Few acts manifest the Maximum PC ethos as much as overclocking. Overclockers with something to prove have long been able to post their various benchmarking scores on HWBot to determine the king of the processor-pushing hill; now, that drive for MOAR can earn more than just bragging rights. Gigabyte just announced it has teamed up with HWBot for the "Gigabyte Spring Extreme Competition." Tinkerers with Gigabyte mobos and AMD processors are invited to try to push their systems to the (almost) breaking point, and the three people with the most prolific overclocking prowess will earn brand-spankin'-new Bulldozer-friendly mobos.
Few computer-related acts bring the full Maximum PC ethos to bear as much as extreme overclocking. Damn the torpedoes; give ‘er MOAR POWER! and so on. Fridays are always slow news days, and the Friday between Christmas and New Year’s seems to be doubly so, so why not take advantage of the lull and shine on a spotlight on a pair of overclocking feats that showed up on the radar over the past couple of days?
The Radeon HD 6950 often gets overlooked, because it falls into an in-between netherworld of pricing. Typical cards cost anywhere from $240-$300, but most seem to hover around the $270 mark. This MSI overclocked card, built using the company's Twin Frozr III dual-fan cooler, sits at around $280. So high-end buyers overlook this price category and budget buyers feel like it's a little too much.
Maybe Gigabyte got bit by the overclocking bug, or perhaps the top-tier motherboard and graphics card vendor got its mitts on some better silicon. Whatever the case may be, Gigabyte is getting ready to release a second, factory overclocked Radeon HD 6970 videocard, the GV-R6970OC2-2GD. This latest variant will ship with its GPU revved up to 920MHz, up from 880MH stock (and 900MHz for the R6970OC), while the 2GB of GDDR5 remains at 5500MHz.
Gigabyte claims its new GeForce GTX 550 Ti Overclock Edition graphics card strikes just the right balance between faster clockspeeds and quiet computing. Armed with a custom cooler, the GV-N550OC-1GI, as it's named, boasts "extraordinary overclocking ability" and outpaces reference GTX 550 Ti cards by 6 percent, Gigabyte says.
Asus is being anything but timid with Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 550 Ti videocard. Nvidia's reference design specifies a 900MHz graphics clock, but as third-party manufactures are prone to ask, why stop there? Asus didn't and instead chose to overclock the GPU to 975MHz on its new GTX550 Ti DirecCU TOP Edition card, and 1015MHz on its Extreme edition model.
Let's start with what a stock GeForce GTX 580 videocard should be running at. According to Nvidia, the GPU in the GTX 580 is rated to run 772MHz. Nvidia pegs the shader clock at 1544MHz, and the 1536MB of GDDR5 is supposed to run at 2004MHz (effective). What's the fun in that?
Sure, the GTX 580 is already the fastest single-GPU card on the planet, but that didn't stop overclocking guru Shamino, who works at Asus, from putting the pedal to the metal. Shamino jumped straight into LN2 cooling, and by doing so he was able to crank the GPU all the way to 1519MHz, nearly doubling the stock clock. The memory, meanwhile, was pushed to 2500MHz.
The extreme cooling was necessary, both to accommodate the higher clockspeeds and the handful of volt mods Shamino made to the card.
Boutique system builder Digital Storm says you can throw overclocking caution to the wind with its new pint-sized Enix system built around Intel's Sandy Bridge platform.
"By disregarding the common wisdom that bigger is better, the Enix's small profile takes full advantage of the Micro ATX format," Digital Storms says. "Overclocks of 4.7GHz and above are easily achieved thanks to the Enix's vertically cooled chassis and Intel's new powerful Sandy Bridge architecture."
Further helping your overclocking adventures, Digital Storm says the motherboard is rotated 90 degrees, aiding heat's natural tendency to rise.
"Enix's design is a dramatic departure from any system we've ever built in the past. By rethinking conventional PC design the Enix provides our customers with every imaginable advantage over other machines," said Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm's Director of Product Development. "Accessibility to all the components is unparalleled and the vertically designed chassis keeps everything cool and quiet. Couple that with an outrageously overclocked Sandy Bridge chip and you have one of the most efficient and powerful machines on the market."
Pricing starts out at $1,132 and includes an Intel Core i3 2100 (3.10GHz), 4GB DDR3-1600 RAM, Asus P8P67-M motherboard, 750W power supply, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, DVD writer, GeForce GT 220 graphics, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Digital Storm also says it will overclock the processor to between 3.6GHz and 3.9GHz at no charge, between 4.0GHz and 4.7GHz for $49 (cooling upgraded recommended), and between 4.7GHz to 5.2GHz for $99 (liquid cooling upgrade recommended).
Welcome to the Masters Overclocking Arena, where the best overclockers in North and South America battle for GHz dominance! These skilled and determined overclockers gather here in Vegas during CES to see just how far they can push the envelope--at the time this video was taken, numbers were already as high as 5.9 GHz, and the competition wasn't even finished yet! Below, Gordon Ung takes a look at some of their methods (which includes the copious use of liquid nitrogen) below.
Palm Pre modder who goes by the name "unixpsycho" is living up to his nick with a new bit of firmware that comes with following disclaimer in big, bold, red lettering:
"DO NOT INSTALL THIS IF YOU LIKE YOUR PHONE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!"
If that sounds over the top, consider that his latest firmware -- SR71 Blackbird -- pushes the Palm Pre's OMAP 3430 processor to 1.2GHz. That's twice the speed this little chip was meant to run at, which ships stock at 600MHz.
For those willing to throw caution to the wind, there are some safety measures that keeps this from being a total smartphone suicide mission. Temp monitoring comes built in, and whenever the chip jumps past 55C, the firmware ramps things down to 500MHz, "or at least it should."