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Event Report: GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship 2010

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MAC

Associate Review Editor
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Event Report: GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship 2010 Worldwide Final



It's that time of year again, Hardware Canucks is proud to bring you the only North American coverage of the third annual and always entertaining GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship, 2010 Edition.

During numerous local competitions and five regional finals, the latest of which was the North American final on August 7th, overclockers from 33 countries around the world competed to earn a spot at the GIGABYTE Open Overclocking 2010 Worldwide Final event on September 25th. Once the dust settled, 15 competitors distinguished themselves from the rest and were deemed worthy of an official invite to Taiwan and an opportunity to walk away as this year's GO OC world champion. Bragging rights aside, the competitors had an chance to enrich themselves to the tune of almost $8000 USD if they came in first, so there was certainly no lack of motivation to give it their all.

Let's take a look at who the lucky contestants are:

<p style="text-align: justify;"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/mac/articles/gooc2010/2.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 0 0 4px 15px; clear: both;"> As you can see, to the delight of everyone most of those who made it to this year's final event were first timers, which just goes to show how difficult it is to consistently perform at a high level during live oveclocking events. Despite being novices at this event, chances are that you've seen everyone of these highly respected users before, either on overclocking forums, hwbot or even the ORB.

Massman, Sno.lcn, and ZoLKoRn are 'veterans' at this event, but as you will see in the coming pages, when the stars are aligned against you all the experience in the world doesn't help.

Once again, we had no Canadian representative at this year's event, but given the fact that our whole country's hopes and dreams rest on the shoulders of one, albeit capable, person (3oh6) that shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise.


As mentioned above, the event took place once again in Taipei, Taiwan. However, instead of the now familiar Taipei 101 building, GIGABYTE selected a terrific venue located in the Hua-Shan Creative Park.





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At approximately 9 AM on September 25th, competitors and media alike made their way to the location, and the presentation was downright awesome. GIGABYTE had lined the walk way to the competition hall with the flag of each competitor's home country.




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As soon as anyone walked into the GO OC coliseum they were greeted by the 'Time Tunnel of GO OC 2010', which highlighted all the events that led up to this final competition. This is also where the competitors registered and pulled a number out of a box in order to determine their seating location.




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As usual, upon registration, each overclocker had to sign the photo wall under their respective likeness. I would really like to see where each event's wall ends up.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Schedule / Guidelines

Schedule / Guidelines

Schedule

At this year's event, most of the competitors arrived to the hotel the day before the competition. However, quite a few had remained in Taiwan since the MSI's Master Overclock Arena 2010 on September 11th. Previously, jet lag had always been a concern at these type's of events, but since competitors always seem to have the energy to party the night before the competition, fatigue is evidently a non-issue.


As you can see, the competitors were only 'officially' given 1 hour of preparation and setup time, but it was really more like 2 hours since they worked through the opening ceremony and speeches. This was more than enough time for everyone since this year's competition has no 3D benchmarks, and thus there was no need to prep and modify graphics cards which is always a time intensive process. The amount of time allocated to actual benchmarking was 450 minutes, with added time tacked on at the end if needed. Thankfully, there were no power loss issues at this event, so there was no need for a time extension.

Guidelines

For this worldwide final event, Gigabyte provided the following hardware configuration:


For this event, Intel was kind enough to send over 80 chips, which Hicookie binned to ensure that everyone would be on a level playing field, or as near as possible. The 15 best samples were randomly handed out to the competitors, all of which were capable of at least a 6.5Ghz CPU-Z validation.

Aside from the engineering sample processors, the rest of the components were products that you can easily find at your favorite online retailer. The operating system was preloaded on the 'hybrid' HDD, along with the latest NVIDIA Forceware graphics driver and all the necessary benchmarking programs and tweaking tools. Here is the full list of preloaded software:


Since there was no 3D element to this competition, GIGABYTE wisely chose XP SP3 as the operating system, since it is a fair bit faster than Vista or Win 7 in most 2D benchmarking apps. Much like the North American event, the worldwide final used the newer X58A-UD7 revision 2.0 motherboard. GIGABYTE made a custom GOOC 2010 WWF bios for this event, so the competitors didn't have to do any hardware modifications to the motherboards. Click here to check out what modifications were made to this bios.

The rules for this competition were quite simple:
  1. Competitors were not permitted to use their own hardware or software.
  2. GIGABYTE would provide one hardware replacement for each component.
  3. Competitors had to bring their own LN2 pots, soldering irons, hardware modification components, insulation material, multi-meters, digital thermometers, hair dryers, etc.
  4. Competitors had to save their scores and screenshots on a Gigabyte-provided USB thumb drive, no others were allowed on-site.
  5. Competitors were not allowed to use mobile phones or netbooks/notebooks.
  6. Competitors were not allowed to ask any tips from the public or media.
Most importantly though, there was a judge present for every competitor in order to eliminate any opportunities for cheating or simple honest mistakes. The judging roster was composed of Gigabyte employees (Hicookie, Janus Yeh, Rockson, etc) but also renowned overclockers like Benny Lodewijk, Deanzo, Dinos22, and T_M.

<u>
  • Score Submission
</u>Points were awarded based on the results of each benchmarking round. The Top 7 places in each of the benching rounds would be awarded points. The competitors had to do a printscreen, save the results on their USB flash drive, raise their hand, and then the judges would record their result. The actual USB flash drives would only be collected once every hour. Naturally, the person with the highest point total at the end of the two rounds would be declared the winner. In case of a tie, the competitor with the highest PiFast result would be declared the winner.



<u>
  • Prizes
</u>
Since this was the worldwide final, there were some healthy cash prizes for the Top 3 competitors, and they also walked away with some great components.
  • 1st Place: US$ 5,000 cash and more than US$ 2,800 of sponsor products.
  • 2nd Place: US$ 2,000 cash and more than US$ 1,700 of sponsor products.
  • 3rd Place: US$ 1,000 cash and more than US$ 1,600 of sponsor products.


Simple enough? Now on to the competition.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,087
Location
Montreal
Competition Hall

Competition Hall



Each competitor was led into the huge competition hall by a lovely GIGABYTE model, and led to their respective work tables.




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As you can see, the competition area made up just a small portion of the actual building. Within the competition area, there were four different areas each containing 4 work tables. The idea was to allow the public to walk between the four seperate areas without bothering or bumping into the overclockers.

All the hardware was already setup on the work tables when the competitors walked in, except for the CPUs which were handed out based on whatever number was picked from the previous raffle box.





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Fresh, new hardware ready to be <i>abused</i>.




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Competitors unboxing hardware and unpacking their overclocking necessities.



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As always, GIGABYTE stepped up to the plate with more than enough liquid nitrogen (LN2) and thermoses to serve twice as many overclockers as were present.
 

MAC

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Preparation & Setup

Preparation & Setup



The preparation & setup phase was scheduled for 2 hours, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.



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Our MC's for the day were Winnie & Alex.




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Here we see Nacho_arroyo and Perica_barii immediately getting their motherboards prepped with some eraser insulation. e-Killer took the precaution of actually testing out the components first, before starting to manual prep work.



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Erdemolkun also chose the ubiquitous eraser method to insulate his motherboard. He brougth with him a very large benching station.



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Jengkol also decided to test out his components before starting any modifications. He had a cool motherboard stand made from a blank motherboard PCB.



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Shahryar_NEO just slathered the back (and front!) of the motherboard with petroleum jelly.



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Here we have a slightly blurry Speedtime.wing installing a battle-worn Kingpin Dragon F1 EE pot and the A-DATA RAM in order to do an initial boot-up.



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Slamms threw his system together quickly and started to see the kind of timings the Elpida Hyper-based memory was capable of.



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After removing the northbridge cooler, Sno.lcn began applying conformal coating to all the sensitive parts of the motherboard.



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Here we see e-Killer brushing some petroleum jelly into the memory slots.



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ZoLKoRn was another competitor to go the eraser route for insulation purposes.



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In these shots, we see both Hero.ou and Speedtime.wing applying tape to the back of their motherboard's.



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Massman chose to use a bunch of super-absorbent towel as the basis for his overall insulation. He brought the new SF3D OC Inflection Point pot with him to this competition, but I didn't get a good shot of it.
 
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MAC

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Preparation & Setup Continued

Preparation & Setup Continued





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While Jengkol applied a sealant on the Intel X58 chipset's substrate, I got a chance to take a better picture of his neat motherboard stand.



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Here we see Sno.lcn continuing to apply conformal coating to the back of the motherboard. Doing it with a tiny little brush takes quite a bit longer than using it in spray form, but at least it doesn't suffocate everyone in the room.



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Here we have Perica_barii taping the last bit of foam in place, moments before mounting his LN2 pot.



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Here we see e-Killer's pushing the mounting rods for his CPU pot through the motherboard



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After completing the coating phase, Sno.lcn began applying kneaded rubber to his motherboard. Sno.lcn was the only competitor to use Kingpin's brand new F1 Gemini pot, which has a removal base. It is a sleek piece of metal work.



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Here we have ZoLKoRn finishing up his setup and his first boot-up.



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Once he successfully booted up and ran a few tests, Speedtime.wing whipped out his trusty old rag and finished his insulation job.



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Stephenyeong from Hong Kong was one of the very first to start running his rig under LN2.



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Hero.ou really took his time with his insulating and pot installation, very meticulous.




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Massman began to systematically test his memory modules, and it was evident immediately that this was not the high bin Elpida Hyper ICs that many were expecting. Most kits did not seem to be able to run at <i>really</i> tight timings, at least not a high memory frequencies. Having said that, Matose did end up with a very good kit as you can see from in the Score Repertoire section.

In the bottom right screenshot, you can see the three options that were added to the exclusive GOOC 2010 WWF bios. Most critically, the bios minimized some cold bug issues and allowed users to disable the over-current protection (OCP), thus eliminating the need to modify the motherboard.




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Here we have Mikeguava's mineral oil submerged system, more on this later.



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This is a better look at Erdemolkun's test bench all setup. It's quite handy, but it looks to be a pain to travel with.



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Since his insulation covered up the motherboard's power and reset buttons, e-Killer needed to short out the proper pins on the front panel in order to reboot his system.
 

MAC

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Joined
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Location
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Opening Ceremony & Group Shot

Opening Ceremony & Group Shot





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At roughly 11:00AM, hosts Winnie and Alex began the opening ceremony for the event.



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First and foremost, there was an impressively loud traditional drum act...



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...followed by a very acrobatic two-man Dragon costume show.



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This was followed by a long speech in Mandarin by Dandy Yeh, President of Gigabyte Technology.



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Here we have a great group shot of all the competitors and some executives from the various sponsors.



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All the executives hit the gong at the stroke of 12:00PM, which was accompanied by pyrotechnics and air guns, and Alex declared the overclocking championship open.



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Competitors would now have 4 hours and 50 minutes to bench.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Competition

Competition





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While still getting a feel for his setup, Matose ran the venerable SuperPI 32M benchmark.



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Here we have Mikeguava warming up the CPU pot of his mineral oil submerged system.



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Slamms was almost done putting his system together...



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...as was Sno.lcn who just tidying up some cables.



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Jengkol managed one of the very official BSODs of the competition, one of hundreds to come.




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First on the scoreboard was Perica_barii, with a mild wPrime result. Being first on the board is just a psychological victory that many enjoy. His result was quickly (17 seconds later) overtaken by e-Killer.




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Here we see Speedtime.wing's setup, which included a funky fan configuration and a custom-made little tupperware box outfitted with monitoring hardware. Note the power cable attached to the box, this is no toy.




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35 minutes into the competition, there were only 6 competitors on the scoreboard. This really surprised me. Perhaps a longer preparation & setup time was needed.



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The official LN2 thermos fillers were doing a great job, running two tanks at once, keeping everyone well stocked.




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While Sno.lcn's system suffered from a mediocre -82C cold boot bug, he still had a pretty strong chip to play with.



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With one hour down, there were now 10 competitors on the scoreboard. Matose led the way in a very impressive manner, having published scores in all four categories and holding two class-leading results.



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While Massman had a very good chip as well (I believe the best one according to Hicookie's test), stability was an issue.



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About 90 minutes into the competition, Stephenyeong started to catch up to Matose in a big way, snagging two of his own benchmarking-leading results.

It was during this time that MC Alex highlighted ZoLKoRn's voodoo puppet and warned all the competitors to watch out!




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Shahryar_NEO's system was by far the frostiest and just consistently a source for great pictures. He was also the only competitor to use a RAMpot during the competition.



Mikeguava and Matose - Double pouring action shot!



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Because of the high humidity, nearly everyone's pot started to develop heavy ice buildup, which negatively affects cooling performance. Therefore, the heating apparatus' were out in full force.



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92 minutes into the competition, everyone but Nacho_arroya had a result up on the scoreboard. Matose and Stephenyeong were still first and second, but now the benchmark crowns were held by four competitors.



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GIGABYTE's dancing girls - Keeping the cameramen busy.




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With 119 minutes down, Matose and Stephenyeong were still first and second, respectively, but Speedtime.wing had now moved into third. While Stephen and Speedtime would swap spots countless times during the remaining time, this is actually representative of the final standings.



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Sno.lcn's good luck puppet, which he needed since his #5 spot was under heavy attack.




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GIGABYTE had some prizes for the public in attendance that had subscribed to the event's (I think...) facebook page.



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Nothing to say, these shots just look cool.



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This screenshot was taken with 2 hours and 3 minutes to go in the competition, as you can see Matose still had the lead, with Speedtime.wing in second, and Stephenyeong in third. Stephen wouldn't stay in third for very long though.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Competition Continued

Competition Continued





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With a little under 2 hours left in the competition, lots of the competitors started turning their attention towards MaxxMEM, arguably the trickiest benchmark of the four. It is easy to get a solid result, but hard to get an outstanding one.




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Here we see Sno.lcn disassembling his system. He hadn't killed any hardware, but since his benching session was going poorly, he decided to take off the pot, warm up the board and CPU a bit, and try again with a new mount.



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More GIGABYTE dancing girls.



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Perica_barii was in last place, but here he is transferring some files to the A-DATA USB 3.0 flash drive, hoping to improve his standings.



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Matose still had a firm grip on #1 spot that he had now held for over 2.5 hours.



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After a slow start, Nacho_arroyo now had results posted in all four benchmarks.



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With 90 minutes left, Slamms was positioned in 5th place, looking like a possible contender.



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Jengkol surged into the third spot with 70 minutes to go.



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Here we have Speedtime.wing achieving a new personal best SuperPI 32M time, this would push him back into 3rd.




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This was Mikeguava's wet and messy work bench, soaked in mineral oil. Even the power supply was drenched in the stuff. While this insulation approach does in fact work, this time around his system had a variety of stability issues.



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Hero.ou working up a sweat, trying to climb up from 11th.




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With his system back together, Sno.lcn had the opportunity to do some damage with his good CPU, but not much time left.



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Here we see Massman noticing that he is slowly sliding down the rankings. His unstable system was rebooting more than it was benchmarking, and the motherboard was just no longer able to overclock the CPU like it had at the beginning of the competition.



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More GIGABYTE dancing girls.



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With 41 minutes left, Matose was still in the lead, calm as ever. Stephenyeong and Speedtime.wing had reclaimed their respective 2nd and 3rd places.




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16 minutes later, nothing has changed at the top of the scoreboard, but Stephenyeong is starting to be the focus of attention since all he needs is a good MaxxMEM result to potentially take the lead.



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ZoLKoRn achieves a new personal best SuperPI 32M result, but remains in 11th place.




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Winnie, Hicookie, and Alex comment that time is starting to run out, and that at the 10 minute mark the scoreboard would be removed in order to keep the winner a mystery.




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Less than 10 minutes left, scoreboard has now been removed. There is a large group surrounding Stephenyeong, everyone is waiting for him to post a competitive MaxxMEM result...or any MaxxMEM result!



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#1 and #2, within eye shot of each other. Matose has led during the majority of the competition, and now he just has to wait and see.



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By this time, many of the competitors had already given up and were in the process of defrosting and disassembly.



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The competition is over!

A confident Matose takes a picture with Marc Bro Beier (M.Beier), who was GIGABYTE's "Search for #1 Biggest Fan" contest winner and was invited to be a spectator at the GO OC 2010 Worldwide Final.

Next up are simply portraits of each competitor in their element, so skip to page 10 if you want to see the winners.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Candid Portraits

Candid Portraits



In this section I just wanted to get an interesting candid shot of each overclocker at work, with their nicknames and/or country visible.

e-Killer


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Erdemolkun


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Hero.ou


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Jengkol


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Massman


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Matose


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Mikeguava


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Nacho_arroyo


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Perica_barii


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Shahryar_NEO


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Slamms


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Sno.lcn


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Speedtime.wing


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Stephenyeong


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ZoLKoRn


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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,087
Location
Montreal
Winners & Conclusion

Winners & Conclusion



The competition is now over and the scores have been tabulated, let's see who came out on top.



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Tim Handley, the Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing, and arguably the driving force behind the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship, had the priviledge of announcing all the winners.



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In third place, Speedtime.wing of China.



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In second place, Stephenyeong, also of China.




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No surprise here, the man who led the competition from A to Z, Matose from Romania took the first place and is this year's GO OC 2010 champion.


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The winners! All first time competitors at GO OC, doesn't get any better than that.

Here is the final scoreboard:



As you can see, Stephenyeong never did manage to submit a MaxxMEM result (or at least he didn't bother submitting a subpar one), which makes his second place achievement all the more impressive.

Speedtime.wing and Jengkol were tied in total points, but as per the rules, the competitor with the better PiFast result would have the advantage in the rankings.


So this is the end to another exciting round the world live overclocking competition. This final event was flawlessly run and organized, arguably the best so far, and also drama-free which is important. All the competitors and media who were in attendance owe it all to this group of dedicated GIGABYTE employees (among many others I'm sure) who make it possible year after year.
 
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