It is not very often that a mainstream media covers the wondrous world of competitive overclocking and when it happens, it usually comes with a cloud of its-not-important. Ian, sorry, Dr. Ian "Borandi" Cutress from AnandTech visited the GIGABYTE post-Computex OC Gathering and has done a very nice write-up on not only the gathering itself, but also competitive overclocking and HWBOT. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the content as Ian managed to explain overclocking, including the competitive spirit aspect, very well. For once, extreme overclocking coverage does not come from a bad place ("its-not-important"), but from a its-lots-of-fun sentiment. Excellent write-up, must-read!
Every field has enthusiasts – the users that obsess over the smallest details to get the best, to be the best, and excel in their field. For technology the most recognizable fields are in audio and video, where enthusiasts will spend upwards of a hundred thousand monies to kit out their home studio/cinema with the correct equipment to get the best experience. There is also an element of competitiveness between enthusiasts to own or create the best. This could be extended to PC chassis modifications, which can get rather elaborate and end up competing for prize money. Well it turns out you can be a PC enthusiast as well, where the only thing matters is speed. This is the art of the competitive overclocker.
Competitive overclockers take the whole game a stage further. For this group of people, no speed is fast enough. They are not after a 24/7 stable result, it has to be quick enough to run a benchmark (to verify the speed). As a result the equipment used can go way beyond the standard PC hardware – examining data sheets to modify the circuit boards to deliver extra power is not an uncommon sight in the higher echelons of the community. If this allows them to squeeze an extra 0.01% over someone else, then it will be done.
The main website where competitive overclockers compete against each other is HWBot.org, which has its origins in preening forums for overclock statistics and placing them in a database for people to compare. It has slowly evolved into a system of leagues for people to compete against others in terms of overall score (global), score relating to the hardware (hardware score), team against team, air/water against air/water, and those sponsored can pit their wits against each other in an F1 style scenario.
Also check out the interviews with Dino from GIGABYTE and yours truly from HWBOT.
Link to the full article: Competitive Overclocking: The GIGABYTE OC Lab and HWBot.org at AnandTech