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Gigabyte Overclocking Finals: Specs and Numbers

For those following Gigabyte’s worldwide overclocking competition for 2010, here’s the hardware configuration, scoring, and rules that will govern tomorrow’s Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship finals.

Hardware Configuration

CPU: Intel Core i7 980X
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
VGA: Gigabyte GV-R5450C-512I (running a 19" Envision display set to 1920 x 1080)
Memory: ADATA XPG Plus Series DDR3-1866+ v2.0 6GB Triple Channel Kit
HDD: Seagate Momentus XT S95005620AS
Power Supply: Gigabyte ODIN Pro 1200W (drawing power from a 220V socket)
Keyboard-Mouse: Gigabyte GK-KM6150
OS: Windows XP SP3
Utilities, Tools: Easytune 6, SetFSB, CPUz, CPUTweaker
Graphics Drivers: Catalyst 10.5
Motherboard BIOS: To be determined

The Rationale Behind the Hardware Configuration

As Gigabyte is hosting the event, they’ll showcase as much of their hardware as possible. This explains the choice of motherboard, GPU, power supply, and even the keyboard and mouse. As for the CPU, memory, and hard disk: Intel, ADATA, and Seagate are major sponsors of the finals, so it figures that they should enjoy some face time as well. Gigabyte also maximized the opportunity to promote its new Envision display line.

Windows XP SP3 is an obvious choice for the OS. Its age speaks volumes for its relative reliability compared to Vista and even Windows 7. Last but not least, some may wonder about that HD 5450. Keep in mind that this overclocking competition is about attaining the fastest processor and memory benchmarks possible.

The Numbers That Will Determine the Winner

Ultimately, the winner will be chosen by the numbers generated by four benchmarking software: Pifast, MAXXMEM, Super PI mod 1.5, and Wprime. All fifteen finalists will go through four rounds of judging, where they attempt to generate the highest numbers for the corresponding benchmark before the time for that round runs out. Submission of benchmarks will be accomplished by saving screenshots and output files on a brand-new flash drive provided by the organizers. After each round Gigabyte reps will assign points to the finalists based on their performance with each benchmark. The breakdown:

Benchmark – Points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Pifast – 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
MAXXEM – 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
Super PI mod 1.5 (32M) – 30, 24, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6
Wprime (32M) – 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2

At the end of all four rounds, the overclocker with the highest amount of total points will be crowned champion. The benchmarking suite was formulated by Rockson Chiang, Gigabyte’s resident overclocking guru. One more thing: “In case of a tie, contest with the highest Pifast is declared the winner.” Let’s hope we don’t see any equal Pifast scores!

Update: For the actual competition, Gigabyte dropped the four-round configuration. All contestants were given 4 hours and 50 minutes to come up with the highest scores. In other words, the finalists were free to choose how and when to tackle each benchmark within the competition time.

The Rules

Here are the regulations each finalist will have to follow, listed here verbatim:

1. Hardware and software are provided by Gigabyte and official sponsors.
2. No brands other than Gigabyte and approved official sponsors will be allowed.
3. Gigabyte will provide hardware replacement if the original one dies or fails, but one chance only.
4. Contestants are allowed to bring their own equipment for soldering and modification. Modified hardware is allowed, so bring your modding tools.
5. Contestants should bring their own LN2 pots for CPU/GPU/Chipset. (LN2 will be prepared by Gigabyte). Also, any kind of cooling apparatus is allowed.
6. No graphics card modification is allowed, including removing the standard cooling fan.
7. HDDs are pre-installed and configured with windows XP SP3, drivers, benchmark and utilities.
8. No outside software, non-Gigabyte prepared thumb drive, optical device, etc are allowed.
9. Power source for competition is 220V.
10. New USB thumb drives will be provided by Gigabyte to save scores and screen shots.
11. Contestants may bring their own multi-meter or digital temperature meter.
12. Hair dryers will be not be provided, so ask nicely and borrow your girlfriend’s for the event.
13. Contest need to bring their own insulation tool kits. Also paper towels, extra thermo, Dixie CPU, thermal paste, Vaseline, scissors, etc. (Gigabyte will provide a limited supply)

Four new rules were added:

14. No batch files.
15. No mobile phones (to prevent each competitors from receiving tips).
16. CPUTweaker can’t be used with Max/Min.
17. No uninstallation of GPU drivers.

How well would you do under these conditions? See who won the competition here.