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One Year Later

Overclocking a SBLive! - a year on from the madness

About a year ago now I started thinking about writing for a gaming site. I felt, and still do, that there was something desperately amiss in games journalism. Half of the popular gaming sites are so incredibly boring that you end up praying for a natural disaster to occur and destroy you as soon as possible, whilst the other half seem to be written by corporate little cock-sucking automatons that would happily sell heroin to orphans if they were promised a freebie or two (even when it’s widely known that orphans prefer cocaine).

My problem was in finding the right site to apply to. I ploughed through the tired old links in my favourites list and without exception, they all fell short of what I was looking for. Eventually I gave up and just started browsing, desperately looking for something interesting amidst all the usual benchmark results and release-date speculation to be found on your average gaming site.

This was around the time that the GeForce was making a name for itself and as a result I was suffering a severe case of benchmarking fatigue. Just then, I spotted a link to review on the latest S3 Viper card by a guy called ‘Noxious?’. The fact that it wasn’t a GeForce review and had no reference to the GeForce or indeed Nvidia, made it stand out from the crowd. Not only that, but that it had been written by what sounded like the survivor of a chemical-plant accident made it all the more intriguing.

I hit the link and found TAGOR. My searching was over. Somehow, even the unusual colour scheme gave it away - these guys weren’t the usual repressed corporate ass-scrubbers; they had their own opinions and they weren’t bothered who they upset. Damn!

Not only that, but these guys were actually looking for writers. This is the one, I thought. So, having jotted a short piece about ‘Is it really healthy for me to hate 3DFX so much?’, or some nonsense like that, I sent an email trying to convince these guys that they needed me in their life. I didn’t expect a response but I got lucky - they liked it. Yeah, send us some more and we’ll see what happens, they said.

Poor bastards didn’t know what they were saying. I sent them the ‘Overclocking a SoundBlaster Live!’ article and to be honest, I think they were a little concerned. After all, TAGOR is a news site, even if it isn’t your typical gaming site. Would a parody of this silliness divert from what they were really trying to do? I’m still not sure of the answer to that one. Whether it did TAGOR any good in the long run, can only be answered by Jace! and Nox? - after all, they are TAGOR. Nevertheless, none of us were quite prepared for the response that particular article provoked.

Jace! would remember better than me concerning the amount of hits we achieved in the days following but I was more shocked than anyone. I felt a little guilty too - after all, this was only one piece amidst good, pointed writing that these guys were producing day in, day out. And still are, I hasten to add. Still, anything that brought that fact to wider attention couldn’t be all bad, I hoped.

What surprised us all here at TAGOR is how enthusiastic people got about the idea of overclocking a soundcard. It didn’t seem to occur to these people how dangerous it would be, for instance, to hook their card directly to the mains! The excesses of overclockers were well known even then, but surely this was a step too far? And I guess that’s why so many people read it.

The mindset of your average hardcore PC gaming nut is unique - and the emails I was getting proved it. Not only were these people desperate to have the cutting-edge in PC power, it seemed that they were quite willing to risk life and limb to achieve it. Sadly, due to the fact that my hard-drive had a heart attack in the middle of the year, I’m unable to quote from any of these emails but I do remember many of them.

One of the favourite questions was, ‘Where do I get EAX 9.2 and how do I bring up that control panel?’ Now, call me sentimental, but it almost broke my heart to tell them they were simply illusions borne of Photoshop. I suppose I wondered what my response to the article had been, had I not written it. Would I too be blinded to the obvious clues that this was a hoax by the greed in my heart urging me to get just a little bit more out of my beige box?

And don’t think for a minute that these people were all newbies or lunatics. I was getting technicians, magazine editors and all manner of so-called IT professionals, fielding the most embarrassing of questions concerning power supplies, fan mountings and other nonsense. At one point I almost expected to get a mail from Creative themselves, offering me a job!

“Boy, you’re a genius! How does £50k a year sound?”…

So why have I chosen now to reflect on one silly article written almost a year ago? Well, the fact that it was a year ago that I ran into the great guys here at TAGOR is one reason but I suppose it was brought to my attention because of a recent story concerning an apparently ‘real’ attempt to overclock said SBLive! To me, this wraps the whole story rather neatly.

The truth is, people are insane, and I suppose I kinda like that. As the weeks went on, we found that the article was being translated into different languages (Russian and Chinese are the ones I remember) and for me, this just confirmed that people are the same wherever you go in the world, and it seemed like a good proportion of them were insane too.

All this has still left me with one, unanswered question. It’s bugged my friends and I for a year now. We’ve tried to figure it out - God knows we’ve tried - but we’ve never really cracked it. If anyone of the people who wrote to me back then has the balls to write to me now, I want to know something.

Ready? Here it is. Why the hell would you want to overclock a soundcard? Please, someone tell me, coz I’m still puzzled about it!


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