With that little obstacle out of the way, the clock-frequency contest was able to really get under way. Of course nobody was out to break records, since they were limited by the fact that they were using air cooling alone. The Westyle+Drazendead team did manage to reach a very respectable 4.83 GHz.
This frequency was attained at a very high processor voltage (VCore) of 1.7 V—well above the QX9650’s factory recommended maximum of 1.20 V. At that setting, the processor is at high risk of "heat death," especially given the extremely fine fab process used. The frequency, unfortunately, wasn’t stable. To run the benchmarks, Westyle and Drazendead had to bring it down to around 4.5 GHz (the maximum stable frequency varied depending on which test was used). But that’s still an excellent score for such a powerful processor with only air cooling.
To go higher, certain competitors didn’t hesitate to give the Hyper 212’s 120 mm fan a little help... by vigorously flapping the caps MSI had handed out (for just such a purpose?). As we said, extreme overclocking is a true sport!
As a sideshow to the contest itself, our confreres at Syndrome OC, the co-organizer of the French selections for the MSI contest, had organized a demonstration of overclocking using liquid nitrogen. It was a hit with the gallery.