Competitive overclocking hub HWBOT has announced the start of the Team Cup 2020 overclocking competition. This monster competition runs until September the 30th, with teams competing for glory over 11 sub-competitions – each having 4 stages. If you thought two and a half months was a long time, 44 total stages might just change your mind! Being a team competition, most stages also require multiple scores from different users.
Team Cup has always been known for a focus on legacy hardware, and this year is no exception. The 4 stages in each sub-competition cover DDR1, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4-based systems.
HWBOT Team Cup 2020: The Stages
The first set of stages is 3DMark06. DDR1 requires AMD Socket 939. For DDR2, a dual-GPU setup on a 2-core CPU is required with GPUs based on Nvidia’s G80 and G92 cores (8800 and 9800). DDR3 ups the ante with a 3-core CPU (Phenom X3) and 3 GPU cores. Finally the DDR4 stage requires 4 CPU cores and 4 GPUs, but restricts that to Nvidia GPUs – meaning the platform has to be quad SLI capable. ASRock Z270 Supercarrier, anyone?
HWBOT x265 Benchmark – 1080p Stages
The next set of stages is HWBOT x265, a video encoding benchmark, at the 1080p preset. DDR1 requires Socket 478, going all the way back to the days of the Pentium 4 HT. For DDR2 the processor limitation is the “Conroe” core with 4MB of L2 cache – meaning E6000 series Core 2 Duo – and corresponding “Woodcrest” Xeons. DDR3’s limitation is 4 cores and the X58 chipset – Xeons with this chipset are cheap and plentiful these days. Finally, for DDR4 the only restriction is Socket AM4.
3DMark 99 Max Stages
The 3DMark 99 Max stages focuses on a true legacy benchmark. DDR1 requires an AMD CPU with an AGP video card. For DDR2, an Nvidia chipset and dual-core CPU are to be paired with a card based on either GF106 or GF116, Nvidia’s mid-to-low-end Fermi chip. DDR3 moves up to an LGA775 quad core with any single video card. Finally, the DDR4 stage is an X99 motherboard and any single video card.
Memory Frequency Stages
Team cup always has a memory frequency competition, and 2020 is no different. However, there are conditions. DDR1 bans the usual top choice of Socket 939, and mandates a full 1GB of memory along with a CL timing of exactly 3. DDR2 bans the usual choices of LGA775 and server equivalent LGA771, and mandates 2GB at CL5. For DDR3, the requirement is 8GB at CL10 and the socket requirement is AM3 or AM3+ only. Finally, the DDR4 memory frequency stage eschews socket restrictions but does require 16GB of memory and a CL timing of 15.
Unigine heaven – Basic Stages
Unigine heaven at the DirectX 9 Basic preset is next. DDR1 takes us back to AMD Socket 462 with an Nvidia GPU. Moving on to DDR2, there’s no platform restriction but a dual-GPU video card is required alongside a single-core CPU. DDR3 flips this, requiring a dual-core CPU with a single GPU from Nvidia GeForce 400 series. Finally, for DDR4 the requirement is an AMD APU using integrated graphics.
SuperPi – 32M Stages
SuperPi is to many the definitive competitive overclocking benchmark, so naturally there’s a set of stages revolving around the longer 32M preset. The DDR1 stage is socket 754 only, with multiplier capped at 8. For DDR2, the multiplier is capped at 8 once again and the CPU has to have 4 cores. DDR3 raises the multiplier limit to 10, with processors limited to AMD’s “Zambezi” – better known as first generation Bulldozer. DDR4 has a maximum multiplier of 12 and bans socket LGA1200, meaning the unlocked base clock on LGA1151 will be getting some love.
The next set of stages is based on 3DMark03, a fun legacy benchmark that still leans somewhat on the GPU despite the age. The DDR1 stage reuires a socket 478 CPU with an AGP graphics card. For DDR2, the requirement is a single Radeon HD 4000 series GPU with the CPU limited only by the DDR2 memory. DDR3 mandates 6 CPU cores, and a GeForce 500 series card. Finally, DDR4 3DMark03 requires only that the GPU be a single Vega-based card.
Cinebench – 2003 Stages
The Cinebench 2003 stages are interesting, as they mandate laptops. This isn’t just laptop CPUs – you have to actually use a laptop. Unlike the other stages, there’s no other restriction – just that you stick to laptops. Once again it’s split into DDR1, 2, 3 and 4 stages.
GPUPI for CPU Stages
GPUPI for CPU is an OpenCL CPU benchmark, and this set of stages is interesting for the use of different presets. DDR1 is unrestricted and the 100M preset. Also at the 100M preset, the DDR2 stage requires the Allendale core with 2MB of cache (Core 2 Duo E4000 series CPUs). Moving up to DDR3, the heavier 1B preset is chosen with a restriction to AMD CPUs only. Finally, DDR4 is full out 1B.
Not all GPU benchmarks run well on older hardware, so there’s a 3DMASH-UP set of stages with different benchmarks per generation. DDR1 is Aquamark3 with the ancient GeForce2 series. DDR2 is 3DMark Vantage with AMD’s Radeon HD 2000 series, headlined by the 2900 XT whose naming scheme has recently been revived for CPUs. For DDR3, it’s 3DMark Fire Strike on Intel iGPUs, although the rare and relatively powerful Iris series have been disallowed. Finally DDR4 is full out Unigine Superpositon at the demanding 8K preset.
wPrime – 1024M Stages
The final set of stages is wPrime 1024M, an older multithreaded benchmark. DDR1 is AMD Durons only – remember Durons? For DDR2 it’s socket AM2 (no AM2+ – Phenoms are out). DDR3 is dual-core CPUs based on Intel’s oft-forgotten Clarkdale series on LGA1156. Finally, the DDR4 wPrime 1024M stage is between socket AM4 processors.
How to Enter
If you’re interested in entering HWBOT Team Cup 2020, it’s as easy as registering on HWBOT, picking a team, and submitting scores with the button in each competition stage. Of course, you should make sure to check the rules and verification requirements carefully. Make sure also to pick up the full-size Team Cup 2020 desktop background, made once again by talented 3D artist DaQuteness.
Some people worry that they might drag a team down. However, the good news is that can’t happen here. If there are more scores than needed, the system uses the best scores. This means a score can only ever be helpful.
Entrants have until the 30th of September to get their scores in. Some people choose to “sandbag” scores until the last minute, but most competitive overclockers like the back and forth and post their scores right away. Ultimately sandbagging doesn’t make your score any higher.
The author will be benching for Team MLG – and hopefully doing a bit better than my somewhat dismal performance in cheapaz chips! I’ll freely admit that DDR4 overclocking is not my forte, nor is optimising a Windows 10 OS for performance. I ended up not getting any scores worth saving in an LN2 session before getting my motherboard too wet to keep working, which is why there was no followup to the B450M S2H Unboxing on Play3rTV. The hardware involved in HWBOT Team Cup 2020 is far more my wheelhouse, and I’m proud to say that I’ve laid down some damn strong scores in the past.
So, with fingers crossed that I don’t jinx it this time – see you in the rankings!