Today on Overclocker in Focus we are treated to an engrossing conversation with one of Europe’s most seasoned Elite overclockers. Leeghoofd is Belgium’s current No.1, a team leader and massive contributor for the Madshrimps Belgium OC Team, and by all accounts a really nice guy too. We get him talking about his slow rise up the ranks at HWBOT and his thoughts and hopes regarding the future of the game.
The Interview Transcript
HWBOT: Hi Leeghoofd. Welcome to our Overclocker in Focus series. Please introduce yourself.
Leeghoofd: Ok, my real name is Albrecht Mesotten, you can blame my parents for that. Nickname, known on HWBOT and the Overclocking scene as Leeghoofd. So Dutch pronunciation, maybe I can tell you a little on where I got it from.
I’m living in Belgium, so the same origin as the leader of HWBOT, Massman. And we’re still with the Madshrimps Overclocking team. So Belgian based, PJ in fact introduced me together with ‘Blind’ to the team and started LN2 overclocking so… yeah, still happy to be there.
HWBOT: What is your educational background?
Leeghoofd: I’m an air traffic controller, usually people start to laugh [laughs] because they know me and I’m a joking guy all the time and stuff like that. But yeah… normal education so just graduation of high school, went straight to the air traffic controller school, did about three years of courses there. I’m doing the job now already twenty years now so. Pretty happy with that.
It’s a pretty diverse job. Stress, stuff like that but it was good because I only worked like a few days a week so I could also focus on the hobby. Now I became an instructor there’s less time for the hobby and less overclocking for me as well. But that’s the way it is.
HWBOT: When did you start overclocking?
Leeghoofd: Good question because I’m really old already so I have to think. I think it’s about twelve years ago. Game-based in the beginning because, like most people I think that start overclocking. You reach the limitation of your system playing games, you want a certain number of frames per second, yeah? So you start looking, browsing the Internet, what’s going on? How can I improve, let’s say the performance of my setup without wasting too much cash. So without buying always the high-end products.
That’s also why I started looking at Overclocking. In those days we’re still talking about a few megahertz difference, single core CPUs and now of course it’s totally different. Everything has become a little more relaxed to overclock. But yeah even due to the fact that I didn’t have an electronical background I still managed to overclock my system and get more performance for the buck.
HWBOT: What has been your greatest achievement?
Leeghoofd: I think especially with Madshrimps, it was when we won the Team Cup. So on HWBOT we have maybe seventy members, but in fact we only have like three or four real active members. And we managed to get together and do like all the scores and we grabbed the win which was quite impressive especially if you’re facing teams from Greece and stuff like that. So real renowned overclockers. Because you could match their scores and even beat them and grab the win and it was like er…tell a lie, two years ago, so quite a good show. Of course everything was really hectic at that time because we were benching each night for almost two months. So a lot of issues with the wives, but we managed to sort it out though…
That was one of my best moments, and also I think the first moment I came to Taipei when PJ qualified for the GIGABYTE GOOC in 2009? Pj, I’m still not remembering… something like that. So also my first visit to Taipei and in fact meet the people who you are chatting with, Skyping with, ICQ even in those days. So it was like real fun. That’s also one of the things that keeps me motivated, to be part of the community and come to Taipei and hook up with everybody.
HWBOT: How do you see the overclocking scene today?
Leeghoofd: I think it’s become really more professional. Even just compared to the guys who are shooting right now, Overclocking TV. If you see the equipment that they had in 2009, now all the things they do; the camera, the recording, the streaming.. So everything has evolved big-time.
I don’t know if we’re like at a peak at the moment, regarding what we can do or what we can’t do, but also I think the companies are more into the scene. Maybe we have reached a peak and it might go just a little bit up, a little bit down. I don’t know how it will evolve. But I think together with the eSports of gaming it’s like booming. Especially if you see all the competitions we have at HWBOT now, right now it’s like overwhelming in fact.
HWBOT: Where do you see overclocking in five years from now?
Leeghoofd: I only hope the only way is up but… that’s the question. I think we always need new hardware. That’s one of the things and Intel is really spoiling us. I think everybody is looking forward to AMD now, if they are able to fight back, because everybody is getting a little bit tired of the current generation CPUs and stuff that we’re having right now. So we need a little boost.
Where will it end? I hope we can manage via HWBOT they can reach like the same level as eSPORTS gaming. Maybe I little bit ask too much, but it would be nice if we could evolve into that same direction. So let’s keep up the good work and keep on fighting.
HWBOT: Your advice to someone just getting started?
Leeghoofd: Don’t aim for the top scores straight at the beginning. So I also did radio-controlled RC cars. The OC people stepping into a hobby they are buying the most expensive gear, all the stuff – of course if everything works out, it’s motivating. But if you break stuff, and you can kill motherboards, graphics cards if you’re not into it, maybe bad insulation. So start slow. Also join a team. At HWBOT they have the Rookie Cup, stuff like that where you can get acquainted, get maybe invited by a team. Hook up for a team session and that’s when you gain experience.
But keep keep it at a slow pace maybe at the beginning. Low-end hardware and then just build it up. Just build it up and you will always… it’s the same with me I started on air-cooling, water cooling, single-stage phase, dry ice cooling and finally we reach LN2. So if you want to do extreme stuff maybe keep it cheap in the beginning, and just build experience.
Also we’ve seen a lot of members at Madshrimps that start ferociously and then after six months they are like.. hhmm. Maybe this is not my thing. But now he has all the LN2 pots, dewers, stuff like that which in the beginning cost a lot of cash. And then they get like… What’s the revenue? What’s the thing for me?
And the thing that always… don’t expect that you will get like free hardware from the start. Everybody thinks, I’m an overclocker now, I just need to call somebody and they will send me motherboards, GPUs. You need to evolve in it. Do the networking thing and that’s when it all starts working in the end, but it usually takes quite some time. It’s not like it will be all done in one year. It takes years to, let’s say get established in the community as well.
HWBOT: What do you think of Taiwan?
Leeghoofd: Besides it is always too hot? [laughs] Yeah, we are at the Mecca of hardware so what better place to be? Also to me, it’s like I said, all the overclockers, all the contacts with the companies as well. Some are even good looking. Adaline… It’s like that you need to address, to speak to people face to face. That’s what I think is best.
So I think yeah, why not. And we visited with Madshrimps CeBit before, one of the conventions in Hannover. We see that less and less products are introduced there. They are keeping it all for Las Vegas, CES or Computex Taiwan so… I think it’s the best place to be in fact.