The first quarter of 2015 has drawn to a close making it a great time to take stock of exactly what has been happening in that time at HWBOT and OC-ESPORTS. Here’s an analytical glance at three crucial months that are leading up to what appears to be a truly landmark year in the world of competitive overclocking.
General Summary: The OC Scene Continues to Grow
Arguably, the main mission of HWBOT, and more recently OC-ESPORTS has been the attempt to grow the overclocking scene and bring new blood to the community. If you take a snapshot of the number of new member registrations in the last two years it is obvious that this is going quite well. A quick glance at the graph below tells the story in no uncertain terms, outlining a gradual and sustained boost in registrations from mid-2013 to today.
Taking a look at overall activity numbers in terms of members and score submissions, again it is a very positive picture, indicating that the new breed of HWBOT members are active members contributing to increased competitiveness at all levels of the scene.
The above graphs paint a vivid picture of growth that doubtless owes a great deal to the launch of XTU back in mid-2013. However, if you take Q1 2015 in isolation you can see that by almost all metrics it was the busiest quarter on record. Here is one salient fact that underlines that assertion:
— Q1 2015 saw more overclocking submissions, by more overclockers, in more contests than ever before —
- Active Overclockers: 1,600
- OC Contests: 32
- Benchmark Submissions: 11,000
These numbers make very positive reading, illustrating unequivocally that the OC scene is in a healthy condition with rising participation and overall growth. One area where that growth is particularly pleasing, is at the lowest rung on the OC ladder, the newest and freshest members we lovingingly refer to as the Rookies.
More Rookies Rumble than Ever Before
The definition of a Rookie on OC-ESPORTS is a member who signed up less than three months to date. These guys (and hopefully gals too) are at an early developmental stage where they are gradually acquiring and honing the basic skills sets needed to compete with more experienced overclockers.
The Rookie Rumble is a contest dedicated to Rookies only. Rookie Rumble #16 set a new precedent for the number of participants involved and number of submissions and users since the contest’s inauguration. Round #16 saw well over a thousand submissions, with 407 participants getting involved.
The Inaugural Novice Nimble
Q1 2015 also saw the first ever edition of the Novice Nimble. The Novice Nimble has similar aims to the Rookie Rumble in that it is an attempt to give newer players space to compete and progress. However, one key difference is that it requires overclockers to work together as teams. The contest took place over five stages with each stages combining 3 scores to form a team average. The team with the best average got the most points, with the first ever crown going to team Cowcotland of France.
For an entirely new contest contest, it was great to see the Novice Nimble attract 48 participants forming 21 teams who made a total of 265 submissions.
(A. Coppens rig shot during the Novice Nimble #1)
Here’s what Cowcotland Captain Martin_White had to say: “The concept [of Novice Nimble] is very good. This challenge allows the old Rookies to get back in competition with overclockers of the same level”.
The Continued Rise of the Intel XTU Project
The Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) is a software application that allows you to fine-tune the settings of your Intel CPU. There are various tweakable settings including frequency, voltage and others that allow you to fully customize your PC’s configuration. In short, it makes overclocking very accessible to newcomers and includes an in-built benchmark that can be submitted to HWBOT at the click of a button.
Developed in cooperation with Intel, XTU has now become a standard benchmark in several contest stages on OC-SPORTS. The influence of XTU as a means of expanding overclocking to a broader audience is in evidence if you look at the numbers. Since its introduction XTU has engaged 32,000 overclockers who between them have mustered 156,000 submissions and 188,000 XTU profiles.
The rising trend that we have witnessed in the last year or so since its launch in mid-2013 continues throughout Q1 2015. Check out the activity chart below.
Q1 2015: Hardware in Focus
Let’s take a moment to look at the hardware that has been benched in the last three months in a little more detail. According to the data collected in Q1 2015 we can interpret the outlines of what makes typical Mainstream and High-End systems. A high-end rig using a Core i7 5960X, a GTX 980 and 16GB of DDR4 2400 will set you back just under $3,000 USD. A mainstream system with a Core i7 4770K, GTX 970 and 8GB of DDR3 will cost in the region of $1,200 USD.
It’s always interesting to look at overall SKU transition as one technology gives way to newer, faster and more powerful ones. The slide below shows that Q1 of this year did not see any major shifts in Intel processor platforms being benched. Haswell remains the lion’s share, while Haswell-E continues slowly grow.
When it comes to the method of cooling used in the last quarter we can clearly see the influence of the growing Rookie League. Air cooling, All-in-One Water cooling and even stock cooling have shown rising trends in Q1. Custom water cooling has shown a dip compared to previous years, as has LN2.
More Contests, More Overclockers and More Submissions
If you asked most overclockers in the last few years what they would most like to see happen to the OC scene, undoubtedly you would have heard a call to grow the scene in two areas; more overclockers and more contests. Take a look at the chart below and you will see that in the last few months we have witnessed a massive boost in terms of both of those metrics, plus a very healthy boost in overall submissions.
This great news for the scene as a whole, pointing to a bright future for overclocking as an Esport. OC-SPORTS currently has more contests running than ever with the Novice Nimble and Old School is Best School contests representing two of the newest contests added to the roster during Q1 2015. When you throw in the Pro OC series, seven Challenger Divisions plus ROG competitions and other contests from sponsors GSkill and GIGABYTE, it’s easy to see why this quarter has been the busiest ever.
If we consider League representation for participation during Q1 2015, it’s easy to see how the Novices and in particular the Rookies are now the most represented leagues by some distance.
As well as contests like the Rookie Rumble and the Novice Nimble which offer an arena for less experienced overclockers with restricted budgets, the rise and influence of the Intel XTU Project must also be considered a major factor in the growth of overclocking in the last year or so.
Here’s looking ahead to a competitive Q2 2015!