Gigabyte TweaKING OC Event
European FinalManufacturer: Gigabyte
Gigabyte are well known for its overclocking events: the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship (GO OC) ran earlier this year and encouraged competitors to overclock their Core i7 CPUs using any means possible, and ran Super Pi 8M and 3DMark 06 for the best scores.
18 Teams competed from all around Europe. Click to enlarge
The TweaKING event in Paris is the European leg of this new style of OC tournament. Less emphasis is placed on the quality of CPU and more is placed on the ability of the teams to tweak the memory and motherboard. How? The CPU frequency is capped at 4GHz, meaning the teams had to crank the memory and baseclock on their Lynnfield i5-750 CPUs up as high as possible to achieve the best result.
Much time was spent in the BIOS tweaking settings. Click to enlarge
This still puts an emphasis on CPU quality to some degree, but its also brings the motherboard back into play more, which is an angle Gigabyte obviously wants to push. There was no limitation on the OS tweaks allowed too; so WinXP hacks a plenty were rolled out: services were neutered, registry was copiously tweaked and anything deemed excess was cut off.
However, every team had a standard set of hardware to use: nothing extra was allowed, not even an additional fan. Even screwdrivers were provided!
To make things even fairer, CPUs were given out at the start from numbers taken out of a hat by the competitors, so no one could complain of foul play.
Philip Brown representing the UK sets up the provided hardware. Click to enlarge
The hardware included was:
- Gigabyte P55-UD6 motherboard
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 260 Super Overclock graphics card
- Kingston HyperX Ti 2,000MHz CL9 DDR3 Memory KHX2000C9D3T1K2/4GX
- Intel Core i5-750 CPU
- GlacialTech F101 CPU cooler
- Enermax Modu 82+ PSU
- Iiyama 22" LCD
- Gigabyte USB keyboard and mouse
Some managed to overclock the 2,000MHz Kingston memory to 2,200MHz. Click to enlarge
After the teams got settled in, they had 20 minutes to setup their machines before 70 minutes of actual overclocking, tweaking and results generation. The results were confirmed as they rolled out by Gigabyte staff judges keeping out a beady eye to make sure that 4GHz clock speed was not broken: the Intel frequency tool had to be in view at all times.
Team Belgium were hard at work. Click to enlarge
In the first round for the Super Pi 32M challenge the Czech team won with a time of 9.03.469 minutes, narrowly beating the Belgium team that had been leading through most of the 70 minutes. Unfortunately the UK-Greek team suffered a memory failure, as the Kingston HyperX 2,000MHz memory would not even do stock speeds at rated voltages and timings, whereas other teams had successfully overclocked to 2,100MHz or 2,200MHz with elevated voltages. With too much time wasted on debugging the problem, a change of memory finally provided from Gigabyte was too late in the session to help so there was no time for the guys to get another 10 minute run in.
Super Pi 32M final results. Click to enlarge
After a short break, there was another 20 minutes for re-tweaking before the 3DMark 01 challenge took place. The overclocks previously achieved were left in place by many, and the concentration moved onto GPU instead. Clock speeds of around 770MHz on the core were not uncommon as the Gigabyte Super Overclock GTX 260s have hand-picked GT200b dies at the manufacturing level, although lack voltage tweaks in aiding for extreme core speeds.
222MHz base clock: pushing the limit and keeping the CPU clock as close to 4GHz as possible. Click to enlarge
In typical fashion, driver adjustments were mostly used to lower the Level of Detail (LoD) and turn an already old, GPU heavy benchmark into a heavily pixelated image, and even the order of running the tests was almost unanimously changed to yield the optimum result.
Team Czech celebrate the Super Pi win. Click to enlarge
The obvious tweak of overclocking the PCI-Express bus heavily, did not seem to be used. Many teams tweaked it gently (110-120MHz) or not even at all. The fear was that it would cause SATA corruption and completely screw any chance of winning since there was no opportunity to reinstall an OS.
Click to enlarge
Team Belgium lead again for a while, thanks to keeping their fantastic overclock from before, however again the Czech guys gave them a run for that again. Team Turkey claimed a clear win though, with a specific, secret tweak that allowed a legitimate 1,000 point advantage, which no other team could replicate. As the only team to crack the 81,000, let alone 81,500 barrier, they were clear winners by the end, but still remained schtum on their secret performance advantage.
3DMark01 final results. Click to enlarge
Both Team Turkey and Team Czech will go on to the Final TweaKING event that will take place next year.