Overclocking, since its beginnings, has always been about achieving more value for your money. One of the best feelings is knowing that you've modified your hardware to deliver more performance than it was originally manufactured to do. These days however, overclocking has transformed into a sport and teams form and compete all over the world.
One such team is our very own Tom's Hardware Italy overclocking team. Today, Futuremark announced that along with four others, Tom's Hardware Italy achieved the coveted Hall of Fame standing, earning a spot in the Top 5.
The team, which is made up of four people, achieved a 3DMark Vantage score of 37354, earning 5th spot in the Top 5 of Futuremark's Hall of Fame thanks to a CPU speed of 5,028 MHz. The following four people make up Tom's Hardware Italy's overclocking team:
Dragonx21 - Giovanni Nieto
Qballe - Marco Ballerini
Hiwa - Hiwa Pouri
Lara87 - Loretta Negrini
The following were the official system specs:
• Intel Core i7 CPU 975 @ 3.33GHz Stepping D0 3849B263; cold bug @ -120C
• Asus P6T Ws Professional 0603 Bios
• 3 x 2 GB Gskill Perfect Storm 7-8-7-20 Hyper 48 Batch
• 2 x Asus Nvidia GeForce 295 GTX @DimasChiller 3°c Water
• Enermax 1250W Revolution
• CPU cooled by Colosso/ZBlock
• Microsoft Windows Vista 32bit SP1, tweaked
BIOS settings that were used:
• Vcore: 1.5125
• Vdimm : 1.66
• IOH: 1.40
• Everything else set to Auto.
Nieto advised me on the team's achievement and I had the chance to ask him some quick questions. According to Nieto, the most difficult part of the team's overclocking session was dealing with the infamous cold bug associated with Intel Core i7 CPUs. Nieto said that the CPU would lock up at -120C.
The trick is all in the control of keeping the CPU pot at a stable temperature, which was roughly around -100C. This requires a constant watch over the liquid nitrogen in the pot. As the liquid nitrogen evaporates from inside the pot, the pot itself becomes colder. The faster the evaporation, the colder the pot will get. Suffice to say, the team had to keep a close watch on how much liquid nitrogen was in the pot, and control the amount, thereby keeping a stable pot temperature.
I also had the opportunity to ask Nieto some other, overclocking related questions:
How many years have you been overclocking? -
Nieto: Some of us have been overclocking since 14 years old; but we've been benching in team for two years. We decided to make it the official Tom's Hardware Italy overclocking team from in January, 2009.
What was the first CPU you overclocked?
Intel's Pentium 3.
We started to push really hard when the Pentium 4 arrived.
How much is your home PC overclocked?
We use laptop as home computers. Our bench platform however, can't run on air cooling... only LN2.
[We're extremists and] I even used LN2 on my MacBook Air :)
What kind of cooling do you use personally?
LN2 and liquid cooling -- with water cooling for the graphics cards.
What music do you listen to when you're overclocking?
The seducing sounds of cooling fan music.
What do you snack on and drink when overclocking?
Any king of snack, sweets and so on. We drink Fanta and soft drinks.
Do you achieve higher clock speeds when drinking beer?
It's happens sometimes. We even use the LN2 for cooling the beer/Fanta.
Doesn't the beer bottle or can explode with the use of LN2?
It happens yes. You can't cool it too much. Beer has a "cold bug" like the Core i7.
Does the presence of a female help achieve higher clock frequencies?
YESSSS--Lara is really important for us.
Have you ever cooked your system?
Many times unfortunately.
What's the most expensive component you've ever fried?
A Core i7 965 and some QX9650 CPUs...
What is the coldest temperature you've hit?
Do you know any females that overclock?
Lara87... My girlfriend.
Once again, congratulations to the Tom's Hardware Italy overclocking team for their achievement!