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Event Report: MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2011 Operation: Las Vegas

by MAC     |     January 19, 2011

Schedule / Guidelines

Schedule

As mentioned in the introduction, this event was held on January 6th, which was the first official day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 week. Most of the competitors arrived to the hotel the day before the competition. Jet lag had always been a concern at these type's of events, but since all the competitors were flying from somewhere in the America’s, none had particularly exhausting flights.


As you can see, this event started at noon, which was hugely appreciated by all the competitors. Most live overclocking events that I have attended are scheduled for the early morning, where no one is at their best, so this was definitely a refreshing approach.

Since everyone was able to work through the opening ceremony and speeches, the overclockers had a full 2 hours to do their setup and preparation. This might not seem like a lot due to the fact that the teams had to prep both motherboards and graphics cards, but quite a few of the teams came with their hardware pre-modded. The first round consisted of 2.5 hours of SuperPI 32M, more than adequate, and a full 3 hours of 3DMark 11, so again ample time for teams to really max out the hardware they had on hand.

Guidelines

For this worldwide final event, MSI provided the following hardware configuration:
Aside from the engineering sample processors, the rest of the components were products that you can easily find at your favorite online retailer. The operating system was preloaded on the hard drive, along with the NVIDIA Forceware graphics driver and all the necessary benchmarking programs and tweaking tools. Here is the full list of preloaded software:


Since 3DMark 11 was one of the benchmarks in this competition, MSI wisely chose Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit as the operating system, since it is the only OS that officially supports DirectX 11. The competitors used the publicly available A7666IMS.148 beta BIOS, which apparently is quite solid since no one of the overclockers did any voltage modifications to their motherboards. By the way, MSI flashed all the graphics card with a custom MOA 2011 BIOS live during the setup phase of the event

As per MSI, the rules for this competition were quite simple:
  1. "Soldiers are required to use the computer equipment provided by MOA, but bringing your own overclocking gear (cooler, copper container...etc.) and electronic equipment (multimeter, thermometer) is allowed."
  2. "Soldiers cannot use any computer products not provided by MOA, such as USB flash drives, DVD/CD-ROM, HDD."
  3. "During the assembling and modification session, LN2 is allowed to be used. Soliders are free to try all the benchmark programs, but submitting results are only allowed during battle rounds."
  4. "Any modification or change to the BIOS code of MB & VGA is NOT allowed in the competition."
  5. "During the benchmark period, soldiers can update their results at any time. After the Judge has approved the result, the scoreboard will be updated and reflected as team's authorized result."
  6. "There is no time limit for updating results during the benchmark round."
  7. "After the battle round has finished, benchmark results cannot be updated anymore and the most recent update of the result will be your final score."
  8. "The Master Judge has the right to ask soldiers to re-run a benchmark to verify results."
The Master Judge in question was none other than well-known overclocker Mikeguava.

  • Score Submission
If a team plans on submitting a score, a judge had to verify the benchmark score live. For the score to be official and confirmed, the competitors had to do a printscreen, and save the screenshot of the result on their USB flash drive. Each screenshot had to include the official MOA wallpaper as well as the SuperPI/3DMark window, three CPU-Z tabs (CPU/Memory/Motherboard), and GPU-Z for the 3D round.

Each team’s Final Score was composed of the combined SuperPI 32M (40% weighted) and 3DMark 11 (60% weighted) growth score. This was a little confusing since the baseline “standard score” was not really established. If the two top teams had identical final scores, the winner would be the one with the highest 3DMark 11 result.

  • Prizes
Since this was first of the 2011 MSI MOA event, the winning team not only walked away with a nice cheque, and some decent hardware, but an all-expenses paid invite to the MSI MOA 2011 final event in Taiwan.
  • 1st Place: US$ 1,5000 cash + Hardware + Trip to MSI MOA 2011 Final in Taiwan.
  • 2nd Place: US$ 1,000 cash + Hardware.
  • 3rd Place: US$ 500 cash + Hardware.


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