Neither Romania nor Russia, the two big favorites for this year’s cup, can call themselves HWBOT Country Cup Champions in 2012. Outsider Poland took the title with an impressive set of overclocking results. After getting close in the two previous editions (3rd in 2009, 5th in 2010), this year finally turned into a succes story! By winning four out of seven stages and finishing top-3 in all but one stage, consistency and quality was the foundation of their stunning victory
1. The Country Cup
Every year, HWBOT organizes an online overclocking competition called HWBOT Country Cup, which is invites overclockers from around the world to defend their national flag during a month and a half to two month during challenge. This year’s Country Cup was a little bit different than the previous editions with 3 different levels of competition stages (7 stages in total), each with their own requirements and point scheme. Stage limitations varied from only needing a single score to five members contributing to the country average, from pushing a single core Sempron to overclocking a 4-way SLI configuration, from the still widely appreciated 3DMark01 benchmark to the now widely despised PCMark7 … the Country Cup is about variety and team work.
2. Stage 1 to 4: UCBench2011, Wprime1024M, 3DMark01 and Memory Clock.
Stages 1 through 4 were all 10-day campaigns requiring five submissions to form an average score per country. The stage wins went to Poland (2x) and Greece (2x), proving both were ready to take this year’s title. Poland showed right from the start they were serious about winning this competition, keeping their best scores until the last day to submit. The sandbagging wasn’t necessary, however, given the quality of the results they submitted: the 55k+ 3DMark01 of G.Foyle, crushing the competition, Ryba’s golden Sempron 145 resulting in a new global top score for 1x CPU Wprime102M and Xtreme Addict’s 6.7G+ Core i5 661 are just few of the top scores set by the Polish team. The Greek team excelled in consistency throughout these stages. Setting high-level scores across the board made it difficult for teams that didn’t have five top results to compete. Noteworthy are performances of Russia, Bulgaria and Indonesia for reaching a top-3 during these stages as well.
Breakdown of the top scores:
- 2x Global record (Xtreme Addict’s UCBench2011 and Ryba’s Wprime1024M)
- 7x Global top-5
- 54x Hardware record
- 160x Hardware top-5
- Most active countries (result): Indonesia (89), Bulgaria (80), Canada (59)
- Most active countries (members): Bulgaria (24), Indonesia (23), Poland (17)
- Highest score/member ratio: Greece (4.09), Indonesia (3.87), Canada (3.69)
More information on the stages:
- Stage 1: Dual Core UCBench2011
- Stage 2: 3DMark01 IGP
- Stage 3: Wprime 1024M 1,2,4,6,8-Core
- Stage 4: Memory Clock
3. Stages 5 and 6: Heaven DX9 and PCMark7
The two level2 stages required less people to contribute to the final score, but did increase the amount of points to win from 10 to 15. In other words, teams that were planning on winning had to step up their game and push harder. Poland and Greece continued their winning streak from stages 1 to 4 and ended up respectively 1st and 2nd in Stage 5. Stage 6, based on the PCMark7 benchmark, turned out to be surprisingly difficult for the Polish team, finishing only 6th, whereas their main competitors Greece and Indonesia took places 2 and 1. Rather surprisingly, Belgium took 3rd place in the PCMark7 stage, one which was not loved by many competitors. Statements like “Seriously, hate it” and “This stage will be complete fail” give you an idea of how unloved this one was. Hate or not, it was still a part of the competition.
Although ending only 2nd in this stage, the Greek team showed why they are regarded as top in the PCMark scene. Not only did they smash the existing top score, they did it on two different platforms. Indonesia did very well too (obviously) and won the stage the same way Greece placed 1st and 2nd in stage 1 through 4: consistency.
Stages 5, based around the Heaven DX9 benchmark, and 6 also brought along a couple of interesting results. Take for instance Xtreme Addicts’ mighty impressive GTX 285 hitting clocks all the way up to 1290/1550 or the already mentioned top scoring Stelaras hitting 8902 points in PCMark7.
Breakdown of top scores:
- 3x Global record (AMDNord’s PCMark7, Stelaras’ PCMark7 and Aristidis’ PCMark7)
- 13x Global top-5
- 26x Hardware record
- 76x Hardware top-5
- Most active countries (result): Indonesia (33), Greece (24), United States (24)
- Most active countries (members): Indonesia (16), Bulgaria (9), Hungary (9)
- Highest score/member ratio: Portugal (4.40), Greece (4.00), Belgium (3.00)
More information on the stages:
4. Stage 7: 3DMark11
The highlight of this year’s Country Cup competition was stage 7. Only one submission per country was required, but given the difficulty of the stage limitation (AMD CPU, no GPU limitation) 25 points were awarded to the winning score. The HWBOT staff tested this configuration a couple of weeks before the competition was announced and having experienced the level of difficulty, we were aware that this stage was likely to be decisive for the final ranking. After all, it wasn’t just a matter of picking the right hardware (Bulldozer or Thuban), but also figure out how to hit top frequencies on the CPU core, the CPU memory controller, the memory itself as well as the graphics cards. Certainly no easy task.
Several teams did seem to underestimate the challenge involved with this stage. Greece, for instance, submitted their only result in the last 5 minutes of the competition! Indonesia as well as Poland suffered from efficiency problems, causing them to lose several hundred points in the benchmark. Nevertheless, the three main contenders for the Country Cup title put their cards on the table, each running a full LN2 4-Way SLI setup. The difficulty of such system cannot be underestimated and even just for attempting to run this kind of configuration, they each deserve a medal of bravery.
In the end, it was Poland that took the win, hitting well over 6800MHz on an AMD Bulldozer with 4x GTX580 at 1050/1150. Indonesia came close, with a 6600MHz CPU and the graphics cards clocked at a very solid 1150/1200. Greece, finally, came in third with a CPU clocked at just a bit below 6300MHz and the four graphics card running at 1100/1150. Extremely impressive achievements to say the least. Looking further down the rankings, we also spot Hungary running almost 6.9GHz on their FX-8150 as well as a bunch of 3-Way SLI configurations.
More information on the stage:
5. Bits of controversy
Before we come to the conclusive lines, let us shed some light on a few topics of controversy which arose during the competition.
- A. Deleting submissions – Due to an internal problem related to the distribution of the prizes, one member of a team moved the scores he submitted to the competition to a different country. However, since this happened after the competition had been closed (and final ranking was made), this will have no effect on the final ranking or prize distribution.
- B. Hardware sharing – In stage 4, one of the teams apparently shared memory sticks across submissions. Hardware sharing is indeed not allowed, but the HWBOT staff believes that it wasn’t clear enough at the start of the competition. The memory clock stage revolved around memory overclocking using different platforms (not memory itself), which might have confused members. The staff takes full responsibility for this problem and will not remove the submissions made in that stage. The staff will use a different approach in future competitions.
- C. X58A-OC mainboard – After the competition finished, a member noticed a strange relation between the IMC and memory clock for certain submissions in stage 4. We looked into the issue and the reported frequencies seem legit. Further research is necessary, but what the outcome may be, the validations count for this competition. More info: link.
6. Conclusive lines
With over 1,000 results submitted, the HWBOT Country Cup 2011 is statistically speaking a success. About 250 overclockers from around the world stepped up and held their country’s honor high. Not only can we say that the top teams of this year (Poland, Greece and Indonesia) put up a consistent set of top scores, lots of other countries put up a good fight with the resources available. Take Canada, for instance: with few results on liquid nitrogen they managed to secure 9th place overall. Or Mr.Paco and Chuckgunz from Puerto Rico, securing a solid 16th place being just by the two of them. Or the United States: nowhere in the beginning, but thanks to a very strong finish perfect landing in the top-10.
From the pictures posted by various members in the forum topic, we can safely assume that the Country Cup was, again, good for countless hours of shared fun. Whether that was shared across the internet or physically benching in one room, sharing our passion for overclocking is what the HWBOT Country Cup series is all about. In any case, we take what we learned this year and how to see you all for next year’s competition!
Information regarding the winners of our custom Country Cup cooling gear will follow in the forums.
HWBOT Country Cup 2012 Champions: Yotomeczek, ryba (PurePC.pl), Xtreme Addict, Chaos, Opson, G.Foyle, RemiKo, koziro, TM3K-, VapoR., CoY0t, KUBA TM, Lisqu, Khalam, ViNG, Mariosti, and metka.
For feedback regarding HWBOT competitions, please check out this forum thread: http://hwbot.org/forum/showthread.php?t=36694.