In the overclocking scene, the French community is becoming more prevalent even at an international level. Last weekend, 11 overclockers met in the middle of France to share their overclocking skills and have fun.
Wizerty shared with us his story of this 3 days event.
As we are all scattered in different parts of France, we decided to meet in neutral territory, where nobody lives, but accessible to all. We eventually decided on a peaceful small village called Montaigut-en-Combraille.
The arrival was planned for 1:30pm on November 6 to picked up the keys. Crucru was my fellow driver and we reached our destination after a four-hour drive. The town is quiet and we were relieved to see that the place we rented was accessible to trucks so we were able to receive the LN2!
After a quick run to the city council to get the keys and a quick check of the venue (we rented out a hall in the community center), Strat and DrTank arrived coming from Paris followed by.... the LN2 truck. Two tanks each containing 600L of LN2 were at our disposal. But before we were able to use it for our systems, we needed to move the tanks into the community center with the help of a pallet jack. But wait... our first obstacle was to get the LN2 up to elevated ground! Thankfully our muscly overclockers (four) do work out and managed to drag 1200kg up the steps!
It was time to prepare the tables and the systems. More people arrived and we met Romain and Gibze in person for the very first time. It was the first time they did cold, but no worries they are highly skilled and also in good hands :D During this time Strat did the honors by filling the first dewar to start benching. Strat multi tasking
I started to work with the ones who were discovering the joy of LN2 over the weekend: safety with LN2 and tweaks for the system.
It was already late in the evening, so we enjoyed a short break to eat potato chips, and a rice salad prepared by Coolfx and DrTank.
Before taking a well-deserved rest, I started to mod one of the graphics cards: insulation and soldering so we were able to increase the voltages of the memory and GPU. Unfortunately, the card got damaged during the trip there and nothing could be done.
During the time I was asleep:
- Romain was on the phone
- Gibze tried to set up his bench table
- DrTank appeared to be preparing his system
- Pidum was figuring out how to turn on his display
- Coolfx asked himself how he managed to kill his i7 6700K already
- Rady unpacked his stuff
- Strat rehearsed for his part-time job as a model (sorry, I could not resist to share that one)
- Zwit was reading the last adventures of T'Choupi et doudou in bed
Day 1 - Down to Business
I woke up early in the morning to get started with the benching. Most of the others were sleeping in the improvised dormitory on the stage inside the hall of the community center. I went to meet MAO who was still awake! He was having some issues getting his CPU frequency to go higher on Cinebench with his i7-4970K. We eventually pushed it to 5,7GHz... 5.8GHz... 5.9GHz and almost 6GHz! It was time for a hearty breakfast. Wizerty (left) and MAO
Most were awake now. Romain and Gibze benched with Maximus VIII Extreme and i7-6700K on LN2 (They first discovered LN2 benching the day before on Rampage V Extreme).
Strat was looking for a solution to bench the i7-6700K at -196°C. The problem was the thermal paste couldn't hold up to the cold and cracked. It happened at -140°C, sometimes at -170°C or -200°C. Whenever it happened, we had no possible way to reach the high frequencies we were looking for.
Zwit and Cruzen were benching a GTX 680 with an i7-6700K while Rady was benching for the Country Cup. As for me, I was benching the GTX 980 Ti. I brought a few cards with me, so I was able to test them one by one on cold, and pick the two best ones to run in 2-way SLI. Each card has a different behavior on cold, so it's important to check them beforehand to limit the issues once in SLI.
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For those who aren't familiar with extreme overclocking and are wondering... what are those yellow bottles for? They are blowtorches usually used for plumbing. For extreme overclocking use, they are very handy if you need the LN2 to go up in temperature. When a system freezes, a warm breeze will allow you to restart quickly.
So bye bye, hair dryer or hot-air blower gun (used to strip paint from walls), a blowtorch handy as it can also be used while upside down since there's MAPP gas inside.
Koubbyzzz teamed up with me to bench in 2-way SLI. First, to avoid the limitations of a single PSU, we decided to use three of them:
- Antec 1200W : Rampage V Extreme + i7-5960X + 4 x G.Skill Ripjaws4
- Antec 1300W : GTX 980 Ti #1
- Antec 1300W : GTX 980 Ti #2
In full load, a single GTX 980 Ti could consume up to 1800W! After a few hours, and some global first places accumulated, the cards were covered with ice. Remember, insulation is a very important step for extreme overclocking!
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Next we would try a 4-way SLI. But it was 3am, and as eager as we were, rest was much needed for the big day ahead.
Day 2 - Full Pot
The excitement of the benching was too much for us to contain, so most of us wake up at 6:30am!
Pidum, kept benching legacy hardware. Yes overclocking isn't only for the latest super high-end hardware. It can be done on older graphics cards and motherboards! It's often extremely fun as it means more of a challenge to overclock! It's also cheaper as the power consumption is often lower, and second-hand hardware can be found at affordable prices. As for overclocking, the configuration usually requires around ten liters of LN2. When LN2 is about 2/3 euros per liter, it makes a difference!
Strat switched to a GTX 460. To compensate the lack of power from the card itself, he decided to solder on a power card (red card on the picture).
Orion was ready to bench with new G.skill 4200c12 memory while Rady saw potential with the same system and kept at it.
The 4-way SLI system was ready to go but I needed a bit of help as handling four GPU pots and another CPU pot while overclocking the system is hard for anyone (with two arms that is, wish I was an alien with more arms). Coolfx is the first one to volunteer. GTX 980 Ti at high frequencies heat up a lot, so Coolfx needed to keep his eyes on each of the different thermometers to be sure he keeps them all at the right temperature. To make a comparison, it's a lot like the heating up four pots of milk on the stove. A moment of inattention will likely mean disaster! For the graphics card, it could mean a 20-degree difference!
The second person to volunteer was Cruzen. To be able to run the 4 graphics cards, we used not only four PSUs but five! One dedicated to each graphics card, and one for the motherboard and CPU. Quickly we could see a layer of ice being formed. The scores we reach weren't good enough, so we had to stop. I suspect that one of the cards had hit its limit and affected the overall performance.
DrTank was pushing the Trident-Z on XTU. From a base clock of 3733c17 he pushed to 4100c12. Very well done!
Strat tried his luck with his Maximus VIII Impact. He reached 4200c11!
Orion discovered the joy of GTX 580.
Sadly, it was the end of the weekend and already time to clean up the community center, pack the hardware, punch in the card and say goodbye. Monday will be hard with the lack of sleep, but the important thing is that we had a blast, made great memories from this event with lots of laughs, shared skills, achieved overclocking scores and also met an incredible bunch of new friends. Bench party is necessary to feel that others are sharing the same hobbies, and more brains is always better than just one for problem-solving. We overclocked over the weekend, but the human experience was also very important and meaningful.
Thanks everyone for your participation. I hope we will all meet each other again very soon!
And for the one that prefer video format, here is a recap of the three days event: