Last weekend, Evansville, IN was home to AsylumLAN 30, and not only was our own Senior Editor and Indiana-resident Greg King there, but Matt H, Corey, Rob and his friend Chris made the trip down as well. Being the 30th AL, it was something special, and we’ve recapped the entire event inside.
On Saturday, Techgage officially opened up sign ups for our overclocking competition. Sponsored in part by Asus and OCZ, we tried to get together a wallop of a prize package. As the name suggests, the only goal was to get the highest Cinebench 10 score possible by overclocking our provided machine. This not only get people out of their seats, but also gave many the chance to work with hardware that they otherwise might not have the chance to do normally.
Our PC consisted of the Asus X38 based Maximus, an Intel QX9650 and our favorite cooler, the CoolIT Freezone. While our original goal was to get more people to attend AsylumLAN, we truly wanted to see the prizes, which consisted of a Q6600 provided by Techgage, a kit of OCZ 2GB DDR2 Platinum memory and an Asus P5K Premium, go to a good and deserving home. Runner up in the competition got that same kit of RAM. After an hour or so, we finally got enough people to sight up to make the whole thing worth while. With our 15 contestants in queue, we opened up the competition.
For the event, we had a handful of rules; basically to preserve the life of the hardware long enough for each person who wanted to play around with it got that chance. With only 30 minutes to complete their fasted run, it was interesting to see the approach each person took in their attempt to win the goods we brought with us. A few started quite high, maxing everything out to the highest voltages we would allow and then working their way down to the first stable setting they could get.
When we bench our hardware in our labs, we make certain that our overclocks are 100% stable for an extended amount of time. This was not the case last weekend. With such a small time frame to work in, everyone simply wanted to get through the benchmark without a system crash so stability past the first two or three minutes was not something that anyone really cared to worry about and rightfully so.
As the night progressed, we saw many different people attempts many different strategies. Throughout it all though, one thing was constant. The people running these benches all had one thing in mind, the swag awaiting the winner. This was apparently motivation enough for some to push the QX9650 as far as they possibly could go. Sadly, one of the main components holding them back was our choice of cooler.
While the Freezone is deadly on a dual core CPU, on a quad (especially one with 1.6v pumped through it), the chiller just couldn’t keep up and we eventually saw temperatures well into the upper 80s and mid to lower 90s. Those temps were all Celsius of course. For a while, we were even concerned that the event would get completed as the more the CPU was benched, the higher its temps seemed to go. Fortunately for all involved, the CPU made it through the benching and by Sunday morning, a winner was announced… too bad he wasn’t there to claim his prize.