Aha! Another overclocking competition, and in contrary to the previous EU competition, Belgium was present again! It has to be said, though, this wasn't an ordinary overclocking competition as it was actually held for the so-called power users rather than extreme overclockers. The difference between both remains, even after the event, unknown to me, but it seems that LN2-experience makes you extreme whereas being stuck with air cooling, but still attempt the occasional overclock makes you a power user. Lucky for me, Massman the extreme overclocker, I had Leeghoofd on my side who is a true power user. At least ... he was until a couple of weeks before the event.
The room where it all took place, we are making deals for the best CPU and GPU with Ruy from Gigabyte UK
So, two questions can be posed. Why was this event held? And why host an overclocking competition without LN2? The answer to the first question is a very simple one: to promote the new P55-series of motherboards
Before the actual kickoff of the overclocking competition, there was a presentation and short Q/A-session about the new features of the Gigabyte P55 motherboards. Most of the questions have a pretty straight-forward answer and the information can be found in our first P55 motherboard round-up
, in which we tested two Gigabyte motherboards, but there's one that caught my attention.
In short, one person asked Gigabyte about adopting the multi-GPU solution of Lucid, named Hydra. As you all know, the Lucid Hydra is a PCIe solution that allows video cards from different manufacturers to co-operate in rendering the same image or, in normal English, allows you to use both NVIDIA and ATI cards for 3D games. Lucid promises excellent performance ánd compatibility regardless of the drivers installed! MSI is, at the moment, the only vendor adopting this technology and, from the looks of it, will be the only one for a while. As the question was posed we were expecting a clear answer, but the Gigabyte spokesman only mentioned they were just looking into the capabilities of the chip. No word about an actual product housing the Lucid Hydra, which could mean two things:Legal problems involved in using this chip (Nvidia, MSI, ...)
The Lucid Hydra isn't as good as many want us to believe
After all, if the Hydra was indeed magnificent in terms of performance and Gigabyte was looking into implementing it, I'm sure they'd announced a motherboard, if only to steal MSI's thunder.
The people from Gigabyte being tortured by all the question, on the left the hardware engineer, in the middle the super duper and very nice Bios engineer ; mister Raymond and on the right the Marketing and always smiling mister Thomas
The Q&A proved quite interesting, here are some of the points that were discussed:
Gigabyte is aware of the fact that the analogue PWM design will not last forever. They are currently already testing the digital PWM, but have found that this solution does not offer better quality or efficiency. Eventually they will switch, but only when it becomes a real necessity.
Gigabyte is not planning on developing extra overclocking tools as seen on Asus products.
Gigabyte is thinking of bringing back the power-, reset- and clear CMOS buttons which some P55 boards lack. This because of the great demand from the market.
Gigabyte announced they would not only try to keep the power users happy, but are also looking into the general user with their new SMART6, that comes with a variety of tools, energy-saving technology and Gigabytes dual bios.
Now back to, “why host an overclocking competition without LN2?” First thing you need to know is that this P55 event is the follow-up event of the P45 plugfest, which was held last year to promote the P45 chipset. Back then, media and overclockers were invited to Taipei to test the new motherboards; media on air cooling, overclockers on LN2. As this event was in fact for media/power users, it seems like Gigabyte removed the extreme overclocking part of this event. Why? Possibly cost, possibly because the P55 has been launched a couple of months ago. Those are probably the answers closest to the truth, but, well, aren't as cool to think about. A more interesting hypothesis would be to see the removal of LN2 as a safety precaution. Why? Melting LGA1156 sockets!
In this thread over at XtremeSystems, yours truly (Massman), reported that the socket of one of our GA-P55-UD6 motherboards had melted. To make a long story short, the cause of this problem is NOT Gigabyte-specific, but rather an issue with the Foxconn LGA1156 socket design. Due to insufficient pressure on the socket pins, some pins overheat and thus making the plastic melt.
a) LGA1156 has less VCC/VSS pins than the LGA1366
b) The current draw on LGA1156 is almost the same as on LGA1366 (same technology)
c) More current is drawn through one individual LGA1156 pin than an LGA1366 pin
d) Foxconn socket failed to provide an even pressure across the processor
e) Uneven pressure means that some socket pins do not make contact with the processor, so even less pins are use the draw current. An enforced version of point 1+2.
f) The more current drawn, the higher the temperature
g) The plastic used in the Foxconn socket can't hold extreme temperatures
h) As a limited amount of VCC/VSS pins draw current, they heat up more than they should do. Combine that with a plastic socket (holds pins) that is incapable of withstanding this heat and you have a melting socket.
If you want to read more about this phenomenon, please refer to the article over at Anandtech.
By the way, at the event Gigabyte assured us that the socket issue has been fixed! They are now using a combination of the Lotes and Foxconn LGA1156 socket and a new combination for the socket plastic.