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.
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