Last week we wrapped up the final stop of the World Tour 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (photos on Facebook). The global tour featured six events and spanned five different continents. It was a success in every sense of the word. We connected with 627 overclockers worldwide, the majority of whom were new to the scene. The tradeshows and gaming events we visited had an accumulated attendance of over 250,000 people, and we reached over 150,000 people via livestreams on Twitch. Hundreds of articles appeared across the web and the response from the participants was overwhelmingly positive in most cases. It was great and I look forward to next year!
Choosing Indonesia as the last stop of the World Tour has a symbolic meaning too. It was in 2014 that we understood we needed to put a lot of effort into pushing amateur overclocking, through reaching-out to enthusiasts and running OC workshops. It was at the same tradeshow (Yogyakomtek) that we witnessed the power of JagatReview’s Amateur OverClocking Tournament (AOCT).
Throughout the week I enjoyed seeing new amateurs push the Core i5 6600K to its limits as well as witnessing the five new extreme overclockers who attend the World Series competition. Perhaps the most inspiration I found however, was in conversations with Dedy and Alva from JagatReview and Benny from GIGABYTE’s distributor in Indonesia; three people who were right there at the beginning of (competitive) overclocking in Indonesia, in the year 2000.
I want to share their story with you.
Bandung, at the Turn of the Millennium
(Story by Dedy and Alva)
The year is 1999 (or perhaps the one before that). It was before the era of forums and social networks. Yahoo Groups, Mailing lists and IRC channels were the main means of connecting over the internet. In Indonesia, a computer shop catering to PC enthusiasts decided it was time to have a meeting to show off their high-performance PCs. The first gathering was organized in Bandung, Indonesia later that year. One year later, the computer shop owner (“Rocky”) started the Indonesian overclocking community OCindo and reached out to CHIP magazine Indonesia to collaborate on organizing overclocking events in Bandung and Jakarta.
Among the participants there was a young padawan called Alva Jonathan nicknamed “Lucky_n00b” who entered the competition using his uncle’s credentials. He would soon be forced out due to an unstable overclock.
The competition we had in the year 2000 was very different from the competitions we have today. The major concern was not so much the performance in benchmarks, but rather a combination of ultimate stability and performance. After the contestant had configured his system, the judge (not the overclocker!) ran a series of tests to assess both stability and performance. The first test – installing the Windows operating system using an optical drive. Benchmarks included SysMark for example.
The system builds were classified as high-end and low-end for both Intel (Pentium and Celeron) and AMD (Athlon and Duron). This would ensure fair rules and an equal playing field. As much as overclockers enjoy finding loopholes in the rules today, the same happened more than 15 years ago. Here are a couple of examples:
As the rules stated that the PC must be built inside a system case, the participants would choose the biggest tower they could find. The main reason being that a large case would have less problems with heat buildup. Later the rules became less restrictive and overclockers were no longer required to bring the components in a case.
According to Alva, the point system was much more complex than it is today. Points were added or subtracted based on (in)-stability and performance over a baseline score. On one occasion, the baseline was set by the judge by running the system prior to overclocking. The trick to win was to make sure the system throttled during the baseline benchmarking, allowing for a higher increase over baseline to score more points. The rules were adjusted for later competitions.
Another competition featured a percentage frequency overclock stage. Aside from finding the best overclocking CPU, the trick was to find the lowest frequency SKU within a product series. Much like Boblemagnifique’s choice of the Geode NX 1250 during the Team Cup 2014
As the competitions improved year over year, the rulebook became thicker in an attempt to address all possible exceptions and loopholes. The highest attendance for this kind of competition was about 40 people. Events occurred multiple times a year in cities like Bandung, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
VR-Zone’s Ice Rink and Vendor Involvement
(Story by Benny and Alva)
Benny Lodewijk still holds the FSB frequency overclocking record, set during the inaugural (and only) season of F1OC. Benny has a long history in overclocking and was one of the driving forces behind the start of GIGABYTE’s successful GOOC campaign. GOOC eventually led GIGABYTE from a tier-two motherboard company, to becoming the behemoth that sold over 20 million units in 2013.
The story picks up in 2005. As the Indonesian rulebook grew in size thanks to passionate enthusiasts like Alva, other countries saw an increase in overclocking competitions too. Nordichardware held their annual Swedish overclocking championship and VR-Zone organized local events in Singapore. VR-Zone is the home forum of Shamino, an overclocker who would later go on to put his mark on the industry, designing some of the best overclocking motherboards.
On June 23, 2006, VR-Zone’s Eskimo Overclocking Contest featured international guests like Benny. The location was an ice rink in Singapore and one of the sponsors was GIGABYTE. A key difference between the events organized in Indonesia and this tournament was that the latter had hardware provided. This point was emphasized by Benny – it was special to have the hardware provided as in Indonesia, you’d usually have to bring your own system to the competition.
The cooling however was not provided by the organization, and some opted for dry ice cooling to compete. The AOCT tournaments still require amateur overclockers to use their own cooling. On occasion this results in hilariously exuberant cooling contraptions.
At that point Benny was working for a computer hardware distributor in Indonesia who had recently added GIGABYTE to their product portfolio. He understood that sponsoring tournaments (like Abit had done before), had helped to promote the hardware they wanted to sell. More importantly, the enthusiasm and passion of the participants was transmitted to their peers on the various internet forums. They were influencers avant la lettre (before it was cool).
Upon return, Benny urged his GIGABYTE partners to host and sponsor an overclocking event. A compromise was made in terms of funding, and GIGABYTE ended up sponsoring the event which would later turn into the GOOC tournament series. One of the people involved with the decision was Tim Handley, at that time Deputy Marketing Director GIGABYTE Motherboard and currently Regional Sales Director at Corsair.
ASUS and MSI would also organize their own overclocking events, each one larger and more global than the last. It was the beginning of a hay-day for some, as budgets for overclocking increased significantly (and perhaps even unreasonably).
Records and Samples
(Story by Benny and Pieter)
The story unfolds as many of us know it. From 2006 to 2010 there was a boom in the number of extreme overclockers. There were plenty of tournaments and ways to qualify. Overclockers were seeded to break records and generate good exposure. It worked well. Leaderboards and databases like the Futuremark ORB, ripping.org and HWBOT fueled and accelerated the drive for overclocking records. Everyone was chasing them and everyone was looking at them. Times were great.
In 2008, Alva joined the local overclocking event Hardwarezone Iron Tech 2008. Via this competition he qualified for the grand final in Taipei for what turned out to be the first final of the annual MSI MOA competition. The competition featured some of the most prominent members of both global and local overclocking communities. Alva teamed up with Ekky and finished at the top of the leaderboard. Last week, Alva ran the AOCT workshops while four of his disciples competed in the World Series alongside Ekky.
The industry thrives on overclocking world records. As years go by, it turns out it’s easier to break records if you hire an overclocker. It also becomes evident that you need a gem processor to break records and the easiest way to achieve this is by sorting through tens, hundreds or even thousands of CPUs. It’s an expensive race to win, with fewer seats on the starting grid each year. Everyone knows this. The yearly overclocking competitions see the same names return. New blood is hard to find.
The World Tour’s Raison d’être
(Story by Dedy and Pieter)
Flash-forward to September 10, 2016. I am on the flight from Jakarta to Taipei putting thoughts into words which slowly form the editorial you’re reading now. We just wrapped up the last of six of this year’s World Tour events, bringing together over 600 overclockers from around the world. The last stop featured the Grand Battle stage of the Amateur OverClocking Tournament 2016 where Alva taught 40 new overclockers how to tune a ‘Skylake’ Core i5 6600K.
The AOCT event is an institution in Indonesia. JagatReview (an Indonesian media hub staffed with former CHIP writers) organizes the event every year. They go to university campuses around the country to teach overclocking. The AOCT has a ban list which disallows former AOCT winners, as well as established overclockers from competing. This ensures that the new overclockers can enjoy a fair competition and gives the new overclockers perspective. After winning AOCT they can participate in international competitions, they say. But not before.
Of the nine overclockers lined up for the World Series qualifier, five started overclocking through the AOCT. Of the four established names, Bboyjezz and Coldest learned from Alva directly. New faces RevOC and Speed.fastest qualified for the semi-final and ended up in fourth and second place respectively. RevOC later said he wants to learn more about extreme overclocking to improve for next time.
During the event I met with the crew of the UNS overclocking team. We took a group picture. The fourteen are part of the overclocking team of the Sebelas Maret University located in Surakarta and one of the spots where JagatReview goes to educate students on hardware and overclocking. They have a recruitment program to enlist new members. They travel by themselves to compete in the amateur competition, much like the enthusiasts traveled to the Bandung overclocking event in 1999. One of the members of the team is ItabellaOC, who not so long ago topped the Rookie League on HWBOT.
The picture with the UNS team symbolizes the raison d’être of the World Tour. Inspired by what we saw attending the AOCT event in 2014, we want to help new overclockers around the world get started. The HWBOT World Tour presents a narrative for new overclockers: start overclocking by joining a workshop and if you continue learning, someday you may find yourself competing in an international extreme overclocking competition, trying to qualify for the World Championship.
In December 2014, AOCT had 96 attendees, which is twice the amount of the highest attended events in the early 2000s. Our World Tour stop in France at Gamers Assembly (in collaboration with MSI Gaming and the FFOC) had 180 people joining the workshop and entering the competition, our best ever yet.
The World Tour and AOCT in Yogyakarta is a place where junior and senior enthusiasts meet. We talk about what makes overclocking interesting, which techniques are the most effective and how it’s funny to witness the struggles of one AOCT contestant whose system is too unstable for a valid screenshot. The UNS team is already preparing for their next event in Bandung where they will overclock AMD hardware. They finish 2nd and 3rd in the competition. RevOC explains his nervousness in the 1v1 rounds caused him to make mistakes, but knows how to get right next time. He did incredibly well during the qualifier and is certainly someone to look out for in the future. In fact, he won the competition in Bandung.
Reminiscing the conversations with Dedy, Alva, Benny and the others this week, I realize that the word ‘samples’ was surprisingly absent. You see, overclocking isn’t about samples. It isn’t just about records. It is about expressing an interest in getting the most out of your computer hardware. It’s about sharing the enthusiasm and passion with others; teaching and inspiring those who want to learn, and celebrating those who distinguish themselves under the most stressful conditions.
That’s what overclocking was about in the year 2000 in Bandung, and that’s what it was about at the World Tour event in 2016 in Yogyakarta.
In the coming months we will host the 2016 World Championship featuring a minimum of three people who have never made it to an international final before. There’s also another edition of the ASUS ROG OC Camp where German enthusiasts will be introduced to the world of extreme overclocking, and of course there’s also our annual online Country Cup to look forward to. The World Tour was amazing, but I’m also kind of happy it’s done for this year.
Until the next one!