HWBOT Tales of Taipei #2 - Gigabench, ASRock OC magic, MSI, MOA and some unseen/odd/funny bits

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HWBOT Tales of Taipei #2 – Gigabench, ASRock OC magic, MSI, MOA and some unseen/odd/funny bits

Author: Pieter-Jan Plaisier

Quite some time has passed since my first report of what’s going on in the center of hardware. Although it may seem quiet, a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. Not only did MSI create a sudden rise in overclockers staying in Taiwan, we’ve seen a couple of new overclocking records and new CPU releases. Being able to check in with the vendors on a (much more) regular basis gives an interesting insight on how product launches are prepared and what role overclocking plays in that. Sadly enough most of the discussions I have are under strict NDA, so you’ll have to do with the following report. Enjoy!

Benching at Gigabyte, part 2.

As you read in the first report, GIGABYTE HQ was so friendly arrange a cubicle for Neo (The Overclocker – new issue coming very soon!) and myself. This cubicle is actually empty most of the time – I’m not checking in at GIGABYTE every day – and somehow it was even taken over by other overclockers a couple of weeks ago. Having a dedicated place to test is quite handy, I must say. Not only do I have access to more hardware than I can ever overclock, it also comes with liquid nitrogen on-demand as well as a dedicated Hicookie to help debug the system. Well … that is if he’s not busy eating popcorn. Or benching that 7.1G CPU.

So what have I been testing? Not that much to be honest. In the first couple of weeks I mainly focused on Trinity. You can read more about that in the HWBOT Testlab #1 report. Next to that, I’ve been running batch tests with about 60 different CPUs for a project that has been partially leaked but I can’t quite talk about in detail yet. Aside from that, not a lot of benching.

ASRock … now I get the awesome memory overclocking.

A couple of weeks ago, I also visited the famous overclocker NickShih at his office in ASRock. Not to bench, but just to go over a couple of new ideas and check out his work environment. Interestingly, when I was there Nick was about to test a new set of BBSE memory to improve the overclocking capability on the Z77 OC Formula. He also showed this 32GB memory kit we reported about a while back. The Z77 OC Formula is well known for the memory overclocking capabilities and checking out his desk drawer I found out why. Now I know …


Having visited both GIGABYTE and ASRock, obviously I couldn’t refuse visiting MSI as well. Throughout September, the boys and girls (well, mostly girls) were very busy preparing the MOA Grand Final. In general, I was very impressed with the effort and engagement. In fact, they worked every night ’till very late and often also in the weekend! MOA is a pretty big event, folks … a lot bigger and stressful than most of you think it is. On our Facebook page, we uploaded a bunch of MOA-related pictures. Also, check out OCTV’s aftermovie – it has amazing first-person footage!

Anyway, since I was over there during the MOA preparation, I tried to help out as much as I could with stuff like testing hardware (BIOS, OC issues), spontaneously giving my opinion and moral support. In addition to that, I also quickly played with the MOA setup beforehand, but I struggled so much with the GTX680 Lightning (-snip-) and it’s Red Screen Of Death I gave up rather quickly. Also, I had the opportunity to test the GTX660 Twin Frozr of which you can read the test here. During the testing, I had some issues getting AfterBurner to work properly and when I reported the issue to my main contact, well …, the called up the engineer in charge. Who then, well …, kind of fixed the issue on the spot! Handy, I must say, very handy.

You know what – I really like the little cubicle at GIGABYTE HQ. It’s nice and comfortable. But, to be honest, I like the meeting room I got at MSI a lot better. Want to bench? No problem, here’s a beamer and a room with 35 chairs! That was only a one-time thing, though, as the next week I was moved to a small meeting room downstairs that featured only 4 chairs and an annoyingly powerful air-conditioner.

Coolermaster’s test lab.

Last week, I also had a quick visit at Coolermaster. Nothing special to report about Coolermaster (yet), but here are some pictures of the in-house test lab (Saaya’s play room). Neat!

Some odd and funny things.

Once in a while things get a bit weird in Taipei. Not so much because of the culture – that is a challenge too – but just because of life itself. Take for instance Nvidia’s rather successful attempt in stopping me from disclosing any secret information regarding their latest no-voltage-no-overclocking policies by sending over two company representatives to have a chat. Or perhaps the Swedish overclocking king Elmor crashing in my apartment after yet-another late night party the day before he’s supposed to catch a plane back home. That’s the same Elmor thumbs-upping the huge amount of LN2 at the entrance of MOA, by the way.

Things aren’t much better at the GIGABYTE side of life. Not only was I shocked by the disturbingly large amount of paper towels Hicookie had lying around in the office – what is he doing with those?? – I was also pleasantly surprised to receive a bunch of GOOC 2013 promotional t-shirts. At least, that’s what I think they were … based on the recent leak by OCTV. Also, I found this strange-looking daughterboard at the office. Not sure what it is … but I think I’ve seen it somewhere else before. In any case, without any doubt the weirdest moment at GIGABYTE was when they told me about “Dino’s World”. I was already very suspicious when entering that place and now that I visited it, seriously, I do not recommend anyone to go there.

Actually, coming to think of it, sometimes GIGABYTE can be pretty creepy. I’m not sure, but I think they are spying on me … I’m not sure I want to watch TV anymore. Oh, and to end on an extremely positive note – I also managed to get a local restaurant closed because it promoted sharing! No, no … sharing is not allowed my friends. Gotcha, cheaters, gotcha big time!!

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