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Thread: The Ethics of Overclocking

  1. #1
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    The Ethics of Overclocking

    There has been a lot of talk lately bout the ethics of overclocking - what's ok and what isn't, especially when it comes to competitions. Well I suppose, like everything else, there are a lot of things we would all agree on and many things we wouldn't. But from my own point of view, modern overclocking is becoming much less concerned with what is ethical and more with winning at all costs. Not just from the competitive overclockers, but just as much from manufacturers as well as communities.

    What it comes down to is that in any competition, the competitors will do what they need to in order to win. To be frank, expecting anything else is almost childishly naive. For instance, those of us who followed soccer and the World Cup know that even though the ethics of soccer/football says that you cannot touch the ball with your hands, that in the rare instances where touching a ball with your hands is to your team's advantage, then that is exactly what a player will do. Players in all sports, in all pursuits the world over will take advantage of whatever loophole they can to tip the contest in their favor. That is why every major sport, literally going back for centuries, has a very, very long list of rules. It is not because everybody who plays every sport is a bad person but because if only one person is willing to take advantage of loopholes then everybody else will follow suit, because, when it comes down to it, you play the game to win.

    Well overclocking is not immune from the human competitive tendencies. Its about winning and winning is greatly incentivized by the manufacturers and earnings for marketers and league promoters. I want to make it clear at this point that I am not arguing that any of these things are bad - I like winning and making money as much as anyone else - but really, I think its shortsighted.

    What I mean is that if we want overclocking to grow past its infancy into something more serious and not just some quick flash in the pan, there needs to be rules that we can all agree to based upon some type of ethical framework that we can all accept. There will always be room for marketing and earning but not if overclocking devolves into a bunch of technical gimmicks that bear less and less of a relationship to useful "real world" results. That is, the more we see results that are more skewed by smart and creative interference from software tuning, limited edition, cherry picked and specialized equipment and all of that coupled with limitless waste of natural resources ( energy / cooling )....the list goes on and on, the less real interest there will be in overclocking over the long run.

    I believe that what we need to think about seriously is not so much about the ethics of overclocking as the "spirit" of overclocking after all. That spirit, in the beginning, was about taking substandard equipment and making it work for you. I myself, became interested a long time ago because I wanted and, in some sense, needed to improve the performance of my pcs for the purpose of digital video editing. I was losing hours of my life everyday waiting on every little video effect to render and I so I tried everything I could to speed up that process with the hardware I had.

    For a lot of others I have talked to, their needs were about gaming. I am sure a lot of us can attest to wanting to play a game that our videocards couldn't quite handle. Overclocking back in those days was about fulfilling a real need and the results were obvious. Either our computer could play the game or it couldn't.

    But nowadays, we have contests where we see benchmarks at 3000FPS when 99% of gamers can't see anything much better than 60FPS on their slowass LCDs anyway =) I think we have to start askig ourselves, what's the point of that? Whats the point of benchmarking at 1024 and 1280 resolutions, with most of the eye candy turned off? Quad SLI / Crossfire benching is, in my opinion, becoming more and more absurd. At least with the benchmarks we as overclockers are tradionally pushing the boundries.


    Bottom line, I think we need a different approach and one based upon codifying our common principles as practical engineers. If we want real growth, we need genuine innovation based not upon whatever sort of wildly inaccessible scenario we can create or upon some "gentleman's agreement" but based upon rules and upon real world results.

    For Xtremesystems one of the contests we have in mind, for instance, will entail getting the most performance per energy used with different watt classes. In others we will focus on a single affordable platform. Hopefully with this type of approach, we can recapture some of the fun of the old days and create a really useful model for overclocking going forward.



    Those are my thoughts but the point of posting this is that I am really interested in reading yours. What do you all think about the "ethics of overclocking"? And where is the true "spirit of overclocking" these days?

    mike
    Last edited by mike; 07-28-2010 at 11:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Bottom line, I think we need a different approach and one based upon codifying our common principles as practical engineers. If we want real growth, we need genuine innovation based not upon whatever sort of wildly inaccessible scenario we can create or upon some "gentleman's agreement" but based upon rules and upon real world results.
    This would be an entirely different category then. In my opinion the point of all these wild scenarios and special equipment we use is to get every last Mhz out of the hardware, one way or another.

    If we went with a more real world approach we would have no need for liquid nitrogen, helium, and where is the fun in that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damian^ View Post
    This would be an entirely different category then. In my opinion the point of all these wild scenarios and special equipment we use is to get every last Mhz out of the hardware, one way or another.

    If we went with a more real world approach we would have no need for liquid nitrogen, helium, and where is the fun in that?
    I hear what you are saying, I totally see the fun in this. But the me highest CPU-Z clocks are more meaningful than a 60k socre in 3Dmark06. It is so easy to make a WR these days if you are willing to go into software tuning. Most numbers are becoming meaningless - at least to me. Hey an I enjoy finding mad tweaks. I am all for it. But not without real - world applications.

    CPU-Z and GPU-Z are so much more meaningful than most benchmark results.

    AND hey - I am still addicted to the smell of LN2, won't stop me from trying a EVGA SR-2 on LN2 next weekend, but for competitive purposes let's all be a bit more innovative.

    Again these are just my personal opinons - not sure if anyone agrees with them.
    Last edited by mike; 07-28-2010 at 11:25 PM.
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    I'm with you 100% on CPU-z and GPU-z scores. That's what catches my eyes every time i open up a new thread in this forum.

    I might have missed the point then, so you are saying if it was possible, to limit the software tuning? (like having a modded Windows XP) Those kind of scenarios?
    Last edited by mike; 07-28-2010 at 11:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damian^ View Post
    I'm with you 100% on CPU-z and GPU-z scores. That's what catches my eyes every time i open up a new thread in this forum.

    I might have missed the point then, so you are saying if it was possible, to limit the software tuning? (like having a modded Windows XP) Those kind of scenarios?
    OOPOPS I hit the edit button instead of reply. Still new to all these functions on XS...

    I personally see no problem with software tuning, as long as it has a real life purpose, AND as long as it is in accordance to the rules. Whichever those might be...
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  6. #6
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    Well said Mike.
    I'm not into the benching scene but I've always been competitive in the hobbies and sports I was into.
    The bottom line is the "Thrill of winning" doesn't exist when you cheat.
    Then what do you have? Guilt, the fear of being caught.
    You have nothing.
    Anyway,my 2 cents..
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    Thumbs up we're out of our game now...

    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    [...] modern overclocking is becoming much less concerned with what is ethical and more with winning at all costs. Not just from the competitive overclockers, but just as much from manufacturers as well as communities.

    [...] Hopefully with this type of approach, we can recapture some of the fun of the old days and create a really useful model for overclocking going forward.
    Exactly what I think and a large part of the community too imho
    What happened disgust me at high level, but it was predictable. Since a few years we can see the turn in the game, and today "the game" doesn't belong to us anymore

    With a such realization it is certainly time to change mind and turn it to our advantage without just being confused and passive, that's true!
    But what your words explain, if I haven't missunderstood them, is that it's not sufficient to rule more "aggressively" (to take M.Beier's terms) but rebuilding the way of competing together, am I right ? If so, I follow the pertinance of the purpose. But again some issues will arrive with those will agree or not fa sure...

    Great post Mike, I think this discussion would go deeper than the other

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    I hear what you are saying, I totally see the fun in this. But the me highest CPU-Z clocks are more meaningful than a 60k socre in 3Dmark06. It is so easy to make a WR these days if you are willing to go into software tuning. Most numbers are becoming meaningless - at least to me. Hey an I enjoy finding mad tweaks. I am all for it. But not without real - world applications.

    CPU-Z and GPU-Z are so much more meaningful than most benchmark results.

    AND hey - I am still addicted to the smell of LN2, won't stop me from trying a EVGA SR-2 on LN2 next weekend, but for competitive purposes let's all be a bit more innovative.

    Again these are just my personal opinons - not sure if anyone agrees with them.

    +1, totally agree mate..

    Another thing I find funny is AMD/Intel would snipe any of our Moms on a grocery run if it meant good quarterly results, and you are forever whining about what feser did?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeky NoX View Post
    Time is come ! Lets dance ! ^^

    EeKy
    Thanks for the feedback! I agree - let's dance!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny87au View Post
    +1, totally agree mate..
    great to see others agree!

    Quote Originally Posted by Movieman View Post
    Well said Mike.
    I'm not into the benching scene but I've always been competitive in the hobbies and sports I was into.
    The bottom line is the "Thrill of winning" doesn't exist when you cheat.
    Then what do you have? Guilt, the fear of being caught.
    You have nothing.
    Anyway,my 2 cents..
    Today, the issue really is what is cheating and what isn't. And when this line is unclear we fall back to the ethics...well ...
    Last edited by mike; 07-29-2010 at 12:24 AM.
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    I enjoyed reading your thoughts Mike and can't help wondering if a crucial concept is being missed.

    Overclocking to get budget equipment to run like expensive top end hardware is why I got into the 'overclocking' habit all those years ago, and you too it seems. But benching, or more accurately competitive benching is not solely about overclocking any-more is it. Don't get me wrong, there is overclocking happening of course. But it is about getting the highest score in a particular benchmark. The overclocking is just one tool of the many that is used to achieve that outcome of running a benchmark.

    With rare exceptions, these days, is budget hardware used for competitive benching. But budget hardware is still used for overclockers like me who can not afford the $500 or more top end CPU's but would like that kind of performance. Benchers spend $250 plus on a motherboard that is suitable for sub-zero benching, budget overclockers would never buy such boards. The same goes for RAM and graphic cards of course. Oveclockers as you have described buy the mid-range or cheaper versions of the motherboards, RAM and graphic cards and overclock them to match or exceed the specifications of the most expensive top of the range gear where possible. For most overclockers the equipment will be in use day in and day out till the next upgrade.

    And yes I am aware of those fantastic benchers who spend hours benching low end hardware for the points they get on HWBOT, but they do not use that equipment day in and day out do they. They are benching the hardware for a outcome that is not related to daily use. They are benchers, and as benchers are not just overclockers. They have to have many different skills to be a good competitive bencher, of which overclocking is just one skill set.

    What I am trying to say is that Overclocking is a tool, just like OS tweaking and other similar type tweaks for graphic settings that assists in the outcome of getting the highest score for a benchmark. And as such should not be confused with Competitive Benchmarking.

    I do not think overclockers per se have any ethical issues to resolve.

    I think that benchers or specifically competitive benchers however do.

    Thought provoking post and one that has obliged me to post a reply for the first time in years.

    Go well.
    Last edited by Razzor; 07-29-2010 at 01:51 AM.
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    hm, some benchmarks can be changed. Example im thinking, Cinebench R11.5 is very close to reality rendering, or videoencoding (X264 benchmark-very stresing CPU, hard with LN2/LHe because time is about 15 minutes ). Anyway, people like crazy numbers not only in CPU-Z, but too populary superpi, wprime, and 3D Marks (but 3D marks are far away from reality :-/ )
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    Good POV explained there Razzor Benching and OCing are'nt the same that's right.
    Lot of OCers don't even submit all their scores, not just because they're not enough but often because the main purpose is having fun in OCing and check settings etc...
    I personaly play that way, no high end hw and keeping the good old one to improve after with better matchs or equipement. (OCer since about 10yrs, but real bencher just for 2yrs)
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  13. #13
    I think you're missing a vital point, Mike. What you're describing is why maybe 1% of the entire overclocking community is into overclocking and benchmarking, the other 99% is just there to have fun with hardware. You see, you can see that, for instance at HWBOT, most of the users submitting don't care about efficiency or highest possible clocks: they care about overclocking only, they care about producing a benchmark score that gives them points for the team.

    Why is it that a group that small has to effect the way a group this large has to deal with verification, rules and regulations? Since everything comes straight from the community (rules are not forced upon us by some untouchable instance), how come it's being made impossible to make this world different from all other sports.

    I wonder if people have already considered the idea that what meets the eye is not the whole package. Take the hardware sharing rules that are so hugely under debate: I can see many people be angry about the fact that some benchmarks are CPU limited and sharing the CPU gives an advantage. However, the true reason of the existince of the rule is:

    1) Prevent the abuse of direct influence on points system (eg: CPU sharing allowed for CPU benchmarks -> points affected directly)
    2) Make overclocking a more social experience than it was before

    Especially the latter is of great importance. Overclocking used to be sitting alone in the house and just talking over the internet or MSN, but now it's becoming more and more something that you do with your teammates. By allowing a good CPU to be shared for 3D benchmarks, we basically allow a team to work together to maximize the result. The reason why some people are pushing towards ethical and responsible behavior is of the same type:

    Make people stand up for what they do and learn that 'playing within the rules' is not an easy way to cover up what you did. To me, pointing to the rules as argument that what you did is okay, is as lame as it can get: you're blaiming an external source for YOU making a mistake.

    Also, extreme overclockers sometimes forget this, but they are the billboards of overclocking. If you see new people joining in the overclocking community, they look up to guys like K|ngp|n because these guys have been on top of the rankings (HWB or FM) since the beginning. These people, who are the faces of overclocking, must deal with the fact that they have an example role within this community and must learn to act like this. The reason why I picked K|ngp|n is because as far as I recall, he's always been fair and honest in overclocking. And he wins all the time. See, it can go hand in hand.

    People will debate rules and regulations forever, but ethics and morals are kind of a constant in the human life. And that's because they have an unwritten nature: because there's no clear definition, you can bend, twist and strech ethics to suit every situation. The odd thing is that most people agree when talking about ethics and breaking ethics in competitions; in fact, I think I have only met a couple of people who believe it's okay to do whatever you want in the competition without looking at the ethics. There have been countless examples in many competitions where people tried to win without losing sight of what's really important: honesty, respect and integrity. Again, I wonder why a small subset of people must ruin the game for the large, vast majority.

    There's of course the aspect of MFCs who want to USE the overclocking community as marketing tool. Let's not forget, however, that overclocking still is a very young sport and that every party involved (overclockers, hwb/fm, mfcs) has to learn how to work together the best. To give an example: overclockers like brands more when they do things for the community, whereas marketing people within brands think they have to break world records to be more loved. It's changing slowly, but we all have to accept that we can't just jump into an ideal state of overclocking community (if that would exist). In the end, however, the overclocking community has enough ties to the publishing industry, meaning that big mistakes by manufacturers get negative publicity that streches far beyond our little community. That gives US, overclockers, the power to make the MFCs listen to us. It's Power to the People!
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    I read an article the other day about doping in the tour de france and how to detect when E.P.O was being used to enhance performance. I was very interested in how they summed up at the end as i think it says alot about how hard it can be to stop/detect cheating. They had lots of figures to go on and it all seemed fool proof then when you apply the figures to Lance Armstrong he shows up as an out an out dope fiend. The problem with this is he has never tested positive for anything, has been the most forthcoming with getting tested and has actively campained against the use of performance enhancing drugs. Really the problem is it is never easy in any sport to distinguish betweeen someone who is truly great and someone who cheats.

    I think that most overclockers are in it for the fun of it more than anything i know i am But we must all work to keep it clean so to speak

  15. #15
    Personally i think the gpu-z and cpu -z is a crap way of proving anything in the oc world, so it comes purely down to who has the best hardware, where as now ive seen people with 6.6 ghz capable cpu and they are still not in top 10 because they have not studied efficiancy and worked at it. if it were just cpu-z and gpu-z extreme overclocking would bore the hell out of me.
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    I really can't stop thinking why everyone seems to defend that bending/breaking rules and ethics just to get the advantage... so as long as it's not spotted by an admin it's okay for you...

    From the moment you are thinking of bending/breaking ethics you are lost... and the GREED monster will take over...
    If you can live with that, good for you, but you lost all my respect... I rather stay at a childish naive level like you called it. I think it's the one that's cheating that 's the being classed in the non adult class.
    In fact I expected better from highly acclaimed people as you... seems you accept it as it is...

    On my personal view : CPU-Z screenies means jack zero to me; Flanker Cinebench won't do, 100 persons will have the exact same score.

    I must say we have loads of fun when benching with the Shrimps members, sometimes up to three persons focussing on one or more setups... great fun, loads of laughs, frustration and gang bangs...

    That's why I do overclocking, to have fun, travel and to learn new stuff. I don't mind being in 200th or 500 position on the Bot... In case of a competition I like to compete on a level playing field... if you are tweaking software (illegally) to win ,that's your thing... I have enough brains and have evolved long enough to distance myself from the animals
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    Like the idea of an agreement, and a bit more handy rules, especially for verification.

    Also I like your idea about new graphical std. but; That is pretty much up to FM and others to set.

    Rest of it; I disagree with.

    I dont really care about performance/watt when it comes to the super-heavy-weight class, the formula#1....
    I dont agree that playing just to win... It has to be done in a decent way, you have to be able to be proud of what you've accomplished, and I know I wont be if I did it in a hollow manner.... (However; I am not good at "the american way")

    I hate quoting Massman;
    But Kingpin is a golden point, always admired his work, obviously not always enjoyed it (hated being beaten in 01SE, which I believed was my game )
    But ALOT of guys does well WITHOUT cheating.... I think Hipro5 is to be mentioned as well (yea yea, dont get overjoyed, dont like the concept of stripping down clothes/t-shirts for events with only same gender represented!)
    .... My reason for picking this up is to back it up, I am one of those "childish" people who actually have faith in a vast majority showing how it should be done, FAIR PLAY, will push out the not so fair in the cold....
    Maybe my "childishness" will suffer a loose in a few months, but I believe the pressure that FUGGER felt during the Andre ban thread, the obvious disrespect for not playing fair, with the soul purpose of winning - and not honoring others work, doesnt pay in the long run...... I for one is looking much forward to see if the pressure will make a difference for GOOC 2010, and I'll be the first to say "thank you Charles" if he enters and play it square and fair...
    Competition ranking;
    2005; Netbyte, Karise/Denmark #1 @ PiFast
    2008; AOCM II, Minfeld/Germany #2 @ 01SE/AM3/8M (w. Oliver)
    2009; AMD-OC, Viborg/Denmark #2 @ max freq Gigabyte TweaKING, Paris/France #4 @ 32M/01SE (w. Vanovich)
    2010: Gigabyte P55, Hamburg/Germany #6 @ wprime 1024/SPI 1M (w. THC) AOCM III, Minfeld/Germany #6 @ 01SE/AM3/1M/8M (w. NeoForce)

    Spectating;
    2010; GOOC 2010 Many thanks to Gigabyte!


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeghoofd View Post
    I really can't stop thinking why everyone seems to defend that bending/breaking rules and ethics just to get the advantage... so as long as it's not spotted by an admin it's okay for you...

    From the moment you are thinking of bending/breaking ethics you are lost... and the GREED monster will take over...
    If you can live with that, good for you, but you lost all my respect... I rather stay at a childish naive level like you called it. I think it's the one that's cheating that 's the being classed in the non adult class.
    In fact I expected better from highly acclaimed people as you... seems you accept it as it is...
    This ^^^^^^ Well said Albrecht.
    ____________________________________________

    More & more very expensive, quickly obsolete parts!!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by massman View Post
    The reason why I picked K|ngp|n is because as far as I recall, he's always been fair and honest in overclocking. And he wins all the time. See, it can go hand in hand.
    I'm ashamed not to have mentioned the entire Team Japan. If you want to learn how to be a true overclocker, check out how they share and post.

    I wish we could all be a bit more Japanese overclocker.
    Where courage, motivation and ignorance meet, a persistent idiot awakens.

  20. #20
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    I feel that people should compete with themselves not with others, if I play any sport, game, etc... I try play the best I can, if i win cool if i don't then I need to improve. I don't see it as beating an opponent but rather as improving myself. If people worried more about improving their own personal bests and ignore the rest things would be better but most people only care about be better than someone else, here is a news flash, there will always be someone better

  21. #21
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    The Ethics of Overclocking...
    that goes alot farther then not putting up photoshopped ss's,rolling ss's up and putting them in your pipe(ok thats legal in some countrys),illegal software hacks, sharing hardware and such....
    dont forget when you blow up stuff dont be sending it back in for rma...think first before you make a setting in bios,move a lever,or break out your iron...no going back!!!!

    thats one of the most unethical things i see lately thats being more "forgiven".sure its not against any contest or hwbot rules but its still goes to core ethics
    _________________

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    If anything I believe most manufacturers earn from OCers who "abuse" the RMA system. If they have a good product, people will OC and post scores - which I believe is worth more in $$$ because of publicity than a couple of broken boards. Not to mention the fact that alot of boards use OCing as a part of the advertising - and then they should be capable of moderate voltage increases.
    --->TeamPURE<---

  23. #23
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    here's my take on the subject ....


    company A gives out free hardware in exchange that person B flaunts its merit all over the web even if the product is crap in exchange for free gears for a long period .... yes you heard me right.... its that spirit that is taking over our sport ....
    WILL CUDDLE FOR FOOD

    Quote Originally Posted by JF-AMD View Post
    Dual proc client systems are like sex in high school. Everyone talks about it but nobody is really doing it.

  24. #24
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    One point that I see is a positive is that at least the sport of overclocking IS having these problems. What I'm trying to say is that I am glad to see that overclocking is becoming more relevant and is growing. The problems in and of themselves are not positive - can everyone agree that fair play should be the rule of the day? I think we can, minus a few with the "in it to win it at all costs" but I believe, as has been pointed out already, are a minority. Other sports have all dealt with similar issues in the past.

    What I don't quite understand is the anger over the rift between professional and amateur. I am not upset that I cannot run like O'Driscoll or throw a football like Tom Brady - yet I can enjoy those sports as an amateur. My 2 cents is that how manufacturers and HWbot handle the issues as they come up will make or break overclocking as a sport [read: professional endeavor] rather than OC remaining a hobby. These are my particular semantics as I understand the situation and are to be taken as such.

    I would like to thank you mike because I think this situation really needs to be hashed out rationally among all parties. And I think it will and it will be mostly for the better. Or not, it could just suck and go down the crapper
    SOGOs > BOGOs

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razzor View Post
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts Mike and can't help wondering if a crucial concept is being missed.

    ...

    ...

    Thought provoking post and one that has obliged me to post a reply for the first time in years.

    Go well.
    What a great first post to make. Please do not wait another 4 years to make another one!

    Without a doubt I am missing serveral different concept, and I was mainly hoping to intitate a constructive discussion, with injection some of my thoughts.

    The concept that you brought up was just as thought provoking to mel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razzor View Post
    I do not think overclockers per se have any ethical issues to resolve.

    I think that benchers or specifically competitive benchers however do.

    Let's explore the concept of benchmarking ethics a bit further in the more general approach. Is it ok for us overclockers to make certain porducts look better than they really are?

    I myself for example once got a free kit of CellShock memory from my friend Saaya for overclocking and made a little review. I spent countless hours and hours tweaking the memory to make if perform at its absolute max for my testing. When Saaya however saw my results he was making me aware that I was making the memory look better than it actually was, considering that most of general buyers of that product won't be putting a similar effort into tuning the memory and will rarely be able to achive similar results. I had to 100% agree with his ethical viewpoint here and started to think differently on how to approach things for myself.

    The ethics of benchmarking - I like that! WHat a great point - let me think some more about that!

    Quote Originally Posted by FlanK3r View Post
    hm, some benchmarks can be changed. Example im thinking, Cinebench R11.5 is very close to reality rendering, or videoencoding (X264 benchmark-very stresing CPU, hard with LN2/LHe because time is about 15 minutes ). Anyway, people like crazy numbers not only in CPU-Z, but too populary superpi, wprime, and 3D Marks (but 3D marks are far away from reality :-/ )
    I love crazy numbers just as much! I truly feel that we all should think about the spirit of overclocking a lot more, and hopefully we'll get many more posts in to respect to that!
    Last edited by mike; 07-29-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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