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Event Report: GO OC 2010 North America Regional Final

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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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On August 7th, Gigabyte hosted the North American leg of the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2010 (GO OC 2010), the very last of all the regional overclocking competitions that have been held all over the world starting back in June.

This is the third year in a row that GIGABYTE has organized this well regarded worldwide overclocking tournament. In total, for this year's event, 54 overclockers have already competed in 4 regions around the world, with 13 having been selected to go to the global final.

Now this last regional competition is going to determine which two North Americans competitors are going to be making the trip to Taiwan to try and win the WorldWide Final trophy, a big cash prize, and hopefully the respect of their peers...


This event was once again held at the Pacific Palms Resort nestled in the hills of the City of Industry in California. Twelve North American overclockers were gathered at this hotel for a chance to win one of two all-expenses paid trips to the GO OC 2010 global final in Taipei, as well as some valuable prizes.

As you can see below, the competitors were a Who's Who of American and Canadian overclockers, and half the group were third timers, so definitely veterans to the live overclocking scene.


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Joining this group was also Ronaldo/Rbuass who had an accidental competitive disadvantage during the Latin American regional final, and was thus invited to compete in the North American event. He would need to "achieve the same or higher score as the first and second place winners" in order to qualify for the global final in Taiwan. He was supposed to be accompanied by Lalo, who also suffered the same mishap, but apparently the latter had visa issues.


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Realizing that they couldn't stop the competitors from partying the evening/night/early morning before the event, GIGABYTE mercifully pushed the registration time up from 8AM to 9:30AM. This was very well appreciated by everyone (yours truly included), since many were a little worse for the wear from the previous night's festivities.


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In order to keep everything fair and transparent, the competitors randomly selected a number from a box that would determine at which spot on the competition table they would be located.

If you're curious as to what number each competitor picked, click here.
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Schedule / Guidelines

Schedule / Guidelines

Schedule

As is the custom at the North American regional event, all the competitors arrived to the hotel the day before the event. Unlike for the final in Taiwan, nobody really traveled for any extended amount of time, so jet lag was not a concern for these competitors.

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As you can see, the competitors were given 2.5 hours of preparation and setup time the day of the competition. This is shorter than in previous years, but since this year's competition has no 3D benchmarks, 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 about 4.5 hours, with added time tacked on at the end if needed, and there was need since a few guys lost power on more than one occasion due to inadvertent power bar issues.


Guidelines

Round I: PiFast & wPrime 32M & Round II: SuperPI 8M & MaxxMEM

For this regional event, Gigabyte provided the following hardware configuration:

Aside from the engineering sample processors, the rest of the components were products that you can easily find at your favorite online retailer. Windows XP SP3 was preloaded on the SSD, 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:

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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 2D benchmarking apps. The N.A event was the only regional GO OC to use the newer X58A-UD7 revision 2.0 motherboard, so the competitors had to make due with the first release FA BIOS. I didn't hear any complaints during or aftwards though.


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, but only in the first round.
  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.

<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 Super PI 8M would be declared the winner.

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<u>
  • Prizes
</u>
Since this was a regional competition, there were no cash prizes per se, but the Top 3 competitors did walk away with some impressive loot, notwithstanding the two invites to the final event in Taiwan.​


Simple enough? Now on to the competition room and opening ceremony.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,086
Location
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Competition Hall & Speeches

Competition Hall & Speeches



As mentioned previously, this event was hosted at the Pacific Palms Resort, and the competition took place in one of the hotel's smaller-sized convention rooms (still bigger than last year from what I was told).


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By the time the competitors came down to register at 9:30AM, the room was already setup with all the components (minus CPUs) laid out. All the components were numbered based on what spot on the table they were positioned. Each competitor was obviously assigned to the number he randomly pulled out of the box.


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As far as I could tell all the components were brand new, except for the clearly battle-worn CPUs. These processors had been used in other regional GO OC events and many competitors were worried as whether they might already be slightly degraded given how frail Gulftown processors have proven to be.


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Right at the front of the room, competitors could see what they were fighting for. The two all-expenses paid invitations to the GO OC 2010 final event in Taipei, as well as the Champion's trophy-platter for the overall winner.


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After a brief introductory speech from Henry Kao, VP of GIGABYTE's Motherboard Business Unit, as well as representatives from CyperPower, iBuyPower, Intel, Thermaltake, supreme judging overlord Hicookie gave the competitors a few words.


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The customary group picture showcasing competitors and sponsors together.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,086
Location
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Preparation & Setup

Preparation & Setup



With all the formalities were out of the way, it was time for the competitors to start cracking those boxes open and get to work.


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With a full 2 hours allocated towards setup, the atmosphere was quite relaxed, especially given the fact that the competitors didn't have to modify & prep any graphics cards.


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Here are all the components unboxed. The motherboard used was the newest X58A-UD7 rev 2.0. The way you can tell his model apart from the rev 1.0 is the new northbridge cooler heatsink which has been optimized for air cooling. The previous model had a water block installed on it.


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Some competitors wisely chose to throw their systems together quickly to ensure that all the components were functional, while others were more cavalier and started the prep work right away.


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Needless to say that will all the gear that is needed to prepare and modify hardware, the tables and room got cluttered in an instant.


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Here we have Mikeguava spreading some di-electric grease into all the motherboard's ports and slots to prevent any short-circuit issues.


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Although there were a few different LN2 pots on site, the now discontinued K|ngp|n Dragon F1EE was still obviously the most widely used model. That might change shortly though with the new replacement that is just around the corner.


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Here we have Sno.lcn removing the UD7's cooling system and then applying nail polish in order to help seal all the small electrical components from condensation.


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Once finished with the di-electric grease, Mikeguava started taping up various ports and slots before insulating the whole motherboard with conformal coating, a nauseating acrylic resin spray.


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Rbuass/Ronaldo was invited to the N.A GO OC regional event following a slight mishap during the Latin American competition. Here he is applying a thick coat of vaseline to the motherboard and even inside the CPU socket.


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Here we have ROSS, who's rocking a Gigabyte neck tattoo, installing the foam insulation the back of the motherboard.


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Our very own Jody "3oh6" Bailey has always big proponent of eraser insulation, and here we see his handy work. Since he was thousands of kilometers away from home when he had to fly down to California for this competition, Jody had absolutely no overclocking paraphernalia with him. Thankfully, Planet (aka Jake from Corsair) drove down from San Jose and hooked him up with everything he needed.


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Gautam used the more old-fashioned vaseline plus paper towel approach to insulating his particular motherboard.


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Gomeler was one of the very first to start the over-current protection (OCP) mod on the motherboard.


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These pictures are a little deceiving since there was a 30 minute time-lapse from when Vapor was spreading vaseline on his foam insulation to when he actually installed the Dragon Evo 2.2 CPU LN2 pot for the first time.


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Here we see G H Z performing the delicate motherboard OCP modification.


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Mikeguava was the very first competitor to have his system up and running. As you can see, he brought with him a HighSpeecPC Top Deck Tech Station on which to install the system.


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Sno.lcn was busy putting the finishing touches on his ugly old mixed eraser insulation.


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3oh6 had a very useful roll of self-adhesive insulation that covered the whole back of the motherboard.


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Here we have Vapor finishing to mount his LN2 pot, while Gautam was putting the last touches on his system.


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A little worse for the wear from the previous nights festivities, rdrash's progress was a little slower than the other competitors, but he did catch up quickly later on.

He did have mascots, and was rocking a Team PURE flag, a team which was very well represented at this event.


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G H Z and 3oh6 both checking resistance for their OCP modification.


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Buckeye, Fugger, and ROSS all finished mounting their LN2 pots at approximately the same time.


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Shot of the room.


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Since his original old eraser mix wouldn't make good contact with the motherboard, Sno.lcn took it all off and restarted with a new horrible looking but malleable eraser compound.


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By this time, Fugger had his system up and running, as did Ronaldo.


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Rdrash was now back in the game, with his insulation and OCP mod finished.


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It was time for the liquid nitrogen to start flowing...
 
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MAC

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Preparation & Setup Continued

Preparation & Setup Continued




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Given his talents at soldering, 3oh6 offered to do some of the modifications for the other competitors.


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While Gomeler was finishing up his eraser job, Gautam and Buckeye had their system up & running.


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Likewise with Ronaldo.


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Gautam along with many of other competitors wore ear plugs (they were in every hotel room since the resorts stupidly located night club rocks the building until 2AM) in order to block out the loud DJ-sourced music.


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Gomeler did a quick little boot-up to ensure that all components were working.


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Here we have 3oh6 finishing up his OCP mod.


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G H Z installing his LN2 pot.


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It might be a little hard to tell, but Gautam is actually running this setup in dual-channel mode (look at the memory clip in the third pic) because he was experiencing issues. He eventually killed this particular motherboard and had to swap it.


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Due to an unforeseen issue, Vapor had to redo his LN2 pot mount.


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Here we have 3oh6 applying vaseline to the memory slots. About 15 minutes later he had the LN2 pot mounted.


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Sno.lcn had his system powered on by this point as well.


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Fugger applied some CRC 2-26 lubricant to his memory modules, which is intended to seal out moisture.


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By this point, about 90 minutes into the setup phase, the atmosphere was relaxed, pretty much everyone was where they wanted to be progress wise.


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Here we have Mikeguava running wPrime and PiFast at a conservative 5.1Ghz.


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Rdrash is cutting up a coffee cup to put over his Dragon F1EE to make pouring easier.


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Ronaldo had his i7-980X running at a decent 5.55Ghz.


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Deux got some helpful pointers from 3oh6 and Mikeguava throughout the competition.


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With 8 minutes left before the start of the competition, everybody was busy tweaking aside from Gautam who was still rebuilding his system after the motherboard swap.


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Mikeguava was looking extremely strong, with a very solid 5.78Ghz CPU core clock. As you will see, this was just the tip of the iceberg for his processor.


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With time running out, the room started getting packed with media and sponsors, which made the competitors LN2 refill runs more time consuming than they should have been.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
1,086
Location
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Contest Round 1: PiFast & wPrime 32M

Contest Round 1: PiFast & wPrime 32M




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Round 1 begins, 120 minutes of benchmarking PiFast and wPrime 32M.


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Gomeler was the first competitor to have results up for both benchmarks, but Mikeguava was right behind him.


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3oh6 then followed up with a second-best wPrime result.


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Within the first 20 minutes, Deux, ROSS and Vapor added results to the score board.


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While preparing a 6.0Ghz wPrime run one of the power breakers flipped (for the first time of many), which killed Buckeye's processor and motherboard. So it was time for a rebuild.


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G H Z had an excellent chip, and was running PiFast at 5.97Ghz with scores in the 14.2x range. Regrettably, that chip died after 5-6 PiFast runs due to an overkill of VTT voltage (1.6V).


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With 30 minutes down, Sno.lcn finally got on the board, with the fourth best wPrime result.


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Gautam, Fugger, and ROSS all got scores uploaded a few minutes later.


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Deux was showing some promise with the second fastest wPrime score. His CPU was not particularly great, as it maxed out at 5.5Ghz, but at least it was able to do that speed on every core.


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With his CPU now dead, G H Z started to disassemble his system, and while Buckeye was putting his back together.


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Despite being one of the first on the score board, Gomeler wasn't going anywhere fast since he had a mediocre chip that wouldn't pass either benchmark at 5.5Ghz and that also had terrible cold bugs.


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Mikeguava on the other hand kept chipping away at his own leading scores.


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Due to a so-so insulation job on the first motherboard, G H Z decided to not simply exchange CPUs for swap motherboards as well.


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3oh6's setup was working fine, but he maxed out his CPU really quickly, so he simply didn't have any room to improve without swapping parts.


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Both Buckeye and G H Z had their new systems almost ready to go at roughly the same time.


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Gratuitous 'cool' shots.
 

MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Contest Round 1: PiFast & wPrime 32M Continued

Contest Round 1: PiFast & wPrime 32M Continued




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With 60 minutes left, Mikeguava was still in the lead, with 3oh6 second, and Sno.lcn third.
ROSS jumped on the score board in 4th place.


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10 minutes later, some part of Mikeguava's motherboard VRM failed in a spectacular way,
sparks and smoke and all. It filled the room with usual acrid burning electronics smell.


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By finally posting a PiFast score, Deux shot up to 4th place. However, since he was stuck at 5.5Ghz, there wasn't too much room for improvement during the rest of the round.


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Rdrash's system was functional, but his first CPU was quite mediocre.


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3oh6 kept hammering at it, but his results weren't improving. He was still in 2nd place though.


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Likewise, Gomeler was also stuck in a rut due to his average processor.


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Once he posted his first wPrime score, Vapor jumped from 7th to 4th.


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After rebuilding his system, Buckeye had the misfortune of having picked a dead CPU from the tray. So he had to take apart and rebuild his system once more.

With 40 minutes to go, Gomeler decided to swap his under-performing processor.


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With 30 minutes left, ROSS climbed up to second, but Sno.lcn was slowly climbing up the ranks.


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By this point, G H Z was back up and running, while Mike was still a good 10 minutes away from have a functional system.


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At the 22 minute mark, Sno.lcn was up to 2nd, chasing down Mikeguava who had been out of the competition for over 30 minutes.


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Due to a 3rd issue with a power strip cutting out power, Rdrash's and ROSS's motherboards got screwed up, for the lack of a better word, and they had to tear apart their systems and swap mobos.


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Sno.lcn posted the best PiFast result, and in doing so tied Mikeguava's points total.


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With official time running out, Mikeguava retook the lead in PiFast as well as the overall points total in the last minute of the round.


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Due to the fact that a few competitors lost power, an extra 10 minutes was added to Round 1. Only Vapor really benefited from the extra time, moving up from 5th to 4th.


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With the additional time in round 1 expired, it was time for a 20 minute break, during which Grace performed someinterviews for Overclocking-TV.
 

MAC

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Contest Round 2: SuperPI 8M & MaxxMEM

Contest Round 2: Super PI 8M & MaxxMEM



Time for Round 2, another 120 minutes of benchmarking, but this time with SuperPI 8M and MaxxMEM.


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Sno.lcn, Vapor, ROSS, and Gautam all got on the board within the first 15 minutes.


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While competing in SuperPI 8M was new to many, it was still effectively the same 1M or 32M. On the other hand, a lot of the competitors had very little (if any) experience with MaxxMEM so the results were all over the place.


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Within the first 20 minutes, Sno.lcn posted a blistering SuperPI result that was almost 2 seconds faster than anyone else. 20 minutes after that, he posted another very fast SPi result, a 1.19 flat, that would hold the top spot throughout the second round.

Fugger and G H Z both also got onto the score board, with decent but not lead threatening results.


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After his multiple instances of bad luck, Buckeye called it a day since competitors were not allowed to swap hardware in the second round. This somewhat silly rule allowed knocked out 3oh6, who's malfunctioning motherboard couldn't be exchanged.


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While Mike was still #2 behind Sno.lcn, his processor had suffered greatly from his previous motherboard's catastrophic failure. Clock speeds had degraded slightly, it had a worse cold bug, and was down to only two memory channels. Mike had forgotten about the "No H/W swaps in the second round" rule, so he was stuck having to fight an erratic CPU. Having said that, he was still posting very strong results.


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Now out of the running, 3oh6 lent some wisdom to Deux, even though he was also a MaxxMEM novice.


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ROSS was doing a solid job maintaining his third place spot courtesy of a good SuperPI time. A 5.74Ghz, he was 100-200Mhz down compared to Sno.lcn and Mikeguava, but he compensated with a great 4400Mhz Uncore clock (550-650Mhz higher than the other two).

Although G H Z's second CPU was nowhere near as good as his first (5.7 vs 6.0Ghz), and he was pretty much mathematically out of the running for any prizes, he kept benchmarking hard throughout the round.


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Out of nowhere, Deux posted the best MaxxMEM result, a result that was never surpassed during the round. This was the result of a DDR3-2484 8-11-8 memory overclock combined with a 4554Mhz Uncore.


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Hicookie checking out the scores during his few moments of rest.

Since he was out of the competition, and now had beer, 3oh6 did a live interview for Overclocking-TV's webcast.


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With 40 minutes to go G H Z posted the second best MaxxMEM score, and only the third submitted result to have broken the 25K mark.
 

MAC

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Contest Round 2: SuperPI 8M & MaxxMEM Continued

Contest Round 2: Super PI 8M & MaxxMEM Continued




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At this point (still 40 mins. left), it was pretty clear that the competition was coming down to Sno.lcn, Mikeguava, and ROSS, if only due to their sizeable advantage in SuperPI.


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With limited CPU that wasn't stable above 5.65Ghz in SuperPI and a defective 2:12 memory ratio, Vapor called it a night.


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With 30-ish minutes to go, Gautam also decided to pack it in since he calculated that his best possible result was 5th place and he simply didn't feel like benchmarking anymore.


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Ronaldo benched hard throughout round 2 since he needed to tie or surpass the scores of the first and second place winners in order to qualify for a ticket to the GO OC 2010 global final.

Rdrash also decided to throw in the towl since his second CPU was poor, and he had zero chances of winning any prizes since he wasn't able to submit any scores in the first round.


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While Fugger's MaxxMEM result remained stagnant for most of round 2, he continously improved his SuperPI 8M times. He had to constantly 'fight' his processor which had evidently been degraded from heavy VTT voltage in a previous event (or several) and exhibited an erratic cold boot bug.


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Realizing that his poor results in round 1 left him out of contention for the overall points lead, Gomeler decided to get creative and made a ghetto rampot with some paper towels. Since the Kingston memory modules were believed to be based on Powerchip ICs that respond very well to sub-zero cooling, this was a promising idea.


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At this point in the competition, ROSS was really concentrating on maximizing his MaxxMEM score, and he posted the second best result (25796 MB/s) of the evening.


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Proving that power hungry overclockers also care about recycling, Gautam melted the vaseline off the motherboard and back into the petroleum jelly container, to be re-used at a later date.


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Sno.lcn was benched non-stop until the end, but his top scores remained unchanged during the last 40 minutes of competition.

By this point, Deux was also out of the competition since his system stopped posting, likely due to the fact that his motherboard drowned in a sea of water.


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Gomeler's little experiment paid off big time since he managed to overclock his memory all the way up to DDR3-2469 7-9-7. Having said that, he achieved his best results at DDR3-2184 6-9-6.


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Rita, Hicookie, and Grace watching round 2 come to a close. No extended time this round.
 

MAC

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Conclusion

Conclusion




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Now it was time for the defrost, disassemble, and clean up part of the competition.


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Following his ghetto sub-zero cooling endeavour, Gomeler easily pried the heatsinks off his memory modules and discovered that this DDR3 was not actually based on PSC ICs, but Elpida BDBG. Ultimately, it didn't make a difference since both ICs need very loose tRCD timings to achieve high clocks, and both see very little gain from CAS tightening.


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While the competitors finished putting everything away, and the invited media poured into the room, Hicookie double checked all the submitted screenshots to ensure that they met Gigabyte's criteria s.



Winners Ceremony



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Well after 90 minutes of setup and over 5 hours of non-stop overclocking involving Pifast, wPrime, Super PI 8M, and MaxxMEM, the two overclockers that distinguished themselves from the pack were Jeremy "Sno.lcn" Clifton (#1) and Michael "Mikeguava" Graf (#2). It was a tight competition though, and ROSS really had an exceptional second round that elevated him to third place.


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For his third place finish, ROSS won an assortment of hardware, but regrettably no trip to the final in Taiwan.


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Mikeguava won an all-expenses paid trip to the GO OC 2010 global final, as well as a custom GO OC system built by Cyberpower.


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Overall winner Sno.lcn also won a trip to the final, the GO OC 2010 North America Champion trophy, and a
custom GO OC system built by iBuypower.


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The winners had some well-deserved fun with their champagne bottles. They enjoyed a glass or two as well, and even shared some with the others.


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Capping off the day, the Gomeler poured some champagne on Fugger. All in good fun, of course.

So that's it for this regional final, but we will of course be attending the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2010 global final in Taipei, Taiwan on September 25, 2010. We will have live updates from that competition, pictures galore, and another extensive event report.


Our thanks to Gigabyte for making this article possible!​
 
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