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Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship

You've probably guessed by now that you don't just pour LN2 onto a motherboard and hope for the best. Instead it's housed in large containers called pots which are continually topped up with LN2 as it boils off, lowering temperatures.

In this round, all teams used pots to cool the CPU and both of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260s. A variety of pots were on show, but the most popular were made by renouned overclocker 'K|ngp|n'.

The UK team used some of his latest pots, the Dragon F1 CPU pot and two Tek9 version 5 pots, which unlike more basic pots, have the addition of small holes in the base which act to increase the surface area of the pot to improve cooling and allow for more accurate temperature control.

This is extremely important as many processors will have what is called a 'cold bug' which is to say they will become unstable below a certain temperature. However with voltages well in excess of 1.6v, the colder you can get your CPU the better, so if it does develop a cold bug at say -100 Degrees C, you'll want to maintain it as close to that temperature as possible.

Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations
Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations

With temperatures near the CPU socket often falling well below -100°C, condensation is a very real issue. What is needed is a sufficient layer of insulation between the air and the PCB to seal it from the air. We saw several methods of doing this from applying varnish and liquid electrical tape, to squeezing putty and neoprene tightly in the gaps between components on the motherboard.

Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations

Graphics cards got the same treatment and were stripped down and also given generous helpings of varnish or putty and neoprene to seal them as best as they could from the air and dreaded condensation that would kill the components in the same was a leak in a water-cooled system would. Additional cooling for other parts of the motherboard and graphics cards was optional, simply due to the fact that after a few minutes, the whole of the card will be pretty chilly indeed, although some teams did opt for third party ramsinks and high speed fans to make absolutely sure there were no unseen hotspots on the PCB that could be limiting the overclock.

Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations Gigabyte's Open Overclocking Championship  Preperations