During the months of April and May of 2018, Overclock.net hosted a large scale computer overclocking competition. This was the first competition of its kind to be hosted at OCN. It was a different type of competition because the goal was to create one universal platform that would entice as many people as possible.
Previous OCN competitions, and nearly all overclocking competitions in general do not offer an environment in which everyone can compete at the same level. With the Freezer’ Burn competition we attempted to arrange it so that all cooling categories were rolled into one cohesive event. Effectively, we split the competition into two separate parts but both parts used the same hardware and benchmarks selections. For those who have normal air or water cooling there was the ambient class. Then for those who wish to use more exotic cooling methods such as LN2 or Dry Ice, there was an extreme class.
In order to appeal to the widest audience possible, we decided to focus on both 2D and 3D benchmarks. There were a total of four benchmarks, but only three counted towards the users total points. We decided to use the GTX260 because it was very widely available and inexpensive. The GTX260 was released in November 17, 2009, and it is one of the lower end GPU’s of the GTX200 generation. There were two versions of the GTX260 card and we soon found out that the 216 shader model was the best one to use for this competition.
The GTX260 versions and specifications
Here you can see the GTX260 performance compared to a few newer generation Nvidia GPU’s
Most overclockers know that in order to get the maximum overclocking performance out of any graphics card, the voltage needs to be increased. The GTX260 did not disappoint in that regard. We learned that it responds well to a small voltage increase and it can still be used for ambient cooling. Throughout the course of this competition we saw quite a lot of graphics card hard modding going on. One user comes to mind,
, he killed his 260 within the first few runs after voltmodding it. However, he didn't just toss the card, he replaced the entire VRM section by soldering on an external voltage controller and brought it back to life.
Here is macsbeach98 running his “dead” GTX260 with an Evga EPower external VRM.
The concept of having two split cooling classes was a success. Those users who wanted to use ambient cooling were not overshadowed by the users with extreme cooling. While both cooling classes had lots of activity, we certainly saw the most submissions in the ambient cooling category. In the ambient category, we saw everything from completely stock OEM cooling solutions, AIO water cooling, custom water cooling, and even some ice water cooling. There were a few users, mostly in warm ambient climates, who tossed in a few ice cubes into their water cooling reservoir. This was legal since they stayed within the temperature limits, but some people found it to be unethical. On the other end of things, In the extreme category, we observed everything from chilled water loop, dry ice, and the obligatory liquid nitrogen.
Benchmark competitions bring out the creative side of cooling, check out how Xevi mounted his single stage phase change cooler.
The balance of 2D and 3D was fairly even, however we did see the most activity in 2D for both extreme and ambient categories. Right from the start we saw a battle going on for the top HwBot X264 4K and Geekbench 4 results in the ambient category. Most of the users at the top used an Intel i7 7700k with Samsung B-DIE DDR4 to achieve the best results. The unofficial Geekbench 4 Single Core 5ghz world record was broken by Noxinite. Furthermore, the unofficial HwBot X265 4K 5ghz world record was broken by 1whiteshark1. In the 3D ambient category nobody could catch macsbeach98. He gained the lead early and finished the competition by winning both 3D stages. The ambient category was highly contested just about daily and it was very entertaining to watch.
Things on the extreme side were a bit quiet at first but picked up nicely about halfway through. The process of taking computer equipment subzero is far more time consuming and requires more planning. Furthermore, once you do finally take your equipment subzero, there are often problems which can lead to not obtaining any results. For this reason we saw less activity and slower progress in general in the extreme category. The user bigblock990 quickly took the lead with air cooling backup submissions and finished by winning every 2D and 3D stage. In terms of HWBot global standings he achieved three new world records, one global quad core first place and one global quad core second place.
In this picture bigblock is running liquid nitrogen for both the CPU and GPU.
It's not just about the winners of each stage, everyone deserves an honorable mention for participating. Simply finding a compatible graphics card, and pushing the overclocks on your computer in an event like this is awesome! The final results of this competition are as follows:
Any good competition wouldn’t get very far without having awesome prizes. In this competition we were fortunate to have incredible backing from our sponsors. The main sponsor for the event was Alphacool. Together with their partner, ModMyMods, they sponsored the even with 6 prizes totaling over $1700 USD. To make the prize pool even more amazing, Enermax and Innovation Cooling stepped up and offered 14 prizes totaling over $700 USD.
Please take a minute and thank the sponsors by simply going to their website. This seems like a small and meaningless thing, but it makes a big difference.
One unique and special aspect of this competition is that we were proud to offer 14 lucky draw prizes. The top three finishers of each category (6 total) won a set price, but everyone else who participated (except for OCN staff members) was entered into a drawing for the lucky draw prizes. The competition ended with 36 total participants, with 6 of those (winners) and 2 staff members being ineligible for lucky draw prizes. With 14 lucky draw prizes and 28 eligible, the odds are quite good.
In summary, 34 eligible participants and 20 total prizes means that 58% of everyone involved won a prize!!!
A formal drawing was held to determine the winners of the lucky draw prizes. The winners are as follows:
If you won any of the prizes outlined above expect a PM from me in the next few days.
You can check out the official drawing results here:
You may have noticed that in the main competition OP, I put “first annual”. Given the outcome of this event, I hope we can offer more competitions like this in the near future. I think the Freezer’ Burn platform (aka subzero or ambient), is a good basic structure for future competitions. This would be an excellent time to give us some feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? How would you change it in the future?
I want to thank the sponsors and all the participants. This competition was a long time in the making and I am very pleased that it was successful. It would not have been possible without the support of the OCN bench team and the sponsors. While it was a group effort, I want to give special thanks to
for the amazing artwork,
for helping moderate, and
for helping moderate.