At rAge Cape Town 2016 I was looking around at the HWBOT World Tour stand when I noticed something really odd – a tiny metal table that had weird holes punched into it. When I asked Timothee Pineau about it, he told me that it was a portable benchtable chassis, designed for overclocking competitions and made to fit into a bag that you could take with you anywhere. What I held in my hands was an early prototype of the chassis that Streamcom, HWBOT, and Overclocking TV (OCTV) are jointly announcing today, and it’s a really interesting piece of equipment. I even want one for myself now!
The Open Benchtable Project was started by Streamcom, who joined forces with HWBOT and OCTV to create an open, community-developed benchtable that, in their words, “towers above current offerings in terms of portability, esthetics and general design”. The prototype benchtable that I handled at rAge was one of a limited run of chassis that are used by HWBOT for their World Tour events in 2016, and are labeled as the “Special HWBOT World Tour Edition” benchtable chassis. They’re understandably not for sale, but a second run of chassis for commercial channels will be, and soon.
“We are excited to bring the HWBOT World Tour Edition benchtable with us on the World Tour, giving us a chance to expose our latest design to the global OC community,” said Timothée Pineau, head of project development at HWBOT and vice president of OCTV. “We are confident that overclockers of all levels and abilities will be impressed and appreciate the portable design and open nature of the Open Benchtable project.”
The Open Benchtable is made from a single piece of milled aluminium, making it light at only 2.5kg. It measures 36cm by 27cm, making it large enough for full ATX motherboards, which are the most commonly used form factor in overclocking competitions. The base and legs are 8mm thick, and they can’t be bent by hand (I already tried!), so it’s a solid design that’s made to support a lot of weight.
The prototypes were designed to support a full rig, which includes a LN2 CPU pot and four LN2-cooled graphics cards, and if you’re moving stuff around there’s no need to dismantle anything – just unplug all the connectors and leads, and move the system out of the way.
What’s also quite neat is that it all folds into itself when you’re done with your competition. The legs have holes inside the base that they fit into, and the case comes with two pieces of opaque white plexiglass that have mounting screws to keep everything in place. The holes inside the leg fittings are for your stand-offs and other screws, and Streamcom includes enough standoffs for a full ATX motherboard as well as a single, dual-slot, full-height graphics card.
It’s unclear how any accessories will be sold for the benchtable chassis, but because some of the parts are customised by Streamcom for this product, you’ll probably want to order direct from Streamcom anyway.
The “open” part of the Open Benchtable project relates to how the benchtable can be modded. At launch, Streamcom will offer 3D blueprints of the table and its accessories for modders to use to print or make their own customisations or versions of the benchtable. In a similar vein to open-source projects distributed within the Linux community, all that’s required is that you submit your designs to the Open Benchtable website for others to view and use, and this could attract a large community of overclockers and designers to help improve and perfect the design through the power of 3D printing. I can already imagine a few things myself that could be made for the benchtable, and I might submit a few ideas once the launch is done and the benchtable is out in the open.
Pricing and availability has not been discussed by Streamcom for the first version of the benchtable, and visiting the Open Benchtable website shows a loading bar stuck at 35% – a hint of how much still has to be done before this becomes available to consumers.