their hands.


Team France was fairly quiet for most of this round, but they eventually posted their singular 3DMark06 score, an impressive 28,481 that would eventually secure them the third place. In the background you can someone typing on a beige keyboard, which can only mean that Team Australia was still having problems. The replacement processor they received in Round 2 showed some promise, but the new motherboard was extremely weak. It would not operate above 340Mhz FSB (compared to 450-475Mhz+ for everyone else), and this limited their CPU clocks to a paltry 5.1Ghz. After spending all of Round 3 trying to diagnose this low front side bus problem, they decided to nevertheless run 3DMark06 and managed to score a respectable 27,457.

Since this was the last round every team was really pushing their system to the limits and above, and quite a few graphics cards bit the dust. If you don’t break anything you aren’t trying hard enough was the often repeated theme of the day.

Regrettably, mid-way into this round I had a personal presentation on Ultra Durable 3 to attend, so I missed the remainder of the action, but let’s see who the finalists where:


Here is the full list of 3DMark06 results:
Click for full size…

  • Award Ceremony

After 4 rounds and 4 hours of action, the Battle for the Best P45 OC competition was over. Following some quick math the points total for each team was calculated and the winners revealed:


Although Team USA 1 and Team Russia were tied with 10 points each, the rules stated that in the case of a tie the team with the highest 3DMark06 score would be determined the winner. The score difference was minimal, but Team Russia's 27,945 surpassed Team USA 1's 27,847 and they were awarded second place. Needless to say, they were ecstatic!


Here we see the victorious Team Sweden 2, along with Hicookie and Tony Liao, the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the North American market. Having placed first or second in three of the four rounds, Elmor and SF3D put in a dominant performance and this was reflected in their 26 point total. However, although it may sound cliché, all three teams were all winners when you consider the huge pool of talent that was present for this fantastic event.


Team Sweden 2's trophy received a cool −196°C/−321°F shower, while Team USA 1's trophy was proudly displayed on their table for the rest of the event. Team Russia were too busy celebrating to put down their throphy.
 
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MAC

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Competition II: Freestyle Contest

Competition II: Freestyle Contest

Following the Battle for the Best P45 OC competition it was time for the 4-hour Freestyle Contest, and during the 30 minute set-up period most teams had disassembled their previous systems.


As a result, there was about $30,000-50,000 worth of high-end hardware laying around everywhere, including the floor, which made walking around interesting for those of us looking through a camera lens.


Team France took a low-end approach to the Freestyle event by bringing a Gigabyte HD 2400XT graphics card. This was a perfectly legitimate approach as the rules stated that competitors could aim to break individual hardware records, as long as the hardware was not too old. On the other hand, Team Australia aimed high by bringing two Radeon HD 4870 X2's. Aside from the power supply, all the other hardware they used in the Freestyle contest had been brought by them; Core 2 Duo E8600, Corsair Dominator PC3-14400 DDR3 modules, dual HD 4870 X2's, and Deanzo's prized EP45T-EXTREME motherboard, which was benchable up to the mid-600Mhz FSB mark. All the elements were there for some impressive results.


Team Vietnam broke the first world record, a CPU-Z validation shot of their E6550 at 4713Mhz. A few minutes later they posted the highest SuperPI 1M result with an E6550, and then set a wPrime 32M record with their E6550. Three new world records in the span of 10 minutes, this was starting out very well indeed.


By this point there was a small crowd gathered around the table of Team USA 2 (FUGGER & Vapor). They had brought a Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and Core 2 Duo E8600, as well as a stock Radeon HD 4870 X2. All very high-end components, but their secret weapons could be seen on the right hand corner of their table...


...Early samples of the now commercially available Intel X25-M 80GB SATA-II solid state drive. If you have read any reviews of this 'mainstream' product, Intel will be releasing enthusiast models as well, then you know that they are currently the fastest SSDs on the market. With a QX9770 running at 5.0-5.2Ghz and two blazing SSDs in RAID-0 it was obvious that they would succeed at setting new records in the various PCMark benchmarking suites. And they did, effectively doubling the previous PCMark04 record achieved with a QX9770.


The new record was so high (and so obscure) that Hicookie himself had to verify it on the hwbot and Futuremark websites. However, it was good, and then they set their sights on PCMark Vantage...where they set another QX9770 world record within 12 minutes. Later on they swapped the QX9770 for an E8600, and they set an overall PCMark04 world record and an E8600 PCMark Vantage record.


Here we see the combat-ready Zolkorn from Team Thailand running SuperPI. His team was regrettably out of commission for much of the event, first due to the No Fan = Reboot issue, then Windows corruption, and finally general instability. The South African team also had a wide variety of hardware and software issues, and they were unable to even attempt to break the HD 4850 records they were eyeing.


Team Sweden 2 had focused 100% of their energy on the Battle for the Best P45 OC, so they did not bring their own hardware, and instead tried to make due with the initial configuration. However, since their motherboard still had an issue were it shut down when not under load, there was not much they could do except loop SuperPI 32M. Team Australia once again experienced disaster, effectively killing Deanzo's motherboard. As a result, Dinos22 brought one of his HD 4870 X2's over to Team Singapore (NightRaven & T_M) to help them diagnose their own motherboard issues.


With 15 minutes left, many teams were still trying to break records, but the less fortunate teams had started the disassembly process. Here we see Team South Africa's huge CPU pot, which froze everything around it. And lastly we have one of the few P45 Express northbridges that survived, coated in Vaseline but still functional.


Team Vietnam was not even close to being done though, setting their sights on the Core 2 Duo E8200 SuperPI 1M world record which they eventually broke.
 
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Competition II: Freestyle Contest Cont.

Competition II: Freestyle Contest Continued


For the Freestyle contest, Team USA 1 used an E8600 operating at 6.1Ghz at 1.95V, along with two HD 4870's running at an impressive 1050Mhz/1200Mhz. Their processor had a -110C coldbug, so they were often one bad pour away from a time-wasting system lock/reboot, but it was cool to watch, no pun intended. They spent the entire contest running 3DMark 2001, and in the dying minutes actually achieved a pretty remarkable ~114,000 score. Regrettably, while opening the very last verification program for a submission screenshot the system rebooted. They valiantly attempted another run, but the time ran out half-way through one of the game tests.

Obviously, you are all wondering how many world records were in fact broken during the Freestyle contest, and the answer is quite a few! Here is the full list of new world records:


  • Award Ceremony


Daphnee, Colin, Tony and Hicookie were on hand to announce the winners of the Freestyle contest. Although there was a tie between Team USA 2 and Team Vietnam, an impressive 5 World Records each, the rules stated the team who broke a world record by the largest margin would be declared the winner. Due to their dominant PCMark performance, Team USA 2 were reigned victorious.


Here we see one of the many perks of victory, and it appears that FUGGER has spotted someone a) drinking LN2 or b) pouring it on someone else's head. Overall, the North American contingent walked away with a healthy share of the overall prizes (even I won a prize).


What happens when you have unlimited liquid nitrogen, a room full of overclockers, and and no more hardware to overclock? Fun! Here we see Pt1t taking a refreshing LN2 bath, and then as the smoke cleared the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 was all over.
 
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MAC

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Conclusion

Conclusion


A handful of years ago, if you had made a prediction that a large computer hardware manufacturer would organize and sponsor a worldwide overclocking competition that would culminate with a championship in the heartland of computer hardware, chances are that most people would have laughed and called you a dreamer.

However, that is precisely what GIGABYTE has flawlessly accomplished with the GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship 2008 and the accompanying worldwide qualifying events. Not only was this the first event of such worldwide magnitude, but every overclocker that I had the pleasure to talk to stated that this was the best overclocking event that they had ever attended, period.

Eleven world records were broken during GO OC 2008 and that is testament to both GIGABYTE and the amazing overclockers that achieved those results. Due to the people, the hardware, the meticulous organization and planning, and the truly awesome venue, this is an event that should not and will not soon be forgotten.

By launching the Extreme Series product line and hosting this event, Gigabyte has really pushed itself to the forefront of the overclocking scene, which is remarkable for a company for that has really only been considered overclocking-friendly since 2006 with the release of the 965P-DS3/DS4/DQ6 motherboards. But most importantly, it is their level of enthusiast community involvement that is absolutely unparalleled among every computer hardware manufacturer. By providing motherboard samples to world-class overclockers and hosting overclocking events Gigabyte is receiving priceless feedback that not only helps them fix issues and make better products, but is also helping to bring overclocking out of the darkness and into the spotlight that it deserves.

Everyone that attended deeply hopes that GO OC becomes an annual event, and we will be among the very first sources to tell you if and when it does.

Special thanks go out to Rita, Liliana, Tony, and Angela for choosing Hardware Canucks as one of only two North American media organizations to cover the event.

Specials thanks also go out to Deanzo & Dinos22, Ross & Maxi, SETH & TraX, Elmor & SF3D, FUGGER & Vapor, Josh, TAT, Zolkorn for helping with this article, and everyone else that I had the pleasure of meeting in Taipei.

 
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