HardwareZone Iron Tech 2008 - The Grand Finale!

It's OC Time!

System Setup and Tweaking

Now that all the systems have been assembled without any hitches, the contestants would go through the longest and most testing phase. This challenge required them to install the operating system provided, Microsoft's Windows Vista and all the necessary drivers and utilities.

1 hour and 30 minutes were given for all contestants to try to tweak and overclock their systems to the best of their abilities. While doing so, they had to keep in mind that stability was as important as performance and power efficiency could suffer from extreme overclocking. Additionally, contestants were also ranked according to the time taken for this section, so time was of the essence. In short, this was the most crucial part of the Iron Tech challenge for the contestants.

 With the competition in full flow, there was hardly any lull period for the contestants, who were all focusing on getting their systems ready.

 There were giveaways including a MSI goodie bag (as pictured here) containing items like a sports watch, water bottle and of course HWM magazines for the audience. All they needed to do is answer a simple question about Iron Tech 2008.

While all the contestants were concentrating on their rigs, there were also other happenings at the competition venue. For those interested in the hardware used for Iron Tech, all they had to do was drop by the MSI booth besides the stage and they could check that out in detail. There were also MSI motherboards and graphic cards sold at a discount at certain periods of the day, known as 'Golden Hours'.

 MSI's local distributor, Corbell had a booth up besides the competition stage where they showed off the latest MSI products, including those used by the contestants.

 A demo system running a FPS game was available for trial. The components were installed on an case-less Antec 'enclosure', the better to show off the components used.

If you were not shopping for any PC components, there was still the MSI giveaways up for grabs. Any member of the audience could participate by answering a simple question from the emcee. They could also attempt to guess the winner for Iron Tech 2008 and stand a chance to win a MSI motherboard.

 Here we had a member of the audience coming up to answer the emcee's question.

 For the audience, they could participate in a contest to guess the winner of Iron Tech 2008. They stood the chance to win a MSI motherboard if they got the right contestant.

Meanwhile, the contestants were using all the available time to tweak and optimize their systems. Even as we passed the 1 hour mark, no contestants had declared themselves satisfied with their system tweaks and it was not till another 9 - 10 minutes later before the Thai duo, Rangsee Triwongyoi and Thirdsak Phokha finished their tweaks and officially handed their systems over to the marshals. Most contestants took almost the full 1 hour 30 minutes to complete.

 Both Malaysian contestants looked to be deep in thought.

 Adjusting the BIOS settings was probably the most important step in the tweaking and overclocking phase.

 Installing the OS (Windows Vista) was part of this system setup phase.

 Counting down the time left for the contestants in this all-important phase.

 Deep in concentration...

 All the contestants had their own creative way of positioning the included case fan from Thermaltake in order to get the best air flow and cooling from it.

 Nothing like listening to music to get into the groove for overclocking?

 Those red numbers you see on the BIOS screen here indicated that the contestants were pushing the processor by increasing the voltage into rather dangerous territory. Don't try this at home, unless you know what you're doing.

 A blue screen of death! Another common occurrence when trying to overclock the system.

 Gil Navarro encountered some issues with his system setup but the big guns, HWZ Chief Editor Dr Jimmy Tang and Editor Vijay Anand were there to help troubleshoot.

 Giving the thumbs up for his system, Thirdsak Phokha seemed pleased with his efforts. Would this be a contender for the prizes?

 These prizes awaited the top three contestants of Iron Tech 2008. Who would walk away with these attractive prizes worth a total of more than US10,000?

Like the rigging segment, contestants were awarded points depending on how fast they finished this section, ranging from 10 to 100. Rekky and Gil Navarro however encountered some issues during setup and were unable to finish the system setup and tweaking within the time allocated. Although they were given extra time to finish, they received no points from this segment. Do note that similar to the rigging phase, the system setup and tweaking section will account for 10% of the final score. Hence, at this moment, the contestants had just finished 20% of the competition.


Rank of Contestants (Setup and Tweaking Phase)
Contestant Setup Time Points Awarded
Rangsee Traiwongyoi 1 hr 9 mins 100
Thirdsak Phokha 1 hr 10 mins 90
Chen Tianyi 1 hr 21 mins 80
Alva Jonathan 1 hr 22 mins 70
Jeremiah Ong 1 hr 24 mins 60
Alex Tan 1 hr 29 mins 0 secs 50
Ng Teng Liang 1 hr 29 mins 23 secs 40
Ronaldo Bejarin 1 hr 30 mins 30
Rekky Did not complete in time 0
Gil Navarro Did not complete in time 0