Step 1 - Learn the platform
If there's one thing I have learned in the past couple of years of extreme overclocking is that the foundation of a good session lies at the knowledge of your system. Too often I see people go straight from air cooling to liquid nitrogen and end up being frustrated that their system isn't overclocking all too well or not maximizing the system completely. As I don't have an LN2 sponsorship at this moment, I have to make sure that everything goes according to plan so that I'm not wasting any LN2 on worthless hardware.
The best advice I can give to a beginning extreme overclocker is to do one thing at a time: first make sure the base platform is working perfectly. This means pre-testing the combination of CPU, mainboard and memory and finding the sweet spots for voltage and performance. Also, know at what frequencies you can certainly boot/bench at so that in case something goes wrong, you can always go back to a safety setting. Another vital key in benchmarking, at least competitively, is that the first hour one should not be focused on getting the best score possible, but just getting a couple of runs through. This will give you a couple of base scores that you can compare to when benching for the real deal.
So, as my methodology prescribes I tested this Gulftown sample on phase-change cooling (~25°C) before going to liquid nitrogen. Thanks to the multiple visits to large overclocking events and spending hours in the past tweaking hardware for overclocking at subzero temperatures it's a bit easier to find the maximum frequencies, although a new architecture can always have uncovered problems. First of all, I tried to boot at the exact same voltage and frequency settings as I used for the Core i7 960. Not a common step, but ... I just wanted to see if it worked. And it did!
With a bit of tuning, I found this Gulftown to be capable of this 240MHz BCLK.
Sadly enough, that's where the fun stopped. I failed more than once to get this sample 3DMark Vantage stable, with all 6 Cores and 12 Threads enabled (6c 12t), neither voltage nor anything else helped me in that quest. Having heard so much good from the Gulftown overclockability in the past months, this was a huge slap in the face. I turned down the system and left it untouched for five days ... I was only going to test it again under liquid nitrogen, being almost certain it would be no good at all.