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Issue 21 2012 rev 2.1


This is MSI’s Master Overclocking Arena.



2012 Lifestyle

BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case Feature



ASRock Z77 OC Formula Reviewed


True Story Bro!


ritten in my least inspired state I plead with you fellow reader, do not by discouraged for there may be no methodology to how I approach this but there certainly is a point. Some changes have taken place within the magazine, while transparent to you, the gravity of these changes may not be understated. With an ever changing mission statement here, for the first time I am driven to provide a sufficiently better reading experience than we have in previous issues. Part of that is detailing true, honest and unfiltered thoughts on what it is we feel about products, ideas and the state of the overclocking and the hardware ecosystem as a whole. It needs no stating, but just in case anybody had it we, or rather I, was unaware of the plight or more aptly the future of the component business as it relates to the end user. I shall state it explicitly. Overclockers sell hardware. They sell hardware in ways no competitive gamer could. It is not to say that I have no respect for the immense dedication and talent required in reaching the echelons of gaming stardom, no – it’s simply that a competitor destined for greatness playing on an AMD machine or a SNB-E machine has a future determined not by the hardware but every other facet of the domain. To that end I would argue that hardware vendors, particularly of the graphics card business should divorce themselves from previous practices that in the past were beneficial but presently serve little to no purpose. Let’s be honest with ourselves, a GTX 680 at 1,110Mhz has the same performance as any other GTX 680 at the same frequency. There’s nothing to be said about such a graphics card and it would be a complete and utter waste of time to even suggest there is something valuable to be taken away from such a product profile let alone a review. So I would think vendors need differentiate themselves from the competition in more meaningful ways and as a result, their components will in turn deserve purchase and editorial not only

“It’s a losing battle and one that is increasingly more ridiculous as manufactures are funneled into uniformity by the various IP vendors.” in this publication but in many others. The problem we faced with scoring systems is not with the values assigned to products, but rather the patent futility of attempting to articulate differences between components that are otherwise identical. It’s a losing battle and one that is increasingly more ridiculous as manufactures are funneled into uniformity by the various IP vendors. We will not stop reviewing hardware even with the products that don’t stand out, however we will not be concerned form here on in with components that do nothing other than offer what everybody else can offer, more directly reference design components. More so, we shall not be moved by a 5% overclock on any part, as that doesn’t translate into anything meaningful for competitive, casual and seasoned overclockers (or gamers for that matter). As such, for the sake of sincerity, honesty and most importantly transparency with you our readers and the vendors, we would like to charge ourselves with more personal, unobstructed and if you will, more sincere reviews and editorial content. It may seem counter-productive but at the end of it all, the reason you read this magazine is for an, open and unbiased opinion. It’s not a technical collation of papers, but a magazine which is largely opinion based on technical merit. With that said, welcome to Issue 21 of TheOverclocker Magazine, enjoy it and we will see you next time around. MOA Baby! [ Neo Sibeko - Editor] Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 3

REGULARS 3 - Editor’s note The Overclocker is published by OCL-Media (cc).

FEATURES 6 – Interview – Q+A with Hazzan Jadid 32 – MSI MOA 2012 – Live overclocking at its finest!


Art Director Chris Savides

10 – GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 12 – CORSAIR Neutron + Neutron GTX SSD 14 – MSI Z77 MPower 16 – GIGABYTE GTX680 Super Overclock Edition 20 – ASRock Z77 OC Formula 22 – CORSAIR Dominator Platinum 2666C10 Kit 24 – AMD A10 5800K APU

Contributors Dane Remendes K|NGP|N Online contributor Jonathan Horne For advertising sales and marketing please contact: Email:

K|NGP|N’S GUIDE: 26 – Liquid Nitrogen prep for your GPU with the Tek9

LIFESTYLE 40 - Game Review – Dark Siders II 44 – Tt eSPORTS Meka G-Unit Keyboard 45 – CM Storm Scout 2 Chassis 46 – BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Chasis 46 20

4 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

Editor Neo Sibeko Tel: +8869 8874 0949

Tel: +8869 8874 0949


with Hazzan Jadid Country Name and City: I live in the city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, one of the major tourist cities in the country. What language(s) do you speak? I speak Indonesian, English and a little Arabic (lol) On which forums do you spend most of your time on? Primarily XtremeSystems, OCxtreme, Kingpingcooling, hwbot and many others more but I will generally visit any forum that has some discussions about hardware, especially overclocking. You partnered up with Rbuass, for MOA 2012; do you think you two work well together? We tried hard to work together to get a great result. Rbuass offered me a place as a team member and we all know he is a highly skilled overclocker. Even though we had never benched together before we tried our best. How long has it been since you started overclocking and what was it that got you started? I was introduced to overclocking in 2003 and that is actually when I heard about it first. I was always excited and amazed at the time by legendary overclockers such as Oppainter, Shamino, Macci, Pedro, K|NGP|N, Hipro 5, OPB ,Kinc and others showing fantastic results. I learned so much from all of them and continue to learn today. What is your single greatest or most memorable overclocking achievement? I think it was around one and

6 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

a half years ago when I got the world record with the MSI GTX 580 Lightning in 3DMark11 and I shared with everyone how to run the MSI GTX 580 Lightning. My last memorable overclocking session was when I benched at Asus HQ at an Asus event with some legendary overclockers like Shamino, Fredyama and Andre. It was like a dream come true for me. Tell us about some of your favourite hardware right now. My favourite components above all are motherboards because they are at the centre of overclocking and VGA cards for sure. Some of my favourite brands are from ASUS ROG, MSI and ASRock after Nick Shih joined them as they seemed serious about building a performance board. As for PSUs I have some experience with Antec, Corsair and SilverStone units. They provide good PSUs

for benching and overclocking for sure. Which is your favourite benchmark if any and what is your least favourite and why? I love all 3D Benchmarks, but my choice favourite is 3D vantage and 3DMark11. Simply because when you bench 3D you need better control. You need to control both CPU and VGA so it represents a better challenge for me. What is the hardware scene like in your country? Is hardware easily accessible and how is the pricing? Well Indonesia isn’t a big country with a huge population and subsequently large market for computer hardware.. You can however easily find any kind of component. The problem is sometimes new hardware will come here a little too late after its available in the US and

Europe for example. How often do you have overclocking sessions in a month? It depends, but I will bench for sure if I receive new hardware, in a month though I have anywhere between two to four sessions usually. Which are the people you overclock with the most when you have group sessions? I think most overclockers around the world are good people so I bench with just about anybody. I encourage people who can work together as a team, sharing knowledge about overclocking and producing good result. Who is your closest competition in your country or in the world actually? The person that you feel challenges you the most with

similar hardware to your own. There are so many good overclockers in Indonesia like Ekky (Jengkol), Benny and Jonathan Alva aka Lucky n00b (Team Captain for Jagad Review). They are all highly skilled and senior overclockers. I don’t feel though that there’s any competition between us because I am overclocking not for the competitiveness but purely because I love it. I’m only concerned about improving my own results and exceeding my limits. I don’t really think much about other people’s results. In your opinion, is overclocking growing, dying or staying about the same in your country? Well this is very hard to answer. I don’t know what the situation is right now but we can clearly see many more components than before such as motherboards, graphics cards, memory, power

Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 7

supplies etc. All of these are sold with overclocking features so it has grown. However in Indonesia and in other places as well it seems to have gotten stuck, but I have hope that it will start growing again much like it was two years ago. This is a question we asked Rbuass in Issue 19 and seeing as you two were partners for MOA, could you tell us how you feel about the current HWBOT Rev4 points system, do you think it’s the best so far or do you prefer some of the older revisions? HWBOT is one of the most important overclocking websites we have. I don’t have any opinion one way or the other about the points system in Rev4. How feasible is it for you to get access to LN2 where you live? Do all overclockers in your country have access to LN2 and how much is it?

8 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

I am really grateful about this actually. LN2 here in Indonesia is easy to find and very cheap. Three litres costs around $2 US Dollars. I can order it and have it delivered to my lab or I can pick it up myself. What are your thoughts about the current qualifying procedure for international live overclocking competition? I think it’s good for now, but the problem sometimes is that we need to buy allot hardware to compete and I think we all know that not all overclokers are rich. Obviously this makes it hard for some to join. I hope in the next qualifying round the hardware rules will be changed accordingly. You have been to several overclocking competitions before, which was your favourite one to date and where did you place in that competition?

It was my second International overclocking competition. AOCC (Asus Advance Overclocking Championship) in the July of 2008 in Hong Kong. Simply because it was the first time I met so many overclockers from around the world. What would like to say manufacturers as a whole who are reading this? Some of the manufacturers are doing a great job selling products with overclocking features. They are making great components because they have learned what is required to make great products from overclokers. I hope in future all manufacture will continue to make products with overclocking features while they continue to support overclockers. Is there anything you would like to extend to the community and other readers? Overclocking used to be just a hobby but now it’s grown up to be fairly serious and professional. Through overclocking we are able to make friends from all walks of life. This is more important than the actual overclocking I believe. I hope we can keep it like that going forward.

Outside of overclocking, what else are you as passionate about and spent an equal amount of time if not more doing? My wife and two boys are my life. My wife has a restaurant business and when I’m not overclocking I spend my time with them, especially the boys. Do you have any advice for young overclockers just starting out? Yeah, I see many young overvlockers these days all talented and skilled. It’s only a matter of time before they become the established overclockers of future. All I can say is that they should just keep learning and soon enough they will be better than some of the older and more veteran overclockers out there. Any final words? I have made so many friends around the world as a result of overclocking. Splave, Perica Bari, Rbuass, Vivi, Nick Shih, Andre Yang, Mad22, Sam tapakah, Dernettemann, Uncle Faster, Pro, Hiwa and so many others, all highly skilled and great people. I hope overclocking can continue to grow this brotherhood. [ The OverClocker ] Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 9

Hardware Award

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 ERP: $399.99 | Website:

Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666C10 Kingston HyperX 3K SSD GIGABYTE GV-N680OC-4GD Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro 1500W PSU Windows XP SP3/Windows 7 64-Bit SP1


t’s never easy justifying why one should buy a $400 motherboard when a $150 one like the Z77X-UD3H does the job equally well. If you look back at that review, you’ll see that we loved that board and even to this day we still wonder how GIGABYTE ever managed to make any money 10 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

of it if only because of the ridiculously low selling price. On the opposite end of the scale we have the Z77X-UP7. This one is the most expensive Z77 board from GIGABYTE and certainly the most expensive Z77 motherboard on the market period. For that however you get 4-way SLI support via PLX switching chips, but before you express your disappointment. Realize that should you use a single graphics card you’ll suffer no performance hit because of the latency involved with linking the PCI-Express hub directly to the switching chip first. On the UP7, the black primary PCI-Express slot links directly to the CPU so you’ll get maximum performance

every time and all the time. The rest is your typical package, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, V-check points, Bclk and CPU multiplier on the fly adjustments. It’s great and we wouldn’t expect any less from GIGABYTE right now. So feature wise it’s packed. The BIOS though is more of what we’ve grown familiar with. with the UP5TH, UD3H and the like. It’s the familiar 3D BIOS with all the setting we’ve seen before. Oddly enough what we learned during this review is that, if you save a BIOS to disk with this board (and we suspect other GIGABYTE boards) not only is the BIOS file saved but the profile as well and the settings that were applied when said BIOS was

“... we remain impressed and moved by the Z77X-UP7, if only because its origins were so solid all those years ago...” All results were obtained at 4.8GHz on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit and WinXP. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system





Super Pi 8M

Aida 64 Copy

Aida 64 Latency

ASRock Z77 OC-Formula GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7













saved. This is a handy feature indeed especially if you need to send settings to someone along with the actual BIOS. Performance wise, it’s a little slower than the Z77 OC-Formula but isn’t too far of the mark in general. It delivers solid numbers and is just as efficient as one would expect from GIGABYTE’s recent line of motherboards. The true test of this board is actually under LN2 where it is bound to do better than the previous offerings. That alone should make the UP7 worth considering as we now have an LN2 mode specifically for those liquid nitrogen sessions that last for hours on end. Memory performance is one place where we wished we could have seen some improvements. The board is configured by default loosely, maybe excessively so. That in itself isn’t a problem, because you can tweak and change pretty much most of the settings competing boards have. The issue however is that because the settings are not explained in any way whatsoever and there are no memory profiles, it just takes an inordinate amount of time to tweak memory (especially for frequency) whereas the entire process could be facilitated with some explanation as to what each setting is doing or at least

how it affects memory scaling under normal circumstances and exotic cooling. If for some reason though you enjoy the trial and error process, then you will eventually get to the same frequencies possible on other boards. There isn’t much else to say about this board that you may not know already. CPU overclocking has been proved time and time again and as mentioned in other motherboard reviews in this issue. CPU overclocking is tied to the CPU sample and not the board. So rest assured, if you’re not reaching those stratospheric speeds, it is not due to any inadequacy here but rather the limits of your chosen CPU sample. As the board which is at the forefront of GIGABYTE’s marketing spear to enthusiasts and power users, we feel that the vendor has maybe not done much more than they had with the X79-UD7. The X58A-OC was revolutionary and ushered in many things we had not seen before, but a few years in and looking at what is the progeny of that board, we can’t help but feel there isn’t much that we’ve not seen before, essentially the same board as the X58A-OC just on a different chipset. Alas, we remain impressed and moved by the Z77X-UP7, if only because its

origins were so solid all those years ago that even today the same features on a different platform culminate to form a compelling motherboard. [ The OverClocker ]

Summary We feel about this board exactly the same way we did about the Maximus V Extreme. It really is an extreme board in most respects. The pricing is only for the well healed but then again for what is packed on the board you wouldn’t expect any less. For the Power user and multi-GPU addict, this one may be for you.

Would you buy it? There aren’t many motherboards that will do 4-way SLI and the two extreme overclocking boards that are in existence happen to be so closely matched it’s uncanny. We’d buy that board over this one only because it’s a little cheaper.

The Score

8/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 11

Corsair Neutron and Neutron GTX 240GB SSD


ERP: $209.99 | $249.99 | Website:

Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB CoolerMaster Silent Pro M2 1500W Windows 7 64-bit SP1


e’ve been looking at SSD’s in every issue of TheOverclocker for almost two years. Depending on the popularity of the controller and NAND memory at any given time, the performance was rather predictable, or at least, the differences between the best and the worst similarly configured drives were negligible. We hadn’t had the best experience with CORSAIR drives, so going into this review we weren’t expecting much if anything at all. So it was with this attitude that we were pleasantly surprised to find not only the fastest

12 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

SSD from CORSAIR ever, but one of the fastest consumer SSDs around. The GTX is certainly the quickest drive we’ve tested here, eclipsing our previous favourite the Plextor M3 PRO by some margin as well. We had no previous experience with the LM87800 controller, so this kind of performance was truly surprising. In a sea of SandForce powered SSDs the Link A media controller stands out for all the right reasons and as far as we’re concerned, there’s really no reason to consider any SandForce drive from here on in. We’ll not bore you with the appearance of the drives; they are standard SSD’s with CORSAIR stickers on them. Worth noting is that both drives are 7mm in height, making them “ideal” for ultrabooks and other portable platforms where height and weight is an issue. Short of that, it’s business as usual. What makes the drives tick

besides the shared controller is a total of 256MB of DDR2 800MHz DRAM, used for cache. These are two 128MB chips on each drive but the differences between the GTX and the regular drive actually stem from the different NAND used. The GTX uses the more expensive and evidently faster Toshiba Toggle Mode 24nm NAND, while the normal drive settles with 25nm Micron NAND. During testing we saw that while the difference between the drives is easily measured, it may not be worth the additional cash for the GTX drive because they really are that close in performance. Having said that, the price difference is less than $40 between the two, so ultimately you’ll have to decide if the performance advantage of the GTX drive is worth the asking price. On to the results we obtained, well what can we say? We moved to a different and more consistent testing suite that’s why you won’t

All results were obtained at 4600MHz s on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system


Average Read

Average Write

4K Read(QD32)

4K Write (QD32)


Write IOPS

Maximum IO response time (ms)

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB








Corsair Neutron 240GB








* In MB/s

“These Neutron drives are more than what we had expected of CORSAIR’s new line of SSDs. It’s mind boggling to see this kind of performance at this price...” see any other SSDs in the results chart, but suffice to say it’s pretty obvious that the Neutron drives are peerless thus far in performance. The claimed IOPS results were of particular interest to us as they were so close to what CORSAIR was claiming. Usually the numbers we obtained were significantly lower (for a variety of reasons, including the testing suite and methodology) than what manufacturers claimed, but nevertheless were repeatable. For the first time ever we not only saw write performance that was better than already impressive read

performance, but the lowest average response times as well. CORSAIR has done well with this combination of parts, making the Neutron series the drives to beat around here. There isn’t much else to say about these. CORSAIR has come out with a new series that’s pretty much set the standard for consumer level SSDs. It remains to be seen what kinds of improvements will come with future drives in the series and what competitors are going to do to get ahead, but right now, these drives are near perfect in our eyes. [ The OverClocker ]

Summary These Neutron drives are more than what we had expected of CORSAIR’s new line of SSDs. It’s mind boggling to see this kind of performance at this price, without the shenanigans of other popular drives based of SandForce controllers. For uncompromising performance there’s little else out there that can challenge the Neutron series.

Would you buy it? Most certainly we would purchase these. They are simply the fastest drives we’ve ever tested.

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 13

Recommended Award

MSI Z77 MPower RRP: $199.99 | Website: Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666 C10 Kingston HyperX 3K SSD GIGABYTE GV-N680OC-4GD Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro 1500W PSU Windows XP SP3/Windows 7 64-Bit SP1


e’ll not beat about with the MSI Z77 MPower and tell it to you straight. This board is good. Is it the best Z77 motherboard on the market, no it’s not. Consider however that this is a $200 board, and then take a look at the features on it. Its overclocking capabilities and then take

14 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

re-evaluate whatever position you may have taken prior to reading this review. The thing is with MSI, the vendor has traditionally made better graphics cards than it has motherboards. This remains true today and because MSI makes the best graphics cards right now for overclockers, the motherboards are always going to have a mountain to climb as far in changing people’s perceptions. We have first-hand experience of this; because prior to receiving our review sample we had heard several enthusiasts make passing jokes about the inadequacies of this board. Since we had not had a chance to test this board first hand, we had no choice but to at least head some of the warnings levelled

at us about the MPower. Well, after many hours spent with this board, we will tell you that our findings are contrary to what we were told. Keep in mind that, no information about the Z77 MPower had come to us from the vendor prior to the review sample, and after that nothing else came. So our opinion if anything had a negative bias courtesy of several very brief conversations we had had with overclockers about it. It’s odd that this may actually be MSI’s best motherboard to date, at least where the BIOS is concerned. No other vendor, save for ASUS possibly, has a BIOS that is this smooth to use. Just on sheer presentation alone it won us over. See, it’s easy enough to bludgeon a user with an infinite number

“For $200, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better board”. All results were obtained at 4.8GHz on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit and WinXP. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system




Super Pi 8M

Aida 64 Copy

Aida 64 Latency








MSI Z77 Mpower







of options and screens, but it takes deliberation and purposeful action to deliver a BIOS that is both intuitive, deep in settings but without too many pages to navigate. It’s the smooth mouse movements that make this the only BIOS which we used the mouse with; the interface is slick, sharp and very well laid out. Simple features like being able to select your boot order by arranging icons with a mouse are the finer touches that other vendors could learn from. Saving BIOS profiles isn’t a matter of just inputting a name, but information such as the date, time and version of the BIOS profile that is saved is made readily available to you. It’s this refined way of communicating with the user that makes this board so pleasurable to use. Outside the BIOS, it’s not going to win any awards as you can’t adjust bclk, CPU multiplier or anything for that matter on the board. Sure enough you get the usual POST LED, V-check points, reset, power, BIOS switch and clear CMOS buttons, but that’s standard these days on any board that even attempts to target overlclockers or enthusiasts. The one gripe we

have in all the above however, is the positioning of the POST LED, where it’s easily obscured by the graphics card. It’s understandable that since this is a standard ATX motherboard, real-estate is hard to come by, but surely there’s a better place to have it where it may actually serve a purpose. Performance wise, it delivers the goods. It’s not so finely tuned like the OC-Formula but then again as we’ve seen during the motherboard testing in this issue, it seems no motherboard is. There is nothing that is lacking in this boards performance save for 3DMark2001se results which are not low, but the BIOS isn’t tuned for as is the case with the other enthusiast motherboards of late. We will re-iterate again, we had very low if any expectations going into this review. Not only were we surprised, but pleasantly so. This board is significantly better than what we had expected and once again for $200, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better board. Add Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to the mix and you can see how this is possibly the best value for money motherboard in MSI’s

entire line up. Even if for use as a backup motherboard, the MSI Z77 MPower is certainly worth a buy. [ The OverClocker ]

Summary What MSI offers here is easily on of the best UEFI BIOS interfaces ever, great features, easy overclocking and a great price. It ticks all the right boxes and does it without much fuss. It isn’t the best looking motherboard around, but it’s still one of the best money can buy. This board is very deserving of our Recommended Award.

Would you buy it? Sure thing, it’s a $200 for an overclocking motherboard that’s pretty reliable and consistent.

The Score

8/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 15


GIGABYTE GV-N680SO-2GD RRP: $559.99 | Website:

Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K GIGABYTE Z77X-UP5TH Transcend AxeRAM 2400MHZ CL9 ANTEC HCP 1200W PSU Windows7 64-Bit


TX 680s are no longer the top of the food chain when it comes to game performance. The AMD GHz edition graphics cards saw to that. Add the recent price cuts from AMD into the mix and what you end up with is a line up from AMD that is for all intents and purposes unmatched. For the overclockers the situation is more dire as there’s simply no incentive right now to be concerned with the GTX 680, or is there? As with our last GTX 680 review, we noted just how perilous the situation is with the GTX 680. With the stringent controls that NVIDIA has placed on the GPUs and its partners, 16 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

overclocking for the rest of us who do not have special access to people at NVIDIA or vendors is made damn near impossible. For gamers fortunately, well the situation is a little different. See, despite the domination of the GHz edition card from AMD in the HD7970, there’s some fight left in the GTX 680 and no more is it obvious than when you power up the GIGABYTE card. Before we get into the performance, please note that we are not oblivious to the size of this card and the noise it makes. With so many little fans, this looks loud and it is if the fan speed is set sufficiently high enough. There’s just no glancing over it. If quiet computing is important to you, this is sadly not the card for you unless you can get it water cooled in which case the situation is different. For the vast majority of people who will be using this graphics card, the noise just may be tolerable especially if you game with headphones. As for the size of this card, it’s not diminutive in anyway.

Actually it dwarfs every other graphics card we’ve tested to date. It’s a three slot card, so in no way will you be able to get four-way SLI working with this card. We suspect two or maybe three way on XL-ATX boards but you get the picture for sure. How air is blown on to the GPU here is fairly unique as it redirects air from the side of the case and not the bottom. Given that this is where a case fan would be situated, you are going to get cooler temperatures than a traditional design may offer. It may only be a few degrees lower when idle, but during those intense gaming sessions or simple overclocking sessions, the difference will be noted. Performance wise, well there’s not much to say really. It’s the highest clocked GTX680 out the box with a base clock of 1,137MHz. Keep in mind that the base clock is actually what’s important, if only because the boost clock isn’t something that you can pin down and rely on consistently. By that we mean, two 680SO cards will

“It’s the highest clocked GTX680 out the box with a base clock of 1,137MHz.” All results were obtained at 4.6GHz on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit and WinXP. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system




3DMark Vantage


Unigine Heaven Xtreme

Sniper Elite Max Detail

GIGABYTE GTX 680 Super Overclock














have a different boost clocks depending on the quality of the silicon. This boost clock isn’t promised but GIGABYTE will guarantee at least 1.2GHz. Our particular sample was clocking a bit higher than that at 1,254MHz. When we switched to the LN2 BIOS, this boost clock did not change despite the increased TDP to +200%. It doesn’t however mean the LN2 BIOS on the card isn’t working, it’s working quite well. Once again without a special BIOS we were fairly limited to what we could do, but with LN2 we had no problem with cold temperatures. The card didn’t necessarily clock better than before and we were pretty much stuck at 1.4GHz with no voltage adjustments possible. With the right utilities however, things could change. Gaming performance was as you’d expect out of a GTX680, that is to say, smooth at the least. It handles all games easily enough and you’ll not lack for performance in any title for a while.

The overclocking on the GIGABYTE card makes it look very attractive in synthetic benchmarks, but the actual in game performance isn’t as dramatic as the scores would have you believe. If you aren’t satisfied with the gaming performance for whatever reason, you can consider adding even more to this card via overclocking. You’ll not get too much out of it, but we did manage a healthy 1,300MHz without adjusting voltages at all. The actual boost clock was much higher than that, but just to be certain we aimed for 1.3GHz which was easily done. Overall, this is a grand card and certainly the GTX 680 to go for if outright speed is what you want. There may be other alternatives on the market that lean more to the overclockers out there, but we submit to you that for the most part, and for most people, the GV-N680SO2GD is unbeatable and well worth the investment if there’s such a thing with hardware. [ The OverClocker ]

Summary This is GIGABYTE”s most impressive graphics card to date. At least in an electrics sense because it’s just put together in a way that begs the question as to why this was never done before. It may only be by a hair but it makes for the fastest GTX680 you can buy right now and if you’re a power user and gamer this is the card for you.

Would you buy it? For the price you’re not going to get much better than this where GTX 680s are concerned. If you have the money, we’d tell you to go for it.

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 17


ASRock Z77 OC Formula RRP: $239.99 | Website:

Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666C10 Kingston HyperX 3K SSD GIGABYTE GV-N680OC-4GD Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro 1500W PSU Windows XP SP3/Windows 7 64-Bit SP1


t seems almost every vendor who has a strong affiliation with or has directly employed an overclocker has a board or component endeared as “X’s baby!” If you’ve not come across this thus far, well the Z77 OCFormula (OCF from here on in) would be Nick Shih’s baby. More so than any other board to date actually, if only because he is actually on the marketing material in his full swag. Regardless of how you feel about it, cheesy or otherwise, one has to admit that this here is one attractive looking board. Actually this is one damn fine board in both

20 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

aesthetics and performance. At $239 it’s very well priced especially given what it is you get for that amount.. There’s no multi-GPU foolery here, sadly that would have sent the board over the $300 mark, however for lack of this, you receive a solidly built board that is undersold by its price tag and somewhat by the history of the brand. All that may change with the OCF and in fact we’d dare say it has to change because whatever we may have thought about ASRock before, this here is a totally different animal and he OCF stands with the best of them. To be honest with boards that do not have plenty of multi-GPU options, this is arguably the best of the lot. Just the features alone make this a compelling purchase. That $239 buys you this much overclocking proficiency is staggering. It’s not just the typical POST LED, V-measure points, Clear CMOS, reset, switchable BIOS and the like we’ve come to expect from an overclocking board. It’s

in how it all comes together especially within the BIOS where we have some of the most comprehensive options we’ve seen on a board. They are all clearly labelled and relatively well explained. It’s not to the ASUS Maximus V levels, but it’s ahead of what GIGABYTE offers on their boards in advanced mode. You have to appreciate the time and effort ASRock has put into the little things which all culminate into making a grand offering. Easily the best board ASRock has ever produced. We could spend the rest of this review telling you about the layout of the board, the electrics and the like, but we frankly couldn’t be bothered with that and we know that you our fellow readers couldn’t care either so we’ll get to the fun bit and let you know that this here is a wonderful motherboard to overclock on. Be it air cooling or LN2 which is what the OCF is actually made for. It’s blissful to work with. We aren’t fans of the Golden night sky

“Just the features alone make this a compelling purchase. That $239 buys you this much overclocking proficiency is staggering.”

All results were obtained at 4.8GHz on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit and WinXP. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system.





Super Pi 8M

Aida 64 Copy

Aida 64 Latency

ASRock Z77 OC-Formula














or stellar theme, but it’s nitpicking when considering just what’s on offer here. Memory overclocking in particular is mind numbing as this board equals what ASUS offers in the Maximus V series and in some ways its better, simply because virtually all multipliers work and the profiles are little tighter by default. We can only imagine how much time went into tweaking these profiles and ensuring maximum compatibility with enthusiast grade memory. Even when we used a CPU with a weak IMC, we were able to extract more in memory frequency from this board than we could any other at the time of testing. Despite the ridiculous settings we entered, this board kept posting and the crash guard feature actually worked well every time and all the time. Flawless execution was our experience here and at the risk of sounding bias, this was the most fun we’d had with a motherboard in a very long time. We could tell you about CPU

overclocking, unfortunately there’s nothing to say there really. Sure enough ASRock has published a few records much like other vendors have, but as we all know or rather should know, all those records could have been achieved with any one of the boards touting such achievements. At this juncture, the quality of the CPU silicon is much more important than the board that it is used on and it’s purely a binning process so don’t’ expect miracles with this board if you know you have a 6.2GHz CPU. It won’t magically become 6.3 GHz. What will happen though is that if you know you have a 6.8GHz chip, you can be guaranteed that this board will reach that speed and maybe a little more in the memory department. So at the worst you’ll likely get a board better than the one you have should you go this direction. The ASRock Z77 OC-Formula is a Champion.

Summary Not ever before has ASRock outdone themselves and produced a board that is completely beyond what one could have imagined for the vendor. With the OFC, they’ve done exactly that and in a way upset the balance of power, between the two or three major mainboard vendors with overclocking boards. The Z77-OC Formula truly is second to none.

Would you buy it? Most certainly, this is a no brainer. The price is great, the features even better than performance.

The Score


[ TheOverClocker ] Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 21


CORSAIR DOMINATOR PLATINUM 2666C10 Quad Channel Kit RRP: $359.99 | Website:

Test Machine Intel Core i7 3770K ASRock Z77 OC-Formula Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB CoolerMaster Silent Pro M2 1500W Windows 7 64-bit SP1 /XP SP3


erformance kits are all the rage of late. With the imminent release of Haswell CPUs and the related chipset, rumour is that these high speed kits will become more useful than they are now. Since we have no firsthand experience with the platform, we can’t comment on how true that is, however what we can have some meaningful insight into, is how these sets perform on the current platforms, and in particular where Ivy-Bridge is concerned. Before we delve into how this set performs, it’s important to note that with memory above 2400MHz especially, it’s more chance

22 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

than anything else that you have a CPU with the right IMC and memory that can match it. So do not look to such a kit and expect every single Ivy-Bridge CPU to be able to reach these speeds. We ourselves have come across several CPU samples that had IMC’s that were not capable of speeds past 2,700MHz and we are more than confident in claims we’ve heard of CPUs not going much past 2,500MHz. So be aware that there are no guarantees with such kits. We do though suspect anyone buying this set should be fairly clued up on their CPUs capabilities. This particular 2,666MHz set is what we might consider the “mid-range” of the series as CORSAIR does offer a 2,400MHz and 2,800MHz kit, with timings appropriately tuned for each. As a compromise between price and rating, this strikes a decent balance between the two, especially given the diminishing list of compatible

CPUs as you scale upwards in memory frequencies. The 2,666MHz guarantees in some ways prolific ICs. SAMSUNG 30nm chips are the order of the day, and these have shown to clock well before so you should have suspected some good overclocking headroom from this set already. Our testing started from 2,400MHz all the way to 2,933MHz. We could validate 3,000MHz and run a number of benchmarks at that frequency, but it just wasn’t stable for anything other than that. The 3GHz mark is great for showing high numbers but ultimately not useable right now for any benchmarks for the vast majority of overclockers. For that, as stated earlier, we’ll have to wait for the successive platform. 2,933MHz was pretty much the same, offering a little more stability, at the cost of actual performance We were and remain fairly impressed with this set. It’s

“We were and remain fairly impressed with this set. It’s sold at timings very true to what the RAM can manage but at the same time, has some massive headroom.” All results were obtained at 4800MHz s on a normal install of Windows 7 64-bit or Windows XP SP3. These are our results, yours may vary so only use these as a guideline for a similarly configured system.


AIDA 64 Read

AIDA 64 Write

AIDA 64 Copy

AIDA 64 Latency

SuperPi 8M







































IMC failure*

sold at timings very true to what the RAM can manage but at the same time, has some massive headroom. The 2,800MHz setting was particularly surprising because we managed to do this speed with the relatively tight secondary and tertiary timings, while keeping the reference primary settings for the 2,666MHz frequency. That alone swayed our opinion of the set, if only because 2,800MHz sets besides being rare are hardly sold at these timings. In fact, we have yet to see a set of memory sold at these timings. You’ll not see Super Pi 32M or Hyper Pi 32M results here, but trust us when we say the memory is stable under all test conditions, so what we report here is repeatable with this specific set we had for testing. For the power users and gamers out there, it’s hard to not recommend this memory on aesthetics alone if you care about that sort of thing. There are not lights here, but

great looking heat spreaders, which if anything, help make the Platinum moniker applicable to the kit and its brethren in the series. As for performance in games and such, you’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference between 1600MHz memory and this set at 2,400MHz, but having said that, you could easily run this memory at 2,400MHz with the given timings at less than the stipulated voltage and still get great performance and stability. If the price is too steep, do consider the 2,400MHz kit, which is not only cheaper but readily available. We here at TheOverclocker find this to be an exceptional set of memory only marred by low availability. If by some chance you come across this kit while you are looking for an overclocking set to match that CPU with that incredible IMC, this memory will not disappoint you. This is truly fantastic memory. [ TheOverClocker ]

Summary The DOMINATOR PLATINUM 2,666MHz kit proved to be more than worth the wait. It may be very hard to get a hold of, but when you do you’ll not be disappointed. The memory looks fantastic, but overclocks and subsequently performs even better. There’s really not much to dislike about this kit. If you get the opportunity, buy.

Would you buy it? Yes of course. This is a fantastic set of memory and one that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend at all.

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 23

Value Award

AMD A10 5800K RRP: $129.99 | Website:

Test Machine GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 Patriot Extreme Masters 2133MHz CL11 Kingston HyperX 3K SSD Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro 1500W PSU Windows XP SP3/Windows 7 64-Bit SP1


e’ll cut the fat and get right into it the meat. We here like AMD’s Trinity APUs. Well, actually we’d like better performing CPUs for the desktop infinitely more, this is no wish list however, but a review. AMD’s second iteration of their APUs has come and it’s looking a lot better than their initial attempt. The real difference between the first generation Llano parts and these is primarily the GPU that’s inside. Its Radeon 7000 class graphics and that alone should cause us to take a second look. Will this APU replace the need for

24 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

entry level graphics cards? Probably not as we’d have to wait for another generation before we can say that, but as it stands or at least on the 5800K, you can actually play games on the APU at a reasonable quality level. There’s no need for us here to tell you about the internals of the APU, you can find that anywhere else on the web and quite frankly we doubt if you care. What we do care about is what this APU means for AMD, its customers and subsequently us the end users. For competitive overclocking, there’s nothing for you here. Sure you can submit for hardware points but that’s about it. For casual gamers and those building home theatre PCs. That may not be the case. See, in this price bracket and usage scenario, the only alternative to AMD’s APUs are INTEL’s Core i3 CPUs. These are competent for basic work but if you’ve ever tried to load a game on any one of these you’d soon realize how

futile the entire exercise was. Plainly put, you do not want to be gaming with the IGP on any INTEL CPU right now. They have improved immensely but just aren’t where they need to be when compared to what AMD offered with Llano and even more so presently with Trinity. On the CPU front, don’t expect miracles, despite that these APUs are based on Piledriver. The host CPUs have always been weak and this has not changed. Once again measuring these APUs as you would CPUs is missing the point entirely. Disappointing for us the enthusiast community probably, but there’s some sense to what AMD has been professing about the need for CPU power vs. graphics. Overclocking the APU on LN2 may be fun; in fact we have witnessed some fairly impressive overclocking on the platform; however it’s pretty much limited to maximizing the GPU

benchmarks and find reason to be disappointed. Those benchmarks can’t relate in numbers how good this APU is and more importantly the value AMD is offering with such a part. As stated in the beginning, we here like the APU, especially the 5800K. The graphics performance is fantastic for an IGP, its available virtually everywhere and the price is great. This is likely the first worthwhile product from AMD since the Phenom II came out. [ TheOverclocker ]

performance in 3DMark Vantage for example or trying to reach the highest CPU speed. Quite interesting that this boast of high frequencies is one both INTEL and AMD have made at different times, but we’ll leave you to figure out exactly at which juncture such claims were popular to each vendor. Since the iGPU is where the magic is, you should keep in mind that memory clocks will affect the performance drastically. So consider 2133MHz and faster sets instead of those 1,600MHz kits you may have had lying around from the Phenom II days. The IMC has been improved on the trinity CPUs and even though it’s not officially supported, on the board we tested, 2133MHz worked just fine. Sadly we couldn’t get 2,400MHz to work as that would have

improved the VGA performance further, but we were more than satisfied with 2133MHz. Hopefully this is a BIOS issue rather than a silicon limitation. At $130 it’s hard not like the 5800K APU. There’s nothing else you can buy that will offer this kind of value. The APU does also offer the possibility of adding a second graphics card to the system and have the discreet and internal GPU work in tandem. It may sort off defeat the purpose and pricing of this CPU, but we are pretty sure there are individuals who’ll find need of this, either as a cheap upgrade or making use of a low end graphics card that already had. Whatever you may need this CPU for, you’re unlikely to be disappointed provided you are mindful of what it is exactly you’re buying and for what purposes. Do not look for or at the Cinebench, Super Pi or any other CPU centric

Summary Usually AMD is telling us what and how their products are value for money and what isn’t for various reasons. This time we the end users need no convincing as the numbers say more than AMD could ever hope to. There simply isn’t a more cost effective way to build a basic gaming/media or work machine than AMD’s APUs right now.

Would you buy it? Yes, there’s no reason to look anywhere else if you’re looking at this price range.

The Score

8.5/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 25


LIQUID NITROGEN prep for your GPU with the Tek9 Single GPU 3D overclocking is a great challenge that can be fun when all you need to worry about is pushing the clocks as high as they can go and getting great results. Once again preparation can mean the difference between getting some solid runs down or killing cards left and right with not much to show for the effort. As I mentioned in the previous guide for CPU prep on Z77, it doesn't have to be complicated or overdone, just done right. Cards can be completely frozen over at the end of sessions so you can't cut corners if you want to keep the system running. Let’s go over how I prepare

my GPUs before I do my single card runs. Here is what works best for me and best of all my method won't trash your “blingy” new GPU. List of items needed are petroleum jelly (Vaseline is good), some 2-5/8 diameter or slightly larger round foam insulation. Half inch thick, foam tape, paper towels ("shop towels" are best as they are particularly absorbent and wick up water nicely), small brush for applying grease, hair dryer or heat gun, some scissors to cut out all your socket gaskets and some rubber bands. [IMAGE 1]

STEP ONE Step one is to remove the PWM heatsink from the PWM area before applying the grease. I don’t use dry eraser for protection from condensation because I have found that the dry eraser tends to transfer cold to the surrounding surface mounted components particularly on GPUs. This will cause problems in long overclocking sessions. Use the brush and apply the grease all around the GPU front and back (areas marked green). As in the picture (2 & 3), put extra grease in front of the row of caps on the card then tilt it and heat it with heat gun

26 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

STEP 3 so the grease runs down in and around the caps and mosfets on the card. Water can get in there and short so this is a key step.

STEP 2 After the grease is applied, you can remount the PWM heatsinks at which point it’s time to use the foam tape. Make some PCB gaskets to seal off the card surfaces on the front and back of the PCB around the GPU. Make the tape gaskets for the back of the card now, but we won't use them until the later steps. (After the pot is mounted)

Now let’s can make some quick and easy insulation for the GPU LN2 container before mounting the card to it. This guide can apply equally to any GPU unit you decide to use for your overclocking; here I will use my Tek-9 FAT pot. As I mentioned earlier, no need to use any nasty sticky tape insulation and mess up your pot forever, it’s much easier and more effective to use some slip on round foam around the container instead. It will last longer and protect against condensation better. Cut the piece of round foam the length of the container as in the picture (7).







STEP 4 I will remind you to install the temperature probe before this step as well, or else it will be very tough to do so after the pot is fully insulated. Also be sure to run your probe length out of the BOTTOM of the container and not the top so it won’t get torch damage on frequent use (8).

STEP 5 Cut out the foam around the bracket area of the GPU pot as pictured (10), then seal off the bottom of the container with some foam (11). You can use multiple layers here to aid the pot in

standing up straight when mounted on the board as to not put stress on the board slot/GPU PCI express fingers. This can lead to detection issues down the road after long periods of overclocking.

STEP 6 You are finally ready to mount the card on the pot. Put the socket gaskets on the front side of the card, apply the TIM and mount the card to the pot (12). Contact is everything when it comes to overclocking any kind of hardware, GPUs in particular. The best way to get really good contact is to push

the card on the backside with your thumb in the center behind the core. Hold it there tightly while you put all four thumbnuts on and screw them down until they touch the card, but not too tight. Then turn them an EQUAL amount of turns at a time going diagonally until you cannot turn the nuts any tighter using just your fingers. Never use a wrench or pliers to tighten them more than is possible with just your hands as you can damage the solder balls behind the GPU where it attaches to the PCB. When you see artifacts at post even when using the stock cooler, this is most likely what happened.

Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 27







STEP 8 Once I know I have good contact on a card and the results show it, I won't remove the container in between sessions.

STEP 7 Ok now it’s time to use those socket gaskets you made from the tape on the backside of the card. Be sure to apply lots of grease to the sticky side of the tape before you apply it to card to ensure you keep out as much air as possible (14).

28 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

As one of the final steps of insulation on the card, I always make a "bib" out of paper towel that will help catch any water that runs off onto the board from the backside of the card and especially when you’re torching (15). You can secure it easily using the rubber bands. These can be reused over and over again every time you overclocking.

STEP 9 Before installing the pot with the card mounted to the

motherboard, we need to prep the boards PCI express area to cope with the ice and water that will form there when overclocking with really cold temperatures on the card (16). Start by applying grease to the front and back of the board in the areas marked green. You will also want to take a piece of tape with grease applied to the sticky side and stick it on the motherboard the length of the slot underneath the 1st GPU slot so the whole thing is covered (17).








STEP 10 The last step is to install the card into the board, but before you do that make sure to put some paper towel in front and at the back of the slot to catch any moisture running off from the card. Preventing it from shorting something on the board in this area (18).

LAST STEP Now you’re done and it’s time to let it rip. Prep your cards and GPU pots like this every time.

Don't be lazy and skip steps, and your hardware will keep running strong letting you get the best overclocking results possible with it. I can't even remember the last time I killed a card while using this prep method and I’m overclocking a ton these days so I know it works. Watch out for the next issue where I will be using a similar GPU prep method, only this time for 4 way 3D overclocking. [ K|NGP|N ]

Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 29


32 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

Magazine covers




A bird’s eye-view of the arena. Pretty slick!

Fifteen teams, thirteen countries, a copious amount of LN2 and some of the best hardware money can buy. This is MSI’s Master Overclocking Arena.

These are lasers (no these are lights in the shape of, nevermind!) and this is a man with lights on him, as would be a 70s robot. Stylin!

A girl.


here there was once several live overclocking events on the calendar, there is now but one and if there’s anything to infer from that. It’s that MSI is truly dedicated to overclocking and the overclocking community in a way few or no other vendor is. A bold statement, but then again, it’s a monumental undertaking organizing a live overclocking competition. For five years straight, overclockers from all over the world have been gathering in Taipei Taiwan to battle it out for not only prizes, money and fame, but the title of being that respective year’s MOA Champion. A title that I believe is worth more than the prize money in some ways. This year was easily the best year of the competition and for some reason it coincided with this year’s Mr.Olympia 2012 contest all the way across the globe in Las Vegas Nevada. This little coincidence made it a little more special for us here at TheOverclocker or at least for me. The arena was familiar, as had

been the tradition since the first competition; The National Taiwan University was the contest ground for this year’s competition. This is where MSI would host the most extreme competition of the year, and easily the biggest overclocking competition of the year as well.

THE GEAR With so much Z77 overclocking taking place, one would have assumed that this would have been the platform for choice for MSI. After all, the Z77 MPower board (reviewed in this issue) had been available for retail already and if high clock speeds and big numbers were the intention, this was the platform to choose. Well, it turns out the platform was actually X79. That’s right; INTEL’s most expensive desktop platform was the platform selected.. MSI may have had their reasons for this, but we sort of figured why this made sense on our own or at least it was probably the best decision made in any live overclocking competition. See, with X79 as you may know, the CPU plays the biggest part. This is true for any single platform, but no other ecosystem has this kind of Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 33

reliance on the CPU. Essentially, the motherboard while important can be rendered irrelevant by the right or wrong CPU. Moreover, because of how SNB-E overclocks, it’s pitifully easy to find out the limits of the CPU as it’s simply a matter of selecting the desired multiplier and checking to see if you can boot into windows. Increase or decrease the multiplier accordingly until a successful boot is made and right there will be the maximum frequency for the chosen CPU. This is however a double-edged sword, if only because it meant that the single CPU that is capable of utilizing the higher multipliers would dominate with little to no recourse possible. This is essentially what ended up happening, but it must be stressed that the kind of benchmarks that MSI chose negated this caveat almost completely, but more on that later. The rest of the hardware was as you would have expected. The true gem of the arsenal made available for use by the competitors was the N680GTX Lightning. Despite all the potential problems competitors faced when trying to overclock this graphics card, most (and we are talking about almost everyone here) were able to reach speeds significantly higher than what they would otherwise be able to on any other GTX680 on the market. Given the difficulties faced by all GTX 680s courtesy of NVIDIA’s curious position on overclocking software and such, one has to praise MSI on solidifying their position as the number one graphics card manufacturer for extreme overclockers. Much like with CPUs, graphics cards do vary and they did at the competition as well, some behaved erratically, because of temperature, others because of software and some a combination of the two. Free from CPU stabilizing issues courtesy of the platform, most of the competitors were able to focus on the task at hand through each benchmark. The rest of the gear was great as well. Memory came courtesy of Kingston, the 1TB Velociraptor hard drives were provided by Western Digital, power and peripherals by Thermaltake and finally displays by BenQ. Needless to say all these vendors had representatives present during the contest showing off the various wares to the public that did come in for a look at the event. On a side note, it’s worth adding here that more than 80% of the competitors 34 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

present used K|NGP|N Cooling containers for either the CPU, GPU or both. These have seemingly become the de-facto standard for competitive overclockers and with good reason too I might add.

Lucky_n00b and I.R.I.S. One is serious and one is about to ROFL. This is extreme overclocking!

THE COMPETITORS Fifteen teams eventually took part in the competition, even though sixteen had originally gained entry into the competition. The team from Greece unfortunately did not make it, but nevertheless it was still a highly competitive field. With live competitions, it’s always a mixture of experience, talent, preparation and luck of the draw. The team that is at their best on the day with the most agreeable hardware and luck will eventually prevail. As such it is imperative for all to realize that the placing at these competitions only serve as rankings of sorts within the confined environment under very specific conditions. Most of the overclockers present on the day, with their normal surroundings and comforts would have produced not only higher scores (in the case of the 3D Benchmarks) but likely with little to no hardware failures. When the pressure is on to deliver, the conditions change and as friendly as the environment was between the overclockers, a competition will always be that and that manifested itself in various ways throughout the day. With so many countries represented as well, MOA 2012 had some big names competing, comprising of the following (not in any order): Splave and Romdominance from the USA, Rbuass and Hazzan under the Fusion banner, Smoke and 12 from the Russian Federation, SniperOZ and Deanzo representing (Australia and New Zealand), OC_Windforce and Littleboy from Korea as Team-MPBK, Lucky-n00b and I.R.I.S from Indonesia (, Vivi and dRweEz from Team-SA, SOOGE and Pula the other Australian team competing as Team Mipmap. Perica_baril and Quake as HW Gurus (a hybrid team from Montenegro and Croatia), ASD Crew from Poland with ryba and Joanna, T0lsty and cyclone from the Ukrain (, the Xtreme Team from Poland represented by Xtreme Addict and Piwor and from Brazil, Gnidaol and OverHeat as Loading CFX5BR. Monstru and matose from Romania competed as LAB501 and finally the 2nd Indonesian team,

Vince K|NGP|N Lucido, the man himself with Jon “Elmor” Sandström. Two of the calmest overclockers you’re likely to ever come across, two of the best as well.

“This year was easily the best year of the competition and for some reason it coincided with this year’s Mr.Olympia 2012 contest all the way across the globe in Las Vegas Nevada.”

All the overclockers lined up on stage for the press photos.

This is where the competitors would come through like champions to fanfare and hype. Yes, that’s tom Cruise’s long overdue brother on the left.

The Warriors, well no not exactly, but hey It’s unlikely we’d fit this many actual warriors in a shot like this and they certainly wouldn’t be this pleasing.

The Hardware as most people would run it normally, but this is extreme overclocking, normal is not fun we say.

Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 35

THE BENCHMARKS AND THE COMPETITION JagatReview-Binus CE with Coldest and bboyjezz. In essence, a lot of overclockers from various regions, all of whom had secured tickets to the finals earlier in the year in the hope of not only representing their chosen teams and countries, but themselves as overclocking gurus. In addition to the presence of so many well-known overclockers, there were many others who were not competitors but made an appearance. Interestingly, all the overclockers who had held the number one spot in the world in the last five years were also at the venue, some checking out the competition, others showing support for friends and others just to see what MSI MOA 2012 was about. MSI’s resident high-fiving guru “Elmor” was also present all the way from Stockholm Sweden landing a hand throughout the day, while Tim (T_M) Marshall the veteran overclocker served as Master Judge.

This year had three benchmarks for the competitors to best each other in, one CPU and memory benchmark along with two 3D benchmarks. As stated earlier, given the platform of choice the benchmarks chosen were spot on. There would be advantages to the team with the best overclocking hardware as always but that advantage wasn’t straight forward. For instance Super Pi 32M as usual would respond well to high frequencies, but the nature of the benchmark or test rather would necessitate tweaking of memory sub timings and the operating system itself, so depending on the competitors proficiency with the benchmark, the competition would be tighter than it would initially seem with the highest frequency CPU walking all over the competition. Nowhere else was this more obvious than in the Super Pi 32M results where the team with the highest clocking CPU achieved only the 3rd highest score in in the benchmark. It was Team

Remember those lasers on the man? Yes, they were ice popsicles as illustrated here.

Rbuass, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever come across. Preparing a board and sealing against water damage.

“Fifteen teams eventually took part in the competition, even though sixteen had originally gained entry into the competition.” 36 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

This has to be the classic extreme overclocking shot that every overclocker on the planet worth their salt has taken.

No idea what we were watching here but there was music and dancing involved, soothing.

2nd runner up team Joana and ryba.

Overall winners and Moa 2012 Champions: OC_Windforce and LittleBoy. There was some Gangnam style dancing involved soon after this.

1st runner up team big Splave and Romdominance.

HW GURUs who won the first round, followed closely by Team USA and then Team_MPBK. This was in some ways a testament to the right choice of benchmarks for the platform or the other way around. Regardless, at this point it was very interesting as it was too early to tell who would be the winners but the top three teams seemed to have been sorted. As with all live overclocking competitions, nothing is decided by the first benchmark and the remainder of the day proved this as the competitors moved to the 3D benchmarks. First up was 3DMark03, not everyone’s favourite, but certainly not hated by anyone. Despite its age, it has scaled pretty well with advancing hardware, striking the right balance between graphics and host processing power. Once again, the choice of benchmarks proved to be sound as Team USA scored the highest with a score of 163,273, followed closely by the Polish duo ASD Crew and finally the Korean Team. Out of the fifteen teams around only five managed scores above the 160K mark and with that kind of spread in performance it was a truer representation on the overclocking pedigree of each team as a combined effort than in any of the other two

benchmarks. With the fastest SuperPi 32M time, HW GURUS were leading with only the USA team scoring higher than them in 3DMark03.All things seemed to be going well and with just one more benchmark to go, the win was within reach. There were two other teams that were close to the 160K mark in 3DMark03 and that was Team Indonesia – JagatReview-Binus-CE with 159,554 and the Australian/New Zealand team with 159,713. In each case a slightly stronger CPU would have seen them break into the top five, alas it seemed it wasn’t’ meant to be. Still, not all was lost because 3DMark11 was still to come and because of the result weighting of this benchmark, the competition was still open to any number of teams that had submitted scores that were sufficient enough to keep them in the running. The third and final benchmark changed everything. 3DMark11, easily the most GPU bound benchmark of the lot was what eventually settled what had otherwise been a tight competition amongst the top five. The HW GURUS team that had looked so promising were let down by their result only managing to score a respectable but nonetheless uncompetitive 14,936. With such a strong showing in Super Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 37

Pi 32M and 3DMark03, one would have figured the combination of those two benchmarks showed that the team had a very strong system. However it was their competition to lose and the 3DMark11 score sadly placed them out of the Top 3. This was an unfortunate turn of events given that the team were so close to sealing the win or at least getting a top three finish. A similar fate or some may argue an even worse fate befell the USA team, because unlike the Montenegro/Croatia team, Splave and Romdominance actually did put up a fairly competent score that was the fourth highest of the day with 15,247 points in the benchmark. Unfortunately, despite the great consistency that the team had shown throughout the day, it was the Korean Team of Littleboy and OC_Windforce that piped them at the end with a score of 15,647 points. A wonderful score for sure, but not the highest as that honour belonged to the Ukrainian team of This would have been an interesting turn of events, but because T0lsty and cyclone did not submit a Super Pi 32M result, they were already out of the running from the get go. 3DMark11 again changed the fate of another team as the third highest

“This year had three benchmarks for the competitors to best each other in, one CPU and memory benchmark and two 3D benchmarks.” 38 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

3DMark11 score of the day went to ASD Crew. With their result they managed to displace HW GURUS from a top three position securing them as the 2nd runner ups. Hard luck to Perica_ baril and Quake, but well done to ryba and Joana for getting the jump on the competition at the last minute. LAB 501 rounded up the top 5 for the day. As far as benchmarks, balancing and score distribution goes, some may have felt 3DMark11 played too important a role in determining the finishing order, but it actually was balanced correctly from where I stand or at least it’s consistent with the weighting system. The only reason it may seem to be heavily biased is because the numbers are smaller than those of 3DMark03 for example, where 200 points doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re comparing hundreds of thousands of points. In 3DMark11 however the scores are significantly lower and 200 points becomes very pronounced. In the end then it was Team Korea that took the title as this year’s overclocking champions, followed by Team USA then ASD Crew. Well done to all the teams that participated and we’ve no doubt that Team Korea will return next year to try and defend their title.

SniperOz and Deanzo submitting a score I think.

Immense concentration, earlier on during the day. Behind these two are Elmor and VC from Gelid.

ViVi in his Eric Cartman steez, the young and talented overclocker from South Africa!

NVIDIA at its finest.

Top three teams with MSI VP Charles Jiang.


This is how we keep it all cool.

It was grand, it was fun and it was epic. MSI’s MOA once again delivered where it counted. Actually this was easily the best year of the competition in all forms and we look forward to covering this event again next year, with familiar faces and new entries. We here at TheOverclocker would like to extend a thank you to MSI and especially its staff for the invitation and assistance throughout the show. The co-sponsors and certainly the competitors many of whom we have grown to call friends over the years. We will see you all soon, hopefully next year for another round of extreme overclocking on the most powerful hardware available at the time. Until then, this is Neo for TheOverclocker signing off. Catch you on the flip side (I mean it, seriously, turn the page!) [ Neo Sibeko ] Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 39

Genre: Action adventure Developer: Vigil Games Publisher: THQ Price: $49.99 (PC)

Darksiders II D

arksiders was a pleasant surprise, born from the minds of a fledgling development studio, eager to make a mark with their first title. And make their mark they did: they managed to deliver an excellently polished and highly enjoyable actionadventure romp, one filled with many hours of quality exploration, puzzle and action elements. Naturally, it wasn’t for everyone. But it seems enough people enjoyed its Legend of Zelda-like charms to ensure that the game received a much-deserved sequel. And you’ve got to hand it to Vigil: they’re now two-for-two, with a sequel that does its predecessor proud. First, the plot. It runs parallel to that of Darksiders I, and switches out War for Death. Here’s a quick refresher: the first game saw War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, riding out to herald the apocalypse at the appointed time, only to discover that it’s happened early, Heaven and Hell are already at war, and that humankind has been obliterated in the conflict. Following this, War is imprisoned for 100 years 40 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

by the Charred Council. Darksiders II takes place during this time, casting players as War’s brother Death. Death believes his brother innocent, refusing to accept that War would’ve prematurely unleashed the apocalypse. And so, we join Death on a journey across numerous strange and beautiful worlds, packed with deadly foes to defeat, puzzling dungeons to traverse and massive overworld areas to investigate, all to prove his brother’s innocence and simultaneously resurrect humanity. Like its forebear, Darksiders II is a blend of games that have come before it, drawing inspiration from other celebrated franchises and using that inspiration to carve out its own unique identity. Darksiders II is basically an angrier, bloodier Legend of Zelda, and anyone familiar with that series will immediately feel at home here. Each area you visit in the game boasts a sprawling overworld playground, littered with enemies who’ll add a bit of challenge to your exploratory expeditions. To help with getting around these enormous zones

quicker, you’ve got access to Death’s horse Despair. Within each area you’ll find merchants, trainers and other non-hostile NPCs who’ll sell you new items and gear, train you in combat to add new combos and abilities to your move list, or supply you with side-quests that you can choose to complete if you’re a fan of cool rewards like bonus experience points and piles of Gilt (the game’s currency). Then there are the game’s numerous dungeons, which you’ll find scattered liberally across the game’s worlds. They’re intricately designed, filled with clever puzzles and loads of secrets, some of which can only be accessed once you’ve unlocked new abilities for Death as you play. They put Death’s acrobatic ability to the test, with many movement-based challenges waiting around every corner. Traversing the environment as Death is fluid and intuitive, enough so that it doesn’t become a pain during some of the more intense acrobatic sections. Dungeons are naturally teeming with different types of enemies, and many of the game’s boss Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 41

fights are confined to the dungeons as well. Combat in Darksiders II flows well, with Death having access to primary weapons (his scythes) and secondary weapons (there are different types of secondary weapons, with their own strengths) to dish out damage. There are also potent Wrath abilities, used by expending accumulated Wrath (which you earn by attacking enemies), and Death’s Reaper form, which upon activation will transform Death into his Grim Reaper-style alternate appearance and allow you to deal significant damage to any enemies unfortunate enough to be around at the time. You’ll find light RPG elements in here as well, with Death levelling up as he accrues XP, letting you spend skill points to unlock new Wrath abilities and other upgrades, as well as useful bonus abilities at specific milestones. One of the most important new additions to the Darksiders formula is the action RPG-style loot gathering. Slaying enemies and opening chests will occasionally yield a random item of varying rarity,

each one boasting its own damagedealing potential and unique bonuses to Death’s various attributes. Some have useful special abilities that they bestow. Others can be “fed” surplus inventory items to upgrade them, choosing which bonuses to apply to the weapon as it improves. It would have been nice for there to have been more variety in the items that can be found, and perhaps a way to better highlight smaller, difficult to spot items (which sometimes get lost amidst the game’s backgrounds), but it’s nevertheless an excellent system that makes perfect sense as a supplementary feature in this game. There really is a lot to like about Darksiders II. It’s an absolutely enormous game, filled to bursting with secrets to discover and visually stunning areas to painstakingly explore. It’s one of those games you can get lost in for dozens of hours. The enemy variety is decent enough, with some truly memorable boss fights throughout that’ll leave your jaw dragging along the ground. The music and surrounding ambient audio fit the

“There really is a lot to like about Darksiders II. It’s an absolutely enormous game, filled to bursting with secrets to discover and visually stunning areas to painstakingly explore.”

42 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

game perfectly, and the voice acting is excellently delivered throughout. Visually, it’s not a technological powerhouse: but it boasts beautiful, vivid art direction that is undeniably attractive, and the scale of the thematically varied environments is often breathtaking. Two things I’d like to whine about here. First, the camera. It’s often infuriating, placing itself in the exact opposite position to where you need it to be. Secondly, the nature of the game means that its gameplay occasionally falls into a very repetitive pattern. Still, this is just me trying to find stuff to complain about in a game that I’ve otherwise become worryingly besotted with. Be warned that if you didn’t enjoy the original, there’s an overpowering possibility that you’ll not enjoy this one either, as they both walk a very similar path. But if you want a game packed with hours of quality adventuring, obsessive loot-gathering, satisfying monsterbashing and engrossing, striking worlds to explore, then Darksiders II is sure to make you as happy as it’s made me. [ Dane Remendes ]

Would you buy it? I would. It’s one of the best action adventures ever created.

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 43

Tt eSPORTS Meka G-Unit Mechanical Keyboard RRP: $139.99 | Website:


here are fewer peripherals as plentiful as gaming keyboards, almost all of them mechanical (the self-respecting ones) and each offering some kind of Macro system. Gamers have been funneled into this standard model and all we see are variations of this basic idea. Not a bad thing at all actually, because let’s face it. A Keyboard was never the ideal input mechanism for gaming, it became the de-facto standard by virtue of there being nothing else and we’ve slowly adapted it for our needs and comforts. The Meka G-Unit keyboard is as design goes, one of the most uninspired keyboards I’ve ever seen. It’s a far cry from the Osmium and in general just doesn’t scream pleasing aesthetics. However I will say it’s a solidly build keyboard and it looks like it can take lots of abuse, something that can’t be said for most. I personally would have preferred it in white like the G1 Unit, if only because it would look a little slicker. It may be better though to have it in black only as the white would get dirty very quickly. At $140 this isn’t a cheap keyboard. In fact it’s one of the more expensive

44 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

ones. For that however you get an audio controller built into the unit. That’s right; if you plug this keyboard into your system you can use the audio controller on it and forgo the one in your main system. So it’s essentially a portable sound card as well. A pretty neat feature but not without its caveats because if you have a discreet audio card in your system or one of the superior audio solutions on the G1 line of motherboards for instance, the functionality of the audio processor is wasted. I’d have liked to see a pass-through allowing you to use whatever audio solution you have, running the signal through the keyboard as with the Osmium I looked at last month. Still, it’s the only keyboard I know that has this and for that alone, it’s a tick in the right place for the Meka G-Unit. For connectivity there’s the standard USB 2.0 hub as well allowing you to plug two devices into the keyboard. Be warned that some USB flash drives will draw too much power from the keyboard, so it’s best if you use this hub for simple things such as mice and the smaller flash drives to avoid drawing more power

than the keyboard can provide. Overall this is a solid keyboard. It’ll not be winning any design awards and there could be a few improvements made, but as a mechanical gaming keyboard it gets the basics right and throws in a few novel ideas which should go a long way into making that price more palatable. If you do decide to buy the G-Unit you’ll not be disappointed. There aren’t many keyboards that are as tough as this one and that’s something to consider when buying these high end keyboards as the last thing you’ll want is to drop it and have it break. We don’t encourage that with the G-Unit either, but somehow we suspect it’ll survive a short fall without taking too much damage if any at all. [ The OverClocker ]

The Score


“Much like the original Scout case, it has four USB ports at the front, the difference however is that there’s a slide cover provided for these.”

CM Storm Scout 2 RRP: $99.99 | Website: cm


ooler Master knows how to make cases. One may even argue that they make nothing else as well as they make cases. After all they’ve been at it for a long time and it shows. It’s in the little things where it’s most evident.. From packaging to presentation, it’s all done well with thought and practicality. As with many Cooler Master cases from recent years, you can install and setup your system without aid of the manual. It is that simple and certainly that easy especially with the CM Storm Scout 2. This is a mid-tower case, so any ideas you may have about building that ultimate 4-way Mutli-GPU system into this case should be rested immediately. No, this is for standard ATX motherboards and as such you should take great care as to planning what it is exactly you’ll be fitting into the system. Despite the size, the interior of this case is relatively spacious or at least a little more spacious than I had envisioned. Cable management is a breeze if only because there are several rubberised openings where you can push cables through, to and

from the back of the case. As stated earlier, it’s in the little things that make the Scout 2 a breeze to work with. Aesthetically it won’t turn heads like the Cosmos 2, but it’s good looking even though it’s very subtle. The handles at the top of the case are strong and carrying this is not only simple but comfortable. It’s the one of the better LAN case on sale. It’s designed in a way to have the weight of the system be as evenly distributed as possible so even if you have to walk a distance it isn’t too cumbersome. This is a definite advantage for those who have to take their computers everywhere for LAN gaming. Features wise, it’s the standard affair. Much like the original Scout, it has four USB ports at the front, the difference however is that there’s a slide cover provided for these. Of more importance, two of the ports are USB3.0 compatible and all of them are placed horizontally as opposed to vertically on the original Scout. A small but necessary change, because you can now fit those big USB plugs, typical of high performance USB3.0 flash drives without rendering any of

the nearby ports unusable. The top of the chassis near the front features three stylish but simple buttons that curve along with the case. The biggest one being the power button in the middle, to the right is the reset button and the left has the light switch, simple but effective. This case is charming in its simplicity, it doesn’t go overboard in anything but provides high quality finishes and sensible design to make it not only a pleasure to work in but attractive as well. For the asking price it’s more than a fair purchase and it definitely gets my approval, another stellar job from CM Storm then. [ The OverClocker ]

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 45








BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case RRP: $89.99 | Website:


t’s not often one considers a Mini-ITX case around these parts. Heck, I have never cared for the form factor or anything related to it. After all, its sole purpose is to be tiny. Weak CPU, limited memory capacity, tiny cases, graphics cards, PSUs you name it, its tiny and profoundly annoying. Well, that changed, or at least it did for me, when I first came across the BitFenix Prodigy. If it hasn’t dawned on you that I well and truly like this case, allow me articulate to you why this case is unlike anything I’ve seen before for this form factor. Oh and before I forget, let’s not gloss over the fact that it’s $90. That kind of money doesn’t buy much in the way of good 46 The OverClocker Issue 21 | 2012

cases, but here with the Prodigy, it essentially buys you the best enthusiast Mini-ITX case around. Stick any one of the Z77 Mini-ITX boards inside (like the GIGABYTE Z77N-WiFi) and you can have yourself a full gaming machine. Quite a powerful one I might add. See, the thing with the Prodigy is that it takes full sized hardware. That’s right, while there are other Mini-ITX cases that can claim to have the real estate to house a full sized graphics card. What they don’t’ tell you is that you’ll have to power said graphics card with a 200 watt PSU or some such pitiful thing because you simply can’t get standard PSU’s into the chassis. This is once again an issue that

BitFenix has addressed and you can pretty much fit any PSU inside that you want, save for those mammoth 1.5KW units. So not only can you fit a regular sized PSU in the case, full sized graphics card, but a radiator as well. Actually a dual radiator like the one found on the CORSAIR H100. Should you go this route, you’ll not be able to use the optical drive space, but that’s nothing a USB drive can’t fix. Add space for at least five hard drives and you have yourself a small case that can hang with the best of them. I’ve highlighted some of the case features. Some spoken about already, but just so you get a better idea of what the Prodigy is about, in case my words don’t move you.

1 2

Flexible handles that actually act as shock absorbers of sorts. Comfortable to carry the case with and also serve as styling ques.


This is what I was talking about earlier. The motherboard actually sits above the PSU so there’s ample space to fit a regular size PSU in here

A removable drive cage for those very long graphics cards. So far I can’t think of a single graphics card that wouldn’t fit in there with the drive cage removed.

4 5

Optical drive is mounted here naturally or you can use this space for dual radiators.


BitFenix ships a single 120mm silent fan with the case, you can use that space for a single radiator LCS like the Thermaltake Water 2.0 or other similar units.


These cases come in at least four colors, although right now you may only be able to get it in white or black. Both colors are great actually. The simplistic design lends itself very well to making it look classy without being old.


Power and Reset buttons are on the side. We’d have preferred them at the top of the case but it makes sense why they were placed there.


USB 3.0 ports that also work equally well on USB 2.0 headers, if there’s any complaint here it’s that there’s only two instead of four, but then again I can only wonder what that would do to the price.

“... not only can you fit a regular sized PSU in the case, full sized graphics card, but a radiator as well.”

Would you buy it? Overall this is simply the best Mini-ITX chassis on the market. If you’re looking, look no further, this is the case you want.

The Score

9/10 Issue 21 | 2012 The OverClocker 47

Issue 16 2011

February 2011 | Issue 13 rev 2.0

rev 2.0



New Generation



NZXT Phantom




A Glimpse into a possible future











Issue 17 2011

April 2011 | Issue 14

rev 2.0

rev 2.0






the KING IS HERE! Reviewed


Gam me Revvieew


AMD FX 8150




pg.22 pg.28








Issue 19 2012

Issue 18 2012

rev 2.0

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board to silence them all?



AMD HD7970 Lifestyle


Intel 3rd Gen i7 Power, Performance, Perfection.






Issue 20 2012 rev 2.0


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We cover the most prestigious hardware event in our massive eight page feature!



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TheOverclocker Issue 21