[Opinion] Competitive Ambient Overclocking Continues to Thrive on OC-ESPORTS

Let’s take a look at three of the most recent vendor sponsored contests on OC-ESPORTS; the ‘MSI Godlike Season 2: Ambient Battle’, the ‘ROG OC Showdown 2016 - Formula Series Round 1’ and the ‘RealBench Challenge 2016 Challenge 1’ contest. You may notice that they all have one thing in common - they are all focused on ambient (non-extreme) overclocking. In fact, looking at the rules, these three contests have very specific limitations on the temperature of your CPU - limitations that ensure ambient cooling of at least 20 degrees C or above.

For many of the die-hard crew who have been overclocking since the good old days, this probably doesn’t sound too alluring. The common consensus remains: Extreme overclocking, usually with LN2, is 'real' overclocking. Ambient overclocking is just for newbies. Regardless of that statement, one thing is abundantly clear – ambient overclocking is popular, and seems to be gaining in popularity as time marches on.

In terms of participation, these three contests have 425 participants between them (or even more if you consider that many submissions were removed by moderators). That’s an impressive figure. Even if we agree that many of the same overclockers are participating in both or even all three contests, it still points to very positive participation levels.

What can we read into this? What conclusions can we draw? Firstly, there is little doubt that these contests are proving to be popular with Enthusiast and Novice and Rookie league overclockers. This is especially true of overclockers with a penchant for custom water cooling – of which there are many. These elevated participation numbers clearly reflect the growing Rookie and Novice segment on HWBOT.

Secondly. Of all the stages and benchmarks, the ever-present XTU stages are proving to be most popular. Being able to tweak, bench and submit directly from one simple UI based app is attractive to this segment. You can argue that real overclocking was never this easy, but perhaps a tedious submission and validation process where you need various screenshots and numerous tabs in view is simply not attractive to a new breed that expects an efficient UI. Furthermore, XTU brings people to a contest by simply telling them that there is one. The app itself makes you aware that a) there’s a contest you can enter, and b) that you can do it right now by just clicking here.

It’s refreshing to see that overclocking continues to grow and evolve. Hardcore, extreme overclocking with LN2 will always be the ‘poster boy’ of the scene, and it so it should be. It's the pinnacle of the game. But equally important is the fact that vendors are now starting to realize and understand the value of having ambient contests. Contests that attract greater numbers of regular folk. Regular folk who might not care too much about World Records.

Chip in with your thoughts and comments in the forum post below.


Taiwan sdougal says:

Plenty to chew on... any thoughts chaps?

Indonesia speed.fastest says:

My opinion is dont call that ambient if temp must > 20 Celcius, which is almost impossible in my country with ambient.

Romania Alex@ro says:

speed.fastest said: My opinion is dont call that ambient if temp must > 20 Celcius, which is almost impossible in my country with ambient.

Syberian guys would struggle to get over that ambient for example :) It's a big world and many variables, can't find one formula to perfectly fit each and every overclocker around globe.

Indonesia speed.fastest says:

I mean temp like > 30 Celcius, what if someone can do 30 Celcius idle and 40 Celcius load? Is that possible? Because my water cooling is not too advanced.

Sweden Rauf says:

speed.fastest said: I mean temp like > 30 Celcius, what if someone can do 30 Celcius idle and 40 Celcius load? Is that possible? Because my water cooling is not too advanced.

Skylake is very cool in idle. At least it reports it like that. If you have a room temperature of 20C, which is what we in the north heat our houses up to, we get below 30C idle. You can't expect people to start a fire in their benching room to get to 30C idle so they can participate in a competition.

I don't like ambient competitions because in my opinion they are worse hw killers than extreme. People always push 1.6Vcore on their CPU on "ambient" watercooling. I think the biggest concern with ambient cooling competitions is verification of the cooling. It's very easy to cheat. There is no benchmark that reports both idle and load temps in a tamperproof way.

Edit: I don't think it would be impossible for Intel or AMD to create a tool that calculates the heatflux of a CPU at a given frequency, voltage and load. From that it should be possible to calculate the highest temperature the heat sink or water block has to have to be able to handle the heatflux. I doubt there is any interest in doing this though...

Indonesia speed.fastest says:

[MENTION=64822]Rauf[/MENTION] Yep, i agree on that, Ambient is verification on cooling that hard to do. For vcore you can push them if you had good temp under load. Yes it kill CPU fast ^^

Australia KaRtA says:

I agree, it is far more accessible for the "ambient" scene to compete in these competitions and are a great stepping stone into the Hobby. Unfortunately though, we still need work done on the temperature monitoring, as it is so easily fooled, and the moderation has no-way of proving it false without requesting video evidence (which is a rarity). I do however know and appreciate that the Moderators are working on something that will help with this "problem" The MSI Competition had a competitor running 1.77v+ through their CPU on supposed ambient and yet, no action. For competition to be fair, it needs to be monitored correctly much like most professional sports and their rules. XTU is definitely a good step to bring new-comers to the site and competition. More benchmarks like this and having the submission integration will be a benefit.

Belgium Massman says:

KaRtA said: More benchmarks like this and having the submission integration will be a benefit.

How about Time Spy? :)

United States GtiJason says:

Massman said: How about Time Spy? :)

Should be free for active HWBot users, after all we are the ones promoting it by pushing our hardware to it's limit. It's not like their likely target market (gamers) will be bios and hard modding gpu's while under exotic cooling, kindof hard to kill a gpu with sliders.

The way things work in the Extreme OC World are far different from the competitive platforms I had previously been involved in. In my teens to early 20's (35 now) I was an Aggressive Inline Skater competing mostly on the ASA Tour, what eventually became the X-Games. From 14 to 17 I payed my own way, about 2 - 3 pairs of skates a year and a lot of wheels, bearings accesories +/- $1250. I had to pay to get into Skateparks $10-12 /day and I had to pay for all travel to and from the World Tour stops. These were all in the US then thankfully. Around the age of 18 that all changed, skate companies would fight to get you in there boots, wheels, frames, berings etc. I no longer had to pay for my local skateparks for the Comp entry fees or travel to around 8 different states for main tour. Everything was taken care of, got $35/day for food, my own hotel room and perks like a private concert from hiphop group the Pharside, Private rental of Sega's Time-Out in Los Vegas and the chance to spend the day with Randy "Macho Man" Savage and his 2 girlfriends that looked like Plastic Barbie dolls. They would even pay for our drinks and get them for us until we were 21. Now inline skating is a small group and Aggressive inline skating is totally niche sport. There obviously wasn't a lot of money to go around, but we always found ways to make it work and spent a lot of time locking down solid sponsors.

After skating I moved on to another Niche sport called Disc Golfing from around age 22-26. I toured with the PDGA aka Professional Disc Golf Association. Since this is way too long, let me say this was a similar experience, though with less luxuries.

We need to find a way to get there, to get sponsors to realize the value of the work competitors do

Belgium Massman says:

[MENTION=60274]GtiJason[/MENTION]: is there a documentary or book on the topic of the Inline skating scene?

United States GtiJason says:

Massman said: [MENTION=60274]GtiJason[/MENTION]: is there a documentary or book on the topic of the Inline skating scene?


This one is probably the best documentary style video. The guy hosting, Arlo Eisenberg and skateboarder Tony Hawk pushed me into a 12 foot tall Vert ramp when I was hesitant to do it myself... that was 21 years ago. It has been a very underground sport except from 1997-2002ish it blew up fast, too fast and that almost killed it completely. There are far better videos, but unless you were part of the scene you would feel lost. Here are 2 pics of me from 1996 I think

Woodward Skate Camp Pennsylvania

The Pit Skatepark - Rockford Illinois

Belgium Massman says:

I'm about 20 minutes in and just want to say thanks for sharing the documentary. The resemblance is uncanny.

Czech Republic Elkim says:

More reason to let extreme/elite members to particiate in ambient also.

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