Gigabyte International Overclocking Tournamentajmatson - July 1, 2008
Category: Trade Shows/Conventions
Gigabyte International Overclocking Tournament
This past weekend, the 28th of June, OverclockersClub was invited to Gigabyte's first ever US held International Overclocking Competition located at the Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry, California. This event was held to find the number one overclocker to whom Gigabyte will provide a sponsorship for the winner to the World Overclocking Championship Tournament, which is being held in Tiapi, Taiwan at the end of September. This is the first time Gigabyte has tried this in the US to send the winner as a representative in the Gigabyte Worlwide Overclocking Competition. There are also a slew of other prizes for the top three winners out of the ten competing. The live tournaments were a change from the online tourneys Gigabyte has hosted in the past, and with all of the hype on overclocking these days, it was a smart move for them to set this up.
Ok, so here is how it went. There were ten contestants, some of them very well known in the overclocking community. Below is a picture of all ten entrants. In no particular order: Habib, Fugger, Danny, Todd, Ton, Mark, Chris, Gautam, Jeremy, Ross.
The tournament was setup so that each contestant had the same exact hardware to run the overclocking on. The only differences were their methods of cooling and their skill. Gigabyte supplied them with X48T-DQ6 motherboards, Gigabyte NX96XT 9600GT video cards, 1200W Gigabyte Odin power supplies, and various hardware such as LCDs and keyboards. The memory was courtesy of Corsair, which supplied its Dominator PC3-16000 2x1GB modules. The hard drives were 250GB drives from Western Digital, and of course, the CPUs being used were the Core 2 Extreme X9650s supplied by Intel. I am sure you guys are asking the same question I did when I saw the components. With all of the high end graphics cards out there why not use something newer such as the GTX series? Well, I was advised by Angela from Gigabyte that their 9600GTs support the Gamer HUD, which allows the overclocker to alter not only the speeds of the video card but also the card's voltage via the Gamer HUD software, which allows for better and faster overclocks.
Software was also supplied standard to keep the competition as fair as possible. Gigabyte loaded each of the drives with Windows XP, Rivatuner 2.09, Memset 3.5, setFSB, Easytune 6, CPU-Z, GPUz, and the GamerHUD. For the 9600GT card Gigabyte used ForceWare 174.16 and the motherboard BIOS for the X48T was f5g. There were four benchmarks that were run and each one was given a score for first through third place, except for the 3DMark tests which were first though fourth place. The benchmarks were Super Pi 1M, Aquamark, 3DMark01, and 3DMark06. All scores were verified by a panel of four judges from Gigabyte and all scores had to have a complete screenshot to be valid.
The cooling methods used were left up to the competitor. Most used LN2 for the CPUs, however for the video cards, that was a different story. There were water cooled cards, cards with VapoChill units cooling them, and of course, LN2 cooled video cards. During the setup, we got to see how the process takes place. Since I have never cooled with LN2, this was a new experience for me. I was amazed to see that the most simplest thing used was cut foam and Vaseline.
Once the setup was done, the warming up and benchmarking began. Each contestant was given a time limit to submit scores and the highest score submitted is the score that was counted. I was amazed on how quick these guys got their hardware soaring. One contestant, Chris, had his CPU to 5.8GHz before the power circuit for his side of the tables tripped, cutting all power. The result was their hardware freezing over and damaging the motherboards and possibly the CPUs. They changed out boards and the next time he was only able to pull out 5.57GHz. I am amazed on how easy they make using LN2 to overclock. It is as easy as using a stock heatsink for them.
After all of the stress and heartache of pushing their hardware to the limit, the final benchmark was winding down and the contestants were getting worn down. It was coming down to the wire and the tension was mounting up. The contestants were finishing up and pushing their hardware to the limits to get the last bit of scores that they could.
Now that the competition is over, let's check out the exhibits that were on display before we take a look at the scores and the highlight shots.