ASUS Advanced Overclocking Championship Coverage Page: 1
Asus Advanced Overclocking Championship
It has been a busy two days in the world of Asus, they have just hosted the European Advanced Overclocking Championship in Berlin. There were some big names from the world of overclocking present and combined with such hardcore components and plenty of LN2 on tap, I was anticipating a potential world record beating session.
Outside the AOCC event Inside the AOCC
AOCC - Let the Games begin!
This is the first time I have witnessed overclockers using LN2 and I was amazed at the skills of these guys. Their passion for their sport shone through and although it was a competition, there was a clear sense of comradeship between the participants, with tips, suggestions and even tools being shared throughout.
After talking to some of the participants, it was obvious that just taking part in the event was more important than winning. Most of them already knew each other and it was a good chance for them to get together and enjoy the event. Having said that, gaining good scores was obviously still important to them.
About the rules and hardware used:
Basically there were ten teams with two members in each. They were given their hardware and a few hours to setup the rigs. Each team got two 9770's and then chose the best performing chip from these two. The benchmark to be used was 3DMark06, and the current world record score is 36000 points running 3DMark 06 at default settings.
The competing teams were as follows:
Some LN2 and a pile of 4870's!
Mark "Rewarder" Buchel
Robert "crotale" Kihlberg
Marcus "King" Hultin
Marc-Oliver "Joe_Cool" Lange
Michael "No_name" Schnetzer

Czech Republic
Peter "Gudas" Vavro
Lukas Fiala

Sergio "Predator" San Joaquin 
Xavier Paradeda "Xevipiu" Farrando

Jó "Jugeen" Gábor
Lörince "Achill3uS" Balàzs

Piotr "Piotre" Fierens
Thomas "Ptat" Kalerrinckx

Marcin "Ryba" Rywak
Jakub "PmP" Natorski

Bart "LOC.O" Peters
Roger "Oldscarface" Kortenhoeven

Great Britain
Paul "Sacha" Watkinson
David "4QMAN" Robinson 
The hardware given to each team was as follows:
• ASUS Rampage Extreme
• 2x ASUS EAX4870X2’s
• ASUS VW222U LCD Monitor
• 2x Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (only one used at a time, different steppings)
• Mushkin DDR3-2000 RAM
• 1300W Tagan PSUs

9770 Goodness Hardware laid out

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Setting Up
After a brief speech from an Asus rep, the teams grabbed their hardware and got to work. I followed the Benchtec team closely in their setting up and was interested to see them using fluid electrical tape as an insulant on their motherboard. Apparently it's much easier to remove once the overclocking session is over as it dries like a rubbery surface once painted on and just peels off when required. The German team, Award Fabrik, also used the same method.
Benchtec's Dave insulating the mobo
It was also interesting to see the Swedish team modifying the voltage regulator on the Rampage Extreme. They were the only team to do so.
Award Fabrik insulating their mobo  Swedish team volt modding the Maximus
All the teams quickly got their rigs put together,  and decided which 9770 they were going to use for the competition. The set up process proved to be quite troublesome for the majority of the teams, and some minor electricity problems added to these. Although the schedule was for the teams to have a few hours setup, and then an hour or two benching for competing scores, this had to be abandoned. Some teams managed just one 3DMark 06 run before the end of the event due to the problems experienced. It definitely proved to be frustrating for those concerned, and it was massive credit to the guys that they just kept at it. I would have been getting the hammer out myself and losing my dummy.

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Let the liquid flow
The teams slowly started to get some results in, and it was looking doubtful that the world record was going to be broken. Most teams were averaging a CPU clock speed of  4.8GHz and were pumping some serious voltages through the CPU to attain that, with 1.9v the common figure. Watching the temps fall when the guys were pouring the LN2 was amazing, going from around 25celcius to minus 120 celcius in a matter of moments. I even got the opportunity to do some LN2 pouring for Paul ‘Sacha35’ Robinson & David '4QMan' Robinson AKA the BenchTec team. The problems mentioned earlier really did hamper most of the teams and their results, and the event winners were not immune either.
 The Belgian Team's rig  Cool setup
Smoking 2   Cool Temps
The technique for using LN2 is to pour a little at a time, trying to keep the temps at a constant figure. The LN2 quickly boils off when it hits the pot, and topping up is frequently required. Pouring too much can reduce temps too much, inducing the 'cold bug' on some CPU's. If this happens, the system will crash. When it did happen, Paul from Benchtec had a great way to raise the cooling pot temps to a usable level. He used an industrial 2000w paint stripper. It proved to be quite popular, with the other teams borrowing it often.
Stripper in action  
I would have liked to report on the full range of tweaks the guys used within the BIOS, but they were flipping through the settings pages almost as fast as the overclocks they were setting. Seriously, they must know the BIOS's like the back of their hands! I was stood 2 feet away from the monitor and I couldn't read as quick as they were changing settings. This is definitely testament to their skills and knowledge.

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The results
As previously mentioned, all teams faced some significant problems throughout the contest, and some of the teams had to abandon the Crossfire setup, going for a single 4870 X2 benchmark. One of these was the Benchtec team, and they pulled a respectable 4.8Ghz clock, with a 3DMark06 score of around 28000 points. The dutch team pulled similar results with a single card too. Unfortunately, the world record wasn't going to be beaten on this event, but it wasn't through the teams efforts.The three winning teams had more luck and were able to run a bench with Crossfire, with the following scores and positions:
Considering the problems faced, I think these scores are very respectable and every team who competed should be applauded. When I asked Dave from the Benchtec team how he felt about the event and the problems faced, he said he was obviously disappointed, but the day was very worthwhile and enjoyable, a feeling echoed by all participants. We hope the teams enjoy more success on their next events. 
Discuss the event in our forums.