Extreme overclocking has become inreasingly popular in recent years. So much so that Gigabyte, a well known motherboard manufacturer, decided that it wanted a piece of the action and a chance to show what its latest LGA1366 Core i7 motherboards can do. Fourteen teams made up of Europe's overclocking elite decended on Prague in the Czech Republic on Friday to compete in the final european leg of the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship.
Teams from fourteen countries accross Europe including UK, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden and Belgium to name but a few, used pre-supplied hardware from Gigabyte, Enermax, Kingston and Intel and cooled their CPUs and GPUs with liquid nitrogen (LN2). They were allowed relatively unrestricted tweaking such as volt mods and Rivatuner adjustments including mipmap alterations.
They were of course able to use their own extreme cooling hardware such as copper CPU and GPU pots from the likes of pot manufacturer and world renouned overclocker K|ngp|n and also insulation materials. Super PI and 3DMark 06 were the benchmarks of choice and teams had 100 minutes to prove themselves by posting the best score possible in each round. Preceding this was a healthy amount of practace time with LN2 on tap which enabled each team to have a good go at finding the limits of their hardware. This meant that official results came in thick and fast once the timer started.
The hardware on each benching table comprised of:
Intel Core i7-965 CPU
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
Two Gigabyte GV-N26OC-896H-B GTX 260 Graphics cards
Kingston KHX16000D3K3/3GX DDR3 memory
Enermax Revolution85+ 1050W Power Supply
Intel X25-M SATA SSD 80GB SSD
In addition, each team would use a preinstalled version of Windows XP along with Gigabyte's Easytune 6 overclocking software, Rivatuner, CPU-Z and GPU-Z with the latter two programs being required in screenshots to verify the results.
We followed the efforts of the UK team made up of Philip Brown (above left) from Midland Computers who won the UK leg of the championship earlier this year in Milton Keynes which our sister site, Custom PC reported on, and Peter Jones otherwise known as Thickbrit (above right), co-founder of the UK's top benchmarking website Benchtec.
Philip and Peter were raring to go following a practice session earlier in the week which was designed to bring Philip up to speed - he'd never used LN2 before and managed to win the event in Milton Keynes using air cooling with a combination of skill and lucking out on a stonking Core i7 CPU which he managed to overclock to 4.4GHz. Philip told us "It's good to have Peter along for the ride and he's taught me a lot and I'm pretty confident. At the end of the day, winning these competitions is very much down to luck as some CPUs will overclock well and others don't. We've all got the skill to win, it's just luck of the draw really so I'm hoping we're in for a good chance."