Gigabyte recently held its GO OC 2009 Pan American Finals. The event’s winner will pack his bags and fly to Taiwan on June 3rd to compete for the world title and 5000 U.S. dollars in prize money. Today we are covering this event as we stated in our previous article on both days of the event with a plethora of images.

Here is the banner that greeted all of the visitors and competitors, introducing us to the "Dirty Dozen + 1", overclockers that competed in the GO OC 2009.

 

Here is a shot of the room where the entire event went down. The picture below can be described as "calm before the storm". The setup was very well done and hey made sure that nobody was tripping over any wires while walking around.

And here, you can see the equipment that they were given in order to compete. This includes a Gigabyte EX58-UD4P, a Gigabyte mouse, keyboard and monitor. It also includes an Enermax Revolution 1050W PSU, 3GB of Kingston HyperX DDR3 memory, and an Intel Core i7 Extreme i965 Processor. They will be cooling all of this using LN2 which is commonly known as liquid nitrogen.

And here are some of the sponsor’s booths.

The prize table showing the 2nd, 1st and 3rd prize packages. We don’t know who wouldn’t mind an Intel SSD in a retail package.

Here are the LN2 dewars that were used for the two days of the event. What’s a hundred plus kilos of LN2 between competitors, right?

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Soon after, the overclockers began to arrive and started to mingle with each other and began to prepare for the event. Even though respect and jokes were shared among many, we noticed couple of "serious faces".

Here they are on one of the display systems that was running Far Cry 2. As you can see, the GO OC competitors are already trying to overclock before the event even began. This just shows how crazy these guys are, they are almost always overclocking. One could expect a lot of cellphone and netbook overclocking when theye guys are on the road.

Next, they began to randomly draw tiny soccer balls with numbers from 1 to 14 in order to make the selection of the hardware given to them entirely random to make the event as fair as possible. This is because no hardware is created alike and Gigabyte wants to make sure that nobody has an unfair advantage, for the most part.

The optimal [and the only] way is to actually check all of the hardware and bin all of it to see which chips go the furthest, which Gigabyte traditionally does before its events. In the picture below, you can see Rita Kao, Gigabyte’s marketing lady.

After the drawing was complete, Colin Brix from Gigabyte Taiwan gave an introductory speech to the overclockers and present media, preparing to start for the event.

Here is a close up shot of the system that was used as a reference point. Given the nature of LN2, GigaByte opted to use Intel’s stock cooler as a demonstration, rather than using some of its own coolers.

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Let the overclocking mayhem begin! The opening of the event and the "rules of engagement".

Here is a shot of all of the overclockers going to their number designated stations with their hardware. Each overclocker had a judge who was responsible for taking down their scores as well as recording them and bringing them to the even organizers as well as getting screenshots to verify the CPU-Z validation , SuperPi, and 3DMark06 scores.

After the dust had settled they began to unpack their hardware and the best prepared started to insulate the surroundings. When LN2 cooling is used, any possibility of condensation must be dealt with – a single drop of condensed water is enough to kill a couple of grand worth of hardware, so precaution is a must.

As they are beginning to unpack the Hosts of the Gigabyte event try to drum up some excitement and begin the opening speeches.

Tony Liao, VP of North American Sales gave a speech about the event, followed by the representatives from each of the sponsors. 

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After Tony finished up with his speech, the time was for sponsors to give out motivational speeches to the overclockers or talk a little bit about thier companies.

First came Francois Piednoel from Intel. In his typical fashion the charming Frenchman who is "guilty" for the Skulltrail platform and a lot of overclocking efforts of late -gave a short but sweet speech and wishes them all luck. If you’re asking yourself why a once buttoned-up company that prohibited overclocking is now a staunch supporter, Francois is one of best examples how to change the company from the inside.

Mark Tekunoff from Kingston Technology talked about Kingston HyperX line-up and how the memory been designed for overclockers by overclockers and wished them all good luck.

James Lee of Enermax fame gave a speech about their power supplies and how they modified the PSU design to make it more OC friendly. Just like Francois, he ended up with wishing the overclockers good luck. Out of all, his company was most on the line, as a good PSU is that fine line between "overclocking yes" and "overclocking fail". This was also the reason why Enermax came out with the big guns – a 1.05KW PSU for this hardware setup should be enough for a 5 GHz clock and beyond ;)

Speeches ended up with Jack Chen, Channel Marketing Manager from nVidia Corporation, giving out a short speech about the technologies from the other giant in Santa Clara and wished all the best to the overclockers.

After the opening speeches, they all take a group photo together before the overclocking event really had begun.

Then, the overclockers begin to prep their hardware to start overclocking. You can take a note that almost every overclocker had a different approach on how to insulate the CPUs. As we all know – a single drop of water created by condensated humidity is enough to kill a motherboard and even the $1000 CPU. Thus, it came as no surprise that clockers hoped that their way was the right way for the conditions in the room, and gettign this right meaning that you’re half-way done to winning the competition.

 

Some opeted to start off with water-cooling to begin with, and then follow up with LN2…

And here are some tools of the trade…

As you can see, there aren’t any rules[other than use provided parts]… overclockers use different methods and all in all, this brings us memories about how car racing developed – the different methods resulted in wildely different resutls. Overclocking is no different – these "engines" work the same, but the way how to cool them varies greatly from overclocker to overclocker.

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And the prep continued… with some overclockers using good luck charms. We didn’t notice any ritual dancing, but it was too early in the day.

Most of the overclockers went on to boot up the CPU first and see how it would go, but the other approach calls for an immediate overclock of everything, in order to see the limits of the setup itself, followed by upgauging of each individual component. This GTX260 won’t be cooled by air… ever again.

After the prep has finished, the overclockers began to test their hardware’s boundaries remembering that they can only go to about -108C until the Intel processors begin to become affected by the extreme cold. This is commonly known as a cold bug, but in reality what is happening is that the transistors at that temperature no longer become semi-conductors and start to become conductors. That is when they basically lose thier functionality as processors. It is interesting to see that now, the tide has turned and Intel has a CPU that suffers from the "cold bug", while AMD’s Phenom II processors can go to as low as -200C, as witnessed in an YouTube video. This is a complete reversal from a year ago, but this is how this industry moves.

Yes, this is a superoverclockerman.

The overclockers predominately use Styrofoam cups because they are insulated and make good funnels when regular funnels would simply freeze up. From one side, one could argue this isn’t exactly a "green" activity, from another – you cannot argue that these guys didn’t "cool the planet" with all the LN2 that evaporated into thin air.

Unlike several recent competitions, there were virtually no limits here… overclockers went to overclock the GTX260-216 cards with LN2 and achieve the highest score in 3DMark06…

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Then the overclockers began to get into the zone and start going for scores and possibly even records. At first, the overclockers did SuperPi calculations as benchmarks and then moved towards 3DMark06.

One of the very smart ways to avoid condensation is the submersive method. This system is not actually submerged under water, but rather under a fairly expensive mineral non-conductive fluid. Not only does it dissipate heat, but it also helps prevent condensation which most overclockers know can be the death of any component when benching below the dew point. You could use cooking oil as well, but then any issue would result in throwing the motherboard and every other submerged component away. As the time progresses, we expect to see a lot of overclockers switching to the submerged method of cooling the motherboard, memory, graphics etc – as it is a great time saver when it comes to insulation.

As you can see for yourself, Charles Wirth a.k.a. FUGGER is not using an LN2 Pot to cool down Intel’s CPU. Fugger’s special sauce is using a cascade setup. This device is capable of delivering subzero temperatures consistently and reliably allowing for stable overclocks and high scores. Many of these are capable of reaching as low as -150 degrees Celsius. This one was running at a good temperature as FUGGER was at the front of the pack all day long, even though he was not necessarily competing for the win because he and Vapor were both already going to Taiwan. The reason is simple: "defending champion" title.

In all honesty, this is the setup we personally like the most, because unlike LN2 and its time limitations [you have to continuously pour LN2 into the pot], you can even game using a cascade vapor-chamber concept – you should be able to run the system for days with no issues…

If you’re loaded with the dough, you can get a setup built for yourself too, but be prepared to write a lowly five-figure check. Make sure that you squeeze him out for a GPU cascade as well. We know that both Intel and AMD use Fugger’s cascades in their R&D facilities.

Cascade setup from the other side of the table.

 

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As the time moved on, the overclockers continued to do their own thing and had a good time. Regardless of the awards in the tournament, spirits were up throughout the competition.

 

Here is one of the Gigabyte staffers pouring LN2 out of the Dewars into thermoses for the overclockers to use.

Here are some filled LN2 thermoses waiting to be poured.

Here are some Super PI results 15 minutes before the end of the superpi half of the event. Gigabyte opted to go for highest scores in Super PI 8M. The lowest number of seconds needed to calculate eight million iterations – wins. Note where the cascading setup is compared to the "conventional" LN2 setups.

And here are some 3DMark06 results that came in the second half as well…

Here are some more shots of the LN2/Mineral setup as this setup was the most unique and intrigued us the most. You can see that the whole setup is around 10cm deep into the mineral liquid.

 

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Seven minutes before the 3DMark06 part of the event concluded, more people were standing than sitting as the pressure to achieve a good result.

Here is some LN2 being poured int the Copper Pot… LN2 functions at a -196C temperature, but don’t think that this 4.6 GHz CPU setup churns out less than 200 Watts of heat. Once you start clocking the Core i7, TDP [Thermal Design Power] will shoot up through the sky… and that is the reason why Intel isn’t selling 3.5 or 4.0 GHz models – 3.2W is specc’ed at 120-130W and that is a stable wattage bin for an i7 with Turbo mode on [3.33 GHz, Ed.]. 3.6 GHz would probably fluctuate around 160W TDP, but with Turbo mode reaching 3.73 GHz, you could have a repeat of Prescott-like TDPs.

Here are some other setups as well…

Notice the ice build up as a result of all that cold air…

This is not a gum, but you’re not exactly far off. Once that the competiton part was over, some overclockers went to quickly tear the setup apart, change what they feel it was necessary and get back into the action. Same thing applied for some setups where components went "poof".

Updated 3DMark06 scoreboard – four minutes before the end of the run, it was just enough time to do one final push – you can compare this to Formula 1 racing, four minutes before the end of qualifying session, all the cars go out on the track to get that one final qualifying lap. In this case, the award was a ticked to Taiwan and a lot of dough.

Some shots people trying to get in one last run…

The last second…. will the scoreboard change and Fugger finally meet his match?

The answer will be revealed soon.

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After the 3DMark06 scores had been collected, the judges began to add up the overclockers’ scores in order to determine who had won between SuperPi and 3DMark06 with the competitor with the most points winning the competition. The overclockers were given a 30 minute break between the end of benching and the announcement of the winner in order to give judges some time to calculate the final order and of course, the winner.

And the winner is announced….

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The winner is Jeremiah Allen e.g. Miahallen. Note that the Fugger was excluded as "already qualified".

While second place goes to…

Jeremy Clifton a.k.a. Sno.Icn .

While the third place went to…

Mark LeaMaster a.k.a. Maxi .

Here is Miahallen getting his prize from Tony and Francois…

The interesting part was that the show was not over then. In a real case of camaraderie, Francois from Intel actually awarded two intel X25-M SSDs to those two individuals who scored the lowest as both of them had the unfortunate accident of working on hardware that was unresponsive and at times did not give them any scores or points at all… for the next time around, we would advise that a tournament organizer does have one or two setups as backups, if things go awry. Not all hardware can handle the pressure of sub -100C temperatures.

 

Here is Guatam recieving his consolation prize in addition to all of the overclockers getting to keep their GPUs and motherboards.

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Here is a picture of all of the winners with a representative from each of the sponsors.

The person with on the left is Rita from Gigabyte, and she could have been considered the life of the party.

Here are the winners with their celebratory bottles of champagne.

Here is a picture of all of the overclockers with the sponsors’ representatives.

All of the competitors received commemorative plaques to congratulate them on making it this far…

Conclusion on the next page: Coverage of the freestyle overclocking session where the overclockers went for world records in a very laid back manner.

After a good night’s sleep… or just partying – the overclockers gathered in the room again and started to work on their setups, preparing for overclocking with various hardware going for various world records.

Some triple-SLI GTX285 lovin’….

For those who dont know, that is indeed vaseline which is intended to insulate the board and components from condensation that occurs when using LN2 (liquid nitrogen). In a way, vaseline was much simpler to apply than variation of flexible gums – then again, after this competition was over, these motherboards were going to be given back to the overclockers.

Here are some overclockers with Rita from Gigabyte…

And here are some people’s setups for that day…

And look… someone got bored with LN2…

That little boy is actually TiTon’s little 5 year old son helping his dad out while overclocking…as they say, you can never start too early.

And there you have it… the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition.

Here are some of the final results and scores from the main competition…

 Once again, we would like to thank Gigabyte and all of the sponsors for making this event possible and we cannot wait to see the results in June when the finals in Taiwan are held. Good luck to all and happy overclocking.