The Red Bull is on ice, the music is oppressively loud and the LN2 is bubbling away in the pot. Yes, we’re back at the European finals of MSI’s Master Overclocking Arena, which this time is held in the unseasonably cold city of Istanbul.
In case you're not familiar with the Master Overclocking Arena, the MOA is MSI’s yearly overclocking competition, which sees teams from all over the globe competing for the title of MOA Champions. Heats are held in individual countries, with one team from each country going through to a continental final in the hope of qualifying for the world finals, which are held in Taipei, Taiwan.
The UK was represented by the OC3D team, which was made up of Tom 'RawZ' Rawes and Eddie 'PCTwin' Coyle. They were up against 15 other teams from around Europe, which represented the cream of each country’s overclocking talent and included last year’s overall champions - Elmor and ME4ME - who qualified automatically for this year’s competition, meaning Sweden effectively had two teams.
The entire event had a military theme
France - p€p|n0r@ng and Boblemagnifique from 59Hardware
Germany - Loo83 and Kabauterman from BenchBros
Iran - Don_Corleone and Olesius from HotOverclock-Matrix
Italy - canna1988 and KanGaXx from ITALY TEAM
Poland - Kamil_Grzbiecik and G.Foyle from TeamPCLab.pl
Russia - Smoke and Slams from Team Russia
Spain - DRACO and VAK92 from MSI TRAXTORE OC TEAM
Turkey - Karandiru and Brandybuck from HWA OC TEAM
Ukraine - «cyclone» and «T0lsty» from XtremeLabs.org
Sweden - Mean Machine and Mink from XXX Corps
Sweden (seed) - Elmor and ME4ME from Team Expandables
Romania - matose and Monstru from Lab 51
Belgium - Massman and Pt1t from A++ Belgian SuperShrimps
Greece - Stelaras and Aristidis from HWBOX.gr
Czech Republic/Slovakia - OBR and WLK from OBRguru
The event kicked off in typically over the top fashion, with the teams walking into the ballroom-cum-overclocking-theatre to pumping music, flashing lights and an honour guard of applauding MSI employees. It’s a little strange to see what’s essentially a gaggle of computer geeks being treated like rock stars, but then nothing is done by halves at this event. The sponsors were out in full force, and the stage at the far end of the room was so large it looked like it had been lifted straight from a summer festival.
The four large LN2 tanks took pride of place in the centre of the room. We were also joined by a brass band at one point, although we're not sure why
After a few words from some of the major sponsors, we were then reminded of the task that awaited the teams. Their overclocking skills would be tested using three programs over two days. Day one would see the teams competing for the quickest time in the CPU intensive SuperPI (32M), and the highest score in the system stressing 3DMark03. They would then have to get a good night’s rest before moving on to the GPU-melting 3DMark11 the next day.
Final scores would be calculated using a growth score system, which measures the improvement over a stock system from each team's individual overclocks. The growth scores from each event would then be combined to get the final result, with 40 per cent weighting going to SuperPI 32M, 25 per cent to 3DMark03 and 35 per cent to 3DMark11.