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We often talk about overclocking in these pages, and there are several ways to practice it. One is simply to try to increase performance at the lowest possible cost. Another is to try to wring the maximum performance out of a processor, regardless of the cost. The former is practical; the latter is all about bragging rights.
In the first case, no special equipment is necessary and five minutes spent tweaking the BIOS is all it takes to gain the equivalent of tens or even hundreds of dollars worth of performance. Such adjustments are within reach for anyone with a little "under the hood" smarts. Windows-based apps like OverDrive and Desktop Control Center make it easier than ever to tweak the relevant settings.
On the other hand, getting the maximum performance out of a processor requires major effort and expensive equipment. This type of extreme overclocking is not unlike a competitive sport. And in fact, many competitions are held all year long to find those who are the best at it.
The MSI European Overclocking Challenge 2008 is a good example of this kind of event. Organized by the equipment manufacturer, its goal is to push its latest star motherboard—the MSI P45—to its limits.
The French final of this contest was held in late June, with the winners earning the right to take part in the European final in Holland in August. Among them were some of the overclockers that set a record in our offices back in February. Let’s go along for the ride.