During the launch event for his own range of systems, KitGuru was lucky enough to get the chance to sit (well, stand) with Ian “8Pack” Parry and ask him a few questions about his range of ultra high end systems, his professional overclocking career, and himself – as a person.
In his presentation, 8Pack told us how, at the age of around 18 or 19, he started building computers. But he soon realised that the systems were not fast enough for his requirements. This is where his passion for overclocking began. He quickly moved on to sub-zero overclocking, but still enjoyed his day-to-day job as a personal trainer and body-builder.
When using the Rampage IV Extreme motherboard and Sandy Bridge-E processors, he joined the ROG forums to help users who may have encountered problems that he had found a solution to. He also met with the man who is widely regarded as one of the greatest overclockers there has ever been – Peter Tan, better known as Shamino – and worked with him to develop some areas of Asus' ROG BIOSes.
With his overclocking results gaining much attention on forums, Ian (8Pack) was quickly noticed by the financial industry for speed-boosting their systems. He worked with companies in the financial industries and helped garner them huge increases in the speed, efficiency, and profitability of their systems.
Ian switched to professional overclocking over his body-building career, and spent over 24 hours per week overclocking systems. He was approached by OverclockersUK to help enhance their range of components and systems (as proven by the ultra high end 8Pack systems).
Some of Ian's proudest achievements include; beating many world records, and the rest of the competition, with his overclocking results at Computex 2013. 8Pack is also proud of his numerous records on HWBot. Another of his proudest moments was beating the great Fred Yama.
KitGuru: What made you want to build your own line of systems?
8Pack: “I've been building systems for about 15 years, and before I started working for Overclockers, there were always constraints to the systems. But when I started working at Overclockers and they said ‘you build the best systems', that was all the motivation that I needed – unlimited access to components and the ethos to be the best, that's always the challenge for me.”
KitGuru: How much involvement do you have in the component choice? Is everything chosen by you?
8Pack: “Everything. The systems will always be 100% configured and tested by me.”
KitGuru: And what about the build process?
8Pack: “The systems you can see today, I built everything. As in everything.”
KitGuru: Will that be the case in the future, too?
8Pack: “It depends on the demand for the systems and obviously my availability. Wherever possible, I will be doing absolutely everything.”
KitGuru: We have seen your 8Pack fan grills; can we expect to see any more unique ‘goodies' in the future?
8Pack: “Yes, there is more stuff coming, but that stuff is under NDA.”
KitGuru: We have heard how you got involved in professional overclocking and some of your most successful achievements, but what are your plans for the future?
8Pack: “My plans for the future, as far as professional overclocking, are continue until I'm number 1 in the world and then maintain number 1. And obviously to expand the range of systems here at Overclockers; I'm certainly already looking into doing a microATX system, in fact, the case is already here – it just needs modding and so on. And I want to continue professional overclocking, break some more world records, and continue with our team in the pro overclocking cup [on HWBot], OcUK Pro. My strive is to be the best and make OverclockersUK's team the best on HWBot, and continue setting world records; that's what it's all about.”
KitGuru: How do you spend your time when not overclocking or working?
8Pack: “I don't have much time to be honest, not these days. I work in the office at Overclockers 4 or 5 days a week, definitely 4 days. The rest of the time, because we don't have LN2 at Overclockers or the cooling I need, is spent overclocking. If you ask my family, they'll tell you that I have a rig set up all the time ready to go with LN2, and I have 250 litres of LN2 on my patio and that gets topped up weekly.
I don't have much time, but I'm a sportsman myself – I'm into football, into cricket – I also train and that takes up possibly 45 minutes, 5 times per week, and I still like to eat good food and go out to nice restaurants, but less so the more than my overclocking career is taking off. ”
Above: 8Pack demonstrating LN2-infused overclocking and benchmarking earlier this year at The Gadget Show Live.
Ian went on to tell us just how difficult it is and how much time is required to be a professional overclocker.
“The most important thing with all of this is testing; you have to test and then test again so you know what every single setting in the BIOS does, for example, and what the specifics of that CPU you're using likes. A lot of people think ‘you just pour LN2 on, and pour LN2 on, and pour LN2 on' but then that component would be dead pretty quickly or would just shut down.
For example, if the system is too cold, it won't boot. If the system is too warm you'll destroy the CPU with the voltage being put through it. It's a very exact and precise thing that you're doing. It's hard to control the temperature of the CPU – it takes practise. It's not just pouring on LN2; you have to see when the bench is about to finish, maybe there's too much LN2 in the CPU pot, the temperatures are going to drop so it cold boots, so you whip out your torch or your heat gun to warm up the pot slightly. It's an exacting science, if you like, and to be good at it you have to practise, so that's what I do most of the time.
And I have my own section on OverclockersUK, I've got my own section on the Gigabyte forums, I've got my own section on the ROG forums; I am on the forums promoting what I do and helping end users.”
KitGuru: Do you have a favourite type of music? Or is there any work-out (gym) music you like?
8Pack: “Well, no. To be honest, I like all music, really. Easy listening or any background music when I'm chilling out. And then when I'm working-out, dance music, but not too hardcore dance, just the old classic house music.”
KitGuru: What is your prized invention or idea, if you could create anything?
8Pack: “Well, the systems are my ideas to be honest, so I would say that they are my prized idea, and of course, some things that I've assisted in creating in the BIOS of the systems, but that's the systems again. The systems are my prized creations, certainly of today.”
KitGuru: Last question; I can see you're a big guy, what do you lift in the gym?
8Pack: “At the moment I don't lift as much because, like I said, my time is taken up with overclocking. But typically, when I was competing at body-building and getting ready, I used to bench press four plates on each side (around 400 lbs / 185kg, including the bar) for about 8-10 reps, squat five plates on each side of the bar (around 490 lbs / 220kg) for about 6 reps, shoulder press 60kg (around 130 lbs) in each hand, and so on.
These days, I bench with three plates on each side (around 310 lbs / 140kg), I shoulder press 45kg (around 100 lbs), and I squat four plates (around 400 lbs/ 185kg). But now I only weight about 14 stone (around 89kg), whereas then I weighed 16 stone (around 102kg), so maybe my strength to weight ratio is the same, I don't know, but I certainly watch my diet and still train hard.”
It is great to see a true enthusiast doing the job that he loves – getting so much pleasure from overclocking hardware to its limits and building his own range of ultra high end systems.
It was easy to tell that 8Pack's systems are about being ‘the best of the best, with no compromise'. When asked how long before we see Ivy Bridge-E-based systems, he told us that they'll be ready when he finds enough good chips that meet the high standards he sets. And when (somewhat jokingly) asked if we will see AMD-based systems soon, 8Pack replied with a decisive no on the CPU side, and gave a non-disclosing smile on the graphics side.
KitGuru says: We sincerely appreciate the time that Ian took out of his busy schedule to talk to us. Ian is a genuinely friendly gentleman and, from all of the team at KitGuru, we wish him the best of luck with his range of ultra high end systems and future overclocking aspirations.