Author: Pieter-Jan Plaisier
As HWBOT has rolled into the development of its fifth revision, a couple of new feature have already made it to the production copy of the site. The most prominent change announced for this revision is the transformation of the professional overclockers league into a series of professional overclocking cups. A small difference in title, but therefore not insignificant or unimportant. In this (hopefully) short editorial, we will be going over the principles of the new Cup, explain why the transformation took place and help you get started setting up a Pro OC Team. Enjoy the read!
Introduction – The Overclocking Leagues.
First things first, let’s have a look at the short history of overclocking leagues at HWBOT. The (I guess arguable) fun of competitive overclocking at HWBOT started almost six and a half years ago back in 2006, on November 3rd to be precise. The first revision of the HWBoints (the collective term for everything point related at HWBOT) featured a simple user and team ranking, quite similar to what we have today but less complex and less elaborate. About three months later, on February 11 2007, second revision of the HWBoints was introduced fine-tuning what was deemed not well enough in the initially launch. The third revision came much later, on Christmas day 2009, and featured significant changes affecting the member ranking including redefining the rankings in terms of cores rather than sockets as well as giving more weight to the highly competitive benchmark rankings and limiting the amount of global points that can contribute to your personal ranking. This gave quite a boost to single GPU overclocking as before dual GPU graphics cards were the main choice for overclockers.
Up until the fourth revision of HWBOT, which came to life around June 4 2011, not much had changed to the Teams League apart from side-effects changes to the user leagues had. Following the increasing amount of hardware sharing accusations, the fourth revision introduced team-based benchmark rankings on which the Teams League is now mainly based. This new type of points, TeamPower Points, did mostly eliminate the effect of hardware sharing but also made the Teams League a lot more complicated. A second major change in the fourth revision of the HWBoints, the members league was split up into three different versions: Pro OC League, OC League and Enthusiast League. The OC League is pretty much what the previous member leagues were, rewarding the overclocking efforts with both new and older hardware. The Pro OC League was designed specifically to set apart the so-called Professional overclockers, of which most are unpaid but supported by hardware, from the people that pay everything from their own pocket. The Enthusiast League revolves around overclocking with ambient cooling only and is meant as an easy starting place for new overclockers.
The new HWBoints revision targets specifically the Pro OC League.
Transforming Pro OC from league to cup – Why?
Before we get into the details of how to participate in the new style of professional competitive overclocking at HWBOT, let’s go over the main argumentation on why change to the Pro OC League was needed. There is a lengthy thread regarding this topic in our forums, so for a full discussion you might be interested in reading it through. The full explanation, including all background information, would take up quite a lot of space, so we’ll try to keep it as short as possible.
Simply put: the Pro OC League has no appeal to either the top overclockers participating in it, or the overclockers that don’t participate in it or the tech-linking people that are not overclocking competitively but for daily systems. The idea that a league featuring the best overclockers of the world, benching and testing the most high-end available hardware in a series of benchmarks would in some way entice outsiders to join this fine hobby/competition of ours is not correct. The youngsters of today are the same youngsters of five years ago, with very few additions to the crowd. Surely, there is interest, but given the extremely steep participation curve, most drop out and seek their pleasure elsewhere.
In an attempt to make the most extreme aspect of overclocking more appealing, the new Pro OC Cup changes competition on three different levels: “start and end”, “hardware-centric overclocking” and “teams”.
The league as we know – or should I say knew now – it had no start and no end. As interesting that may sound, it means there’s a lack of winners and closure. From our own viewing rates, we can see that the most visited pages are not the leagues, but competitions such as the Country Cup and Team Cup. In fact, in one month time a Country Cup can generate more views than any of the league tables in a year. Outside of overclocking, this is quite obvious too. No other successful competitive activity has a never-ending league or ranking.
In addition to this problem, most of the benchmark results posted are done with the same systems and same hardware. As spectators have stated in many threads, there is very little appealing about yet another benchmark score with Core i7 3770K and Radeon HD 7970, slightly out-edging the same system someone else was running on the other side of the planet. Even if everyone is aware that it takes a lot of effort to obtain those scores. The leagues are based on a benchmark-centric algorithm that rewards overclockers based on benchmark results rather than hardware overclocking results. Practically, this means that a high position in the league can be obtained with one or two different systems and everyone is using almost those exact systems. It’s the same, over and over and over again.
Less of a problem, but still interesting to note, is that most of the popular competitions we host here at HWBOT are team-based, rather than individual based. As monetary requirements for people to participate at the top level are getting higher every day, a team-based cooperation is an evident way forward.
For more information and after-thought, I would like to refer you to the thread we have running at the HWBOT forums: http://hwbot.org/forum/showthread.php?t=63570. Let’s get the ball rolling!
How does the new Pro OC Cup work?
The Pro OC Cup series is structurally quite different from the Pro OC League. The biggest change, as described in the previous section, is that Pro OC overclockers are no longer ranked based on results they achieved months or sometimes even years ago across a wide range of benchmarks with typically the same platform. This new competition format brings more focus to a limited selection of benchmarks and hardware and has a start and end.
The first Pro OC Cup starts on March 1 (today!) and finishes on May 31. Until April 1, Pro OC overclockers can register to participate in the Pro OC League. For each Pro OC Cup, the first month of the competition will always be the transfer period: users can create new teams, join existing ones, leave their current team and even opt to completely stop with Pro OC. After this registration period of one month, the teams and their line-up are fixed. There’s no stepping back and no sudden stepping up to the game – if you’re in, you’re in. If you’re out, you’re out.
During the next two months, all teams can submit their results as they please. Even though sandbagging (the process of withholding scores until the very last second) is a concern, this phenomenon is inherent to the current HWBOT competition format. Two weeks before the end of the competition, on April 15, elimination takes place. Only the 10 best overclocking teams will be allowed to submit results in the last two weeks of the competition; for the rest the competition is over and the ranking will not change. In future Cups, we might introduce multiple elimination rounds depending on how much the sandbagging is affecting the competition.
As we host more Pro OC Cups, a Pro OC Ranking will be compiled based on the performance of the teams and individual members in the Pro OC Cup. The performance will be calculated by taking into account the last three Pro OC Cups and will serve as an indication of how consistent overclockers and teams are. Obviously, the ranking cannot be found on the site just yet as we need multiple Cups to calculate the team and user’s performance.
Each Pro OC Cup will consist of five different stages, similar to the other competitions we host at HWBOT. The five stages will be decided by the HWBOT staff (not involved in the actual competition) and will be made available at the beginning of each Cup. In this case, March 1. The stages of the first Pro OC Cup are:
- 3DMark Fire Strike Single GPU
- 3DMark 11 Performance Full Out
- Super PI 32M
- Memory Clock
- Cinebench R11.5
The benchmark selection will, as much as possible, reflect difficulty, popularity, relevance to mainstream and once in a while the need for creativity. Benchmarks can return in future Pro OC Cups and some benchmarks may never make it to the Cup series.
Each Pro OC Team can consist up to five members. The members will be linked to the Pro OC Team and will no longer be participating in any of the other user leagues, excluding the Hardware Masters, for the duration of the Pro OC Cup they are registered for. The members are not obliged to submit any results, so joining a team can be merely to point out you are part of the team. For example, if someone takes up the role as Team Manager, he or she may be responsible for finding sponsors but may never submit a single result. Once the Cup finishes, all members are free to stay with the team, leave it or join another one. As each competition starts from scratch, moving from one team to the other will not affect the team’s ranking.
Note that even though Pro OC members are no longer ranking in either the Overclockers or Enthusiast League, they will still be contributing to the team they are part of. For example, if someone from Overclock.net is participating in a Pro OC Cup as part of a Pro OC Team that is not related to Overclock.net, all his (or her) submission points will still contribute to the team’s total!
The above pretty much sums up what the Pro OC Cup series are about. Of course, on the long-term there will be discussions about monetary reward for highly performance teams and members (read: “prize money”) and possibly bringing live competitions into the mix. But before either topic can be brought up, the Cup needs to take off and raise more awareness than the Pro OC League did. Or any other League did, for that matter.
So, in short …
- Pro OC Team can hold upto 5 members
- There are 5 benchmarks to run over the course of 3 months
- The competition starts March 1
- The registration period ends April 1 (after this date, you cannot join or leave anymore)
- The competition ends May 31
- On May 15, elimination occurs and only the best 10 teams can continue to compete
How to join the competition.
On to the more practical side of the new Pro OC League. How to join, follow and watch?
In order to create or join a Pro OC Team, go to “my account” and select “Join Pro OC Team” under the team section. If you are already in a Pro OC Team, you can either go to the team page or select to change the team. Next, select an existing Pro OC Team or create your own.
Once you created your own Pro OC Team, you are allowed to make submissions in the ongoing Pro OC Cup. To do so, visit the Pro OC Cup competition page, select one of the five stages and click submit score. This process is identical to how regular competitions work.
Once you entered your score, the competition page will be updated automatically and rankings will be updated not only on the competition page but also in the sidebar on the front-page where the Pro OC League used to be located.
To check out the information of your, or any other, Pro OC Team, you can click on the team name on the competition page or in the sidebar ranking. This will bring you to the Pro OC Team page, which presents you information on the team, the members, the submissions, the past performance of the team, the team sponsors and more. For customization of your Pro OC Team, there is currently no handy admin site available (that will come in the future), so if you want to add a big banner or sponsor tiles, please contact Massman either via email or private message on the forum.
Also, for those who prefer to move back to the OC League, please contact Massman.
And that’s pretty much it! All there is left to do is overclock, bench and find the drive to hunt for the stage and of course overall wins! Good luck!