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Overclocking Goes Int'l.: Overdrive In The USA

Overclocking Goes Int'l.: Overdrive In The USA
By , Chris Angelini

As you no doubt have already seen, we were quite busy last weekend hosting the first leg of an international overclocking competition that’ll see the overclocking elite from five different countries battle it out for the chance to meet in Paris, France. But before hitting you with the results of this last weekend’s festivities, we wanted to present a little introduction to the contest, the folks who’ll be participating around the world, what sort of hardware they’ll be tweaking, and the prize for which they’re fighting.

The idea for doing an overclocking event sprang up at the beginning of this year—probably even before other organizers decided they wanted to do something similar. Gigabyte and MSI have been holding their own overclocking events and other vendors partnered with media outlets to get events started in recent months. Great, we say. More enthusiasts interested in maximizing their hardware means a larger audience to keep Intel, AMD, Nvidia, all of the motherboard manufacturers, and memory vendors on top of their game, continuously innovating.

However, we wanted to do something truly unique. We were hoping to have our participants be the first to do battle on the new X58 platform and Core i7 Extreme 965 processors from Intel. We decided that we wanted to do this in five countries, and to fly the winning teams to our brand new Tom’s Hardware and Best of Media headquarters in Paris, France. And here we are today: The Overdrive Overclocking Championship is already in full swing.

The premise sounds easy for a bunch of self-proclaimed hardware enthusiasts—find overclockers, give them components plus liquid nitrogen, and watch them do their thing. But the international coordination proved difficult indeed. The Core i7 processor is still not officially available, even though you can already read about its overclocking and gaming performance.

Unfortunately, Intel couldn’t make samples ready in time, so we adjusted the preliminaries to include Core 2 Duo E8600s instead—fine, since most of these guys are already season veterans with the current Core 2-based platforms. When the finals happen next month, we’re hoping to see some world records fall as the globe’s most talented overclockers tweak the world’s fastest desktop architecture.

Full Throttle And In Good Hands

It took several months until we had all the components for the event lined up. Obviously, we had to find sponsors were willing and able to provide the product quantities to execute such an event in five countries plus the grand finals. Then our localized teams in the United States, in France, in Germany, in Italy and in Taiwan went out and searched for the best overclocking teams.

To make the event even more attractive, we not only decided to provide the first opportunity of overclocking Core i7, but we also wanted this to be free-of-charge for the participants. Travel, accommodation, food, and drinks (lots of drinks, as the US event demonstrated) are taken care of.

Who Will Win?

This isn’t only about overclocking Core i7. It’s a battle between some of the finest overclocking teams from all over the world. The teams have to bring all their custom gear and they have to utilize all of their experience to win the trials in the US, in France, in Germany, in Italy and in Taiwan on the popular LGA775-based Core 2 Duo platform. The winners will then have to push themselves even further on a brand new architecture to become the Overdrive World Champions.

In our initial photographic coverage of the event here in the United States, we saw readers wondering “what’s the point of using LN2 on an open bench for one day’s worth of testing? That’s not representative of usable overclocking” We’ll talk about the idea there next.

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  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 14, 2008 7:40 AM
    I wish these competitions were based on market cooling instead of the liquid nitrogen cooling that we have become accustomed to seeing in these competitions.

    I would actually like to see a overclock done on these competitions that I might realistically use. Why not start competitions with themes like "air cooled" or "water cooled" and actually have these overclockers try to peak out sustainable clock speeds for everyday use?

    I understand the principle as to why overclocking exists. Unfortunately, the average enthusiast doesn't look at overclocking as a sport but as a means of gaining highest performance out of your chip.

    Thanks for the read.
  • 0 Hide
    V3NOM , November 14, 2008 8:46 AM
    I would like to see some lower leve loverclocking comps, maybe sponsored LAN parties or the like. Different types of records with water and air!
  • 5 Hide
    rubix_1011 , November 14, 2008 12:20 PM
    These types of competitions are like drag races; push a car as hard and fast as it can go until you win, run out of gas or blow it up. You wouldn't drive a drag car on the streets every day to and from work, and the same concept applies here. That being said, this does make an interesting argument that you should/shouldn't use techniques and materials suitable for everyday use. I do agree that there should be some more in-depth articles about OC with consumer components as well. It is cool to see how they use the LN2 pots and volt mods, but maybe provide some more details into how to volt mod a board or GPU and how to run the highest clocks for 24/7 users.
  • 0 Hide
    Luscious , November 14, 2008 5:43 PM
    The best overclocking you can do for 24/7 home use is phase-change, and that's been around for several years. Not a lot of folks do it though because water is a lot simpler, many times cheaper, and generally provides enough cooling to still get a satisfactory overclock.

    Mind you, with a lifetime supply of R404A, phase-change makes a great investment. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 14, 2008 7:40 PM
    ^Freon? For what??
  • 1 Hide
    cangelini , November 14, 2008 9:11 PM
    rubix_1011These types of competitions are like drag races; push a car as hard and fast as it can go until you win, run out of gas or blow it up. You wouldn't drive a drag car on the streets every day to and from work, and the same concept applies here. That being said, this does make an interesting argument that you should/shouldn't use techniques and materials suitable for everyday use. I do agree that there should be some more in-depth articles about OC with consumer components as well. It is cool to see how they use the LN2 pots and volt mods, but maybe provide some more details into how to volt mod a board or GPU and how to run the highest clocks for 24/7 users.


    This is exactly it. This is an all-out drag race. Stay tuned Rubix, I'll have something for you on Monday with more daily-use overclocking that should address the points you bring up here.
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 14, 2008 10:04 PM
    cangeliniStay tuned Rubix, I'll have something for you on Monday with more daily-use overclocking that should address the points you bring up here.


    I am glad to hear it and look forward to the write up. Just look at it this way, the number of car enthusiasts that take part in drag racing is a very small %. Same is true in these situations. I am glad your taking initiative to provide content relative to your mainstream audience.
  • 1 Hide
    Farrwalker , November 14, 2008 10:22 PM
    Slomo4shOI wish these competitions were based on market cooling instead of the liquid nitrogen cooling that we have become accustomed to seeing in these competitions.I would actually like to see a overclock done on these competitions that I might realistically use. Why not start competitions with themes like "air cooled" or "water cooled" and actually have these overclockers try to peak out sustainable clock speeds for everyday use? I understand the principle as to why overclocking exists. Unfortunately, the average enthusiast doesn't look at overclocking as a sport but as a means of gaining highest performance out of your chip.Thanks for the read.


    While liquid nitrogen cooling can be likened to 6 second drag racing; air cooling and liquid cooling can be likened to endurance racing like 24 hours of Le Mans.
    Both seek performance increases. Both are interesting to those who like that sort of thing. However, each has different set ups for different purposes.