World record gaming system costs

Earlier in June 2012, HWbot member J.LIN broke the world record for highest 3D Mark 11 score, raking up 33,151 points in the “Performance” test.

J.Lin’s system made use of high-end components, including Asus’ top motherboard, 4 AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards in Crossfire mode, and an Intel i7 3960 Sandy Bridge-E processor. Below is what a similar system would retail for locally:

  • Intel Core i7 3960X – R11,300
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 x 4 – R22,000 (R5,500per card)
  • Asus Rampage IV Extreme – R4,900
  • Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD – R1,900
  • Antec High Current Pro 1,200w – R3,000
  • Kingston Hyper-X 4 x 2GB DDR3 2,400MHz* – R1,900

We were unable to find the exact same Patriot Viper Xtreme Division 2 RAM kit locally, so we’ve added in the above Kingston set which should retail for a similar amount. All other costs were sourced from local retailers, rounded off to the nearest R100.

This brings the total cost of the main system components to R43,100, however this doesn’t tell the whole story.

LAN gear level Asian

LAN gear level: Asian

Other cost considerations

The most obvious cost for this system is the liquid nitrogen used to cool the CPU below zero degrees. You’ll also have to store the liquid nitrogen in a special container called a dewar, which are rather expensive in their own right.

For more information you can contact local gas company Afrox for current pricing. Then there is the CPU pot that you would install onto the board to hold the liquid nitrogen. A Kingpin Cooling Dragon F1 Gemini 2.0 cooling pot is available now for $265 (R2,231.56) excluding shipping to SA.

The images also show that J.Lin made use of water cooling on the four graphics cards. This was a custom setup that integrated a liquid nitrogen pot into the cooling loop that allowed the graphics cards to operate at near sub zero temperatures, which without getting into too much detail, will set you back by another few thousand rand.

It’s not that easy

The above doesn’t take into account an important part of the overclocking process, binning.

All CPUs are built equal, but some are more equal than others. CPUs are built in batches, and for whatever reason some batches overclock better than other batches. It doesn’t end here though, and certain individual CPUs within a batch overclock better than others in the batch, so while a whole batch of CPUs might be good overclockers, only one or two chips may be capable of chasing world records.

Binning is the process of obtaining a large number of chips (preferably from a range of different batches), and testing each of them to find out whether they’re worth pushing to their max limit.

Bear in mind the above holds true for processors, graphics cards and RAM (and sometimes even motherboards), so it’s not as simple as buying a set of components and off you go.

J.Lin 3DMark11 World Record stats – Click to enlarge

So to compete with the big boys…

You need time, and money – lots of money. Or a sponsor who will give you lots of money to compete. Buying multiple R10,000 CPUs and a range of R6,000 graphics cards, not to mention multiple RAM kits, until you find that one in a hundred with golden chips.

So if you’ve got deep pockets and a fair amount of time to test them all out you should be sorted right? Well not quite.

To challange for world records you need more than golden hardware, you need to know how to push it. Looking at the Top 10 rankings in the Professional Overclockers League, names such as AndreYang, K|ngp|n, pro and NickShih stand out. These overclockers have thousands of hours of experience accumulated over many years, and constantly keep up with the latest hardware trends.

So bags of money, a bucket load of free time, and knowledge accumulated over years of trial and error is all you need to put together a world record system, seems easy right? See you on the high-score chart!

Related articles:

Most popular AMD motherboards for overclocking

Most popular Intel motherboards for overclocking

Futuremark Benchmarks, a brief history

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World record gaming system costs

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