The GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship is the largest overclocking event this summer. Bjorn3D was there to catch the action live, and now we’re bringing the action to you.
GO OC 2010 – North America Regional Final
This weekend, in a small suburb of Los Angeles called the City of Industry, Twelve of the finest minds in overclocking faced off at the Pacific Palms hotel for two coveted prizes: a computer system containing some of the finest custom-built brand name hardware, and the chance to participate in the GO OC Finals in Taipei this September.
The day started as any normal Saturday in a small but busy town of only almost 800 people. Warehouses shipped, factories churned, and in the five-star hotel on the hill, GIGABYTE’s staff was working diligently to set up for the biggest overclocking event of the summer.
By the time we arrived, the competitors were all there, and were talking tech with corporate reps from the companies who supplied this contest’s hardware. The twelve competitors were all exceptional overclockers, masters in their art (as Ricky Lee from iBuyPower put it, “If there were a Ph.D. for overclocking, these guys would have it”). As the GIGABYTE staff finished setting up, the competitors were asked to choose their station numbers, and were escorted into the room where the competition would take place.
Once the competitors were all inside and seated at their stations, corporate reps took their places, and the event launch began. Each of the reps spoke briefly, introducing themselves and their company and wishing the contestants luck. The contestants were given two hours to set up their systems, which contained top-of-the line hardware including:
- Intel Core i7-980X Processor Extreme Edition
- GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboard (Rev 1.0)
- Kingston HyperX 2000 MHz KHX2250C9D3T1FK3/6GX Kit
- GIGABYTE GeForce GT 240 GV-240D5-512I Graphics Card
- Kingston SSD-SNV425-S2/64GB Solid State Drive
- Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W PSU
- GIGABYTE K6800 Keyboard
- GIGABYTE M8000X Mouse
Many of the parts were new, however some had already been used in the South America Regional Finals. There is contention that the re-use of parts that were degraded from previous competitions diminished the impartiality of the contest and the amount to which the competition tested the contestants’ skills. As one reviewer put it, it was simply a luck of the draw whether a contestant received a new processor or a used one, and those who received used ones were better off breaking their chip early in the competition, so they could get a new one.
While the contestants were setting up, we were whisked away to the other room for tech talks by Intel and GIGABYTE. At the first tech talk, Intel representative Eloise Chen stressed the importance of their continuing partnership with GIGABYTE. Similarly, GIGABYTE spoke appreciatively of their partnership with the world’s largest microprocessor manufacturer.
The X58A-UD7 was the motherboard of choice for this competition. The representative explained the reasoning behind this choice. GIGABYTE has saved the best for last–the UD9, the fastest motherboard on the market, will be used for the World Championships this September in Taiwan. Although the UD7 is not as powerful as its successor, it sufficed for this competition. The UD7 motherboard supports unlocked Core i7 processors, like the Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown Six-Core, the same processor used in the competition.
As one of the main focuses of the competition was the CPU, GIGABYTE chose one of the best processors on the market for the overclockers to tinker with. The Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown is a processor exceptionally suited to overclocking. It uses a Westmere architecture, the 32 nanometer shrink of the 45nm Nehalem architecture. The 980X was the first release of the Gulftown microprocessor series, scheduled to continue through the rest of 2010. The processor has an integrated memory controller compatible with triple channel DDR3 1066 memories, and has 12 threads that can be used in parallel. It also has a sizable 12MB L3 Cache, and works off the X58 chipset. With this intense performance, however comes intense power-consumption. The Core i7-980X has a Thermal Design Power of a whopping 130W, a TDP that has only been used on processors specifically designed for server use. This is just as well, however, because the rest of the system components were chosen for their low power usage.
GIGABYTE decided to use GeForce 240 GT for the competition. As GIGABYTE intended the competition to focus primarily on the motherboard, memory, and CPU, the GeForce 240 was an optimum choice. The card’s low power consumption makes it easier for overclockers to achieve a stable configuration, and allows them to focus their attention to the performance of the CPU and motherboard. Low power consumption also means less heat released. Consequently, temperature readings and benchmark scores were more accurate because of much less thermal interference from the video card.
The Random Access Memories were very crucial to this competition. Since most of the benchmarks used, including PI Fast, Wprime 32M, Super PI 8M and MAXXMEM, not only require high clock speeds on the processor, but also tight timings and fast memory speeds, the memories used were very essential to the overclocking process. For this reason, GIGABYTE chose Kingston’s HyperX 2000 MHz memory kit. Due to the importance of the memory kits, previous GO OC competitors even considered cooling their memories with LN2.
The GO OC 2010 North America Regional Finals were a great test of the contestants’ skill and knowledge. Of the 12 competitors, only 3oh6 destroyed his hardware (he burned out his motherboard in the second round). First place was taken by sno.lcn, who won the trophy, the trip, and the computer. Second place went to mikeguava, and third place to ROSS. They had 68, 60, 52 final points respectively. Buckeye came in last place due to a power failure early in the competition, and rdrash came in second to last. Though some fortunes were made and some lost, it was an event worth attending.
Video recap of the event in Los Angeles (City of Industry):
Fun Fact of the Day: Nitrogen was first liquefied by two Polish guys.
3rd place: ROSS
Pifast (14.55 sec) Wprime (3.000 sec) Super Pi (1:19.531 sec) MAXMEM (25796 MB/S)
2nd place: mikeguava
Pifast (14.25 sec) Wprime (2.718 sec) Super Pi (1:19.828 sec) MAXMEM (24297 MB/S)
Pifast (14.22 sec) Wprime (2.875 sec) Super Pi (1:19.046 sec) MAXMEM (23256 MB/S)
The final scores are recorded here:
Congratulations to Everyone!