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Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Please help me to build a dedicated computer for chess
- - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-05 22:08
I would like to build a dedicated computer (64-bit) to play chess (using chess softwear like Rybka, Hiarcs, DeepShredder, etc).

I am 22 y.o and FIDE IM since December 2005 and I already have one GM norm obtained last year in Argentina. My personal goal is to obtain the GM title before I am 25.

The computer i am trying to buid has only one purpose: to support my home preparation and analyses between tournaments. When I am traveling I use my notebook with all my databases. However, I need a more powerful computer at home so I am study my games more deeply.

Could someone give me some advice on how to build (hardwear components) a strong dedicated computer to play chess interms of processor, motherboard, hard disk(s), RAM, cooler, etc.

Thanks.
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-05 22:18
I forgot to tell you: I have 1800-2000€ to spend...
Parent - By NATIONAL12 (Gold) Date 2007-11-05 22:32
to add furthey to my early reply, if you purchase what i have suggested you will have an analysis tool that is possibly stronger than any GM in the world. you are very sensible addopting a desktop, most GMs just use a laptop, what i have suggested is approx 4 times faster and therefore deeper analysis than them.
Parent - By Hetman (*****) Date 2007-11-08 20:52
Hi,

as you are so high qualified player it is difficult to advise you and it is very risky.

I am not advising I am just sharing my doubts.

I am wondering if  the hardware is the most important in the matter. Might be the direction in which will you use the software, is more important. It is the danger that when you delegate too much to the computer you can get the opposite results.
The computer programms are very strong in tactics but relatively weaker in the strategy and in the practical endgames, probably.

The GM Wolokotin has written in his 'GM Chess  laboratory' that in the practical game the human brain is deciding and no one computer is able to replace it.  If the programm is helping in better chess understanding it is neccessary. If it is weakening our brain, will, knowledge, mobilisation, invention it is the danger.

Regards
Hetman
Parent - - By NATIONAL12 (Gold) Date 2007-11-05 22:18
you can buy quad core in uk for 900 euros,this will save you all the hassle of building one yourself.i imagine it is the same in spain, at the moment this should be more than enough for your requirements.
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-05 22:43
But what kind of processor do you suggest? And memory? and motherboard? and cooler system?
Do you recommend the Vista 64-bits? Or just XP 32-bits?
I have many doubts ...
Parent - - By NATIONAL12 (Gold) Date 2007-11-05 23:35
this is all built in normaly you will get 32 but just ask for 64 if you want it the graphics card is unimportent for chess and if you buy quad core all the rest will have been talking care of buy the manufacturer. walk in to a computer store ask for there cheapest quad core they will try to to sell you fancy graphics for gaming you do not need this for chess they know even less than you when it comes to computer chess. there are hundreds of computer chess addicts watch this site and your post has probibly had a couple hundred viewings already and nobody has disagreed with my advice
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-05 23:58
Sorry but I can not agree with you. For the overall performance of the computer in chess, it is important that we choose the best components. To enter in a computer store and buy the cheapest quad core ... doesn't make any sense. A computer is not just "the" processor. The motherboard, memory RAM, hard disks, cooler system, etc. are also very important to the performance you request from the computer in chess. I could never buy a computer blindly, at random ...

Parent - By NATIONAL12 (Gold) Date 2007-11-06 00:10
i have given you good advice if you choose to ignore it so be it.
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-06 03:58
Lots and lots of stuff here: http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=1871

I think you'll find, upon going through that, that National12 is correct in suggesting not to go for the most expensive stuff.  A Q6600 can be overclocked to 3.2 GHz with just fan air cooling.  That should be enough for your purposes unless you are one of the top Freestyle people and have an absolutely incredible opening book.
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-06 19:48
What National12 said was: "walk in to a computer store ask for there cheapest quad core". I cannot agree with that. I think that besides the processor, also the motherboard, memory and the cooler system must be very well chosen. This is my humble opinion.
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-06 22:05
Well, the cheapest quad-core will have the Q6600 in it.  You can upgrade some of the rest of the stuff cheaper than buying a system with it already present.  Unless you're planning to be as good at this stuff as Vas, Alan, Nelson, etc., then I see no need for a cooling system.  The motherboard will be sufficient if it's able to use a Q6600, I think.  You can upgrade the RAM if necessary, but extra hash size typically gives benefits on the order of a few elo, not a few dozen.
Parent - - By Phil Harris (***) Date 2007-11-07 08:50 Edited 2007-11-07 09:04
No shop bought computer will out run (or even get close to) a carefully assembled selection of good components. The list of compromises made to keep the price down is just too great.

Starting with the case, which will almost certainly not have good enough airflow for good overclocking. The power supply will be one that just about covers the basic requirements of the computer as supplied, once you start to increase the power used by the CPU it will be a weak link in the chain. Naturally the cooling system will be the most basic available too, as the machine was designed to run at stock speeds.

Most motherboards supplied in cheap shop bought computers do not allow for overclocking in anyway, as an obvious precaution against excess warranty claims. Of course the RAM supplied will also be the one that allows for the greatest profit for the manufacturer, and not the most flexibility for the poor sap trying to wring a little extra performance out of it.

So, you are left with a computer that needs a new case, power supply, motherboard, cooling system and RAM to make it run reasonably quickly, what you have actually bought is a very expensive CPU and graphics card.

The trick to building a good one is to work out the best way to balance the budget allowed for components. It is not just a case of pouring money into the most expensive.

My current computer cost me around 1100 pounds to build. I am pretty sure that there is nothing available for less than 3000 pounds that will get even close to how it runs.

When I decide to upgrade, all the components I have will be good enough to support the upgrade, so I should be able to upgrade for a minimum cost.

If all you want to do is run a quad at basic speeds, a shop built cheapo is fine, but if you want anything even slightly better than that, build it yourself and save a fortune.
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-07 12:27
I won't pretend that I have enough knowledge in this arena to be able to address everything that you bring forth, but I think I recall a number of people saying that quad-core computers with the Q6600's can be overclocked to 3.2 GHz and run stable on air cooling with a tiny layer of thermal paste over the processor, with no need to upgrade the motherboard.  I know that these processors can be overclocked to well over 4 GHz with all of the extras that you mention, but that's where I'm coming in and saying that this is unnecessary unless he is planning to have performance at the very top of the computer chess food chain, with which lots of other work having nothing to do with the hardware is also necessary.
Parent - - By Phil Harris (***) Date 2007-11-07 13:54
While the latest revisions of the Q6600's can do that in most cases, the previous ones would struggle. It's perfectly possible that the manufacturer has large stocks of the B3 model to get through, so you could not be certain of getting the latest one.

Air cooling can mean all sorts of things, an Intel stock cooler in a poorly ventilated case (which most standard manufacturers cases are) is unlikely to allow 3.0gHz even with a G0 stepping Q6600, and would struggle with a B3 at2.66 gHz. Good air cooling requires excellent airflow through the case and plenty of space for a large heat sink.

A locked motherboard will not allow bios overclocking at all. While it maybe be possible to do a software overclock in windows, this still leaves voltages and memory timings untouchable, and therefore severely limits the potential. Software overclocking is a poor compromise to be honest.

My main argument is that if it's possible to get 50% more performance for a small price difference, and get much better quality components at the same time, who wouldn't choose that path?
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-07 14:46
My main argument is that if it's possible to get 50% more performance for a small price difference, and get much better quality components at the same time, who wouldn't choose that path?

If it actually is possible to get 50% more performance for a small price difference, and get much better quality components at the same time, then I have no further questions other than the definition of "small". :-)
Parent - - By Mark (****) Date 2007-11-07 15:48
The problem is that over-clocking is a hobby in and of itself and requires a lot of time and knowledge.  I guess those of us that buy computers from major retail stores are just stuck being a generation behind the over-clockers.
Parent - - By Phil Harris (***) Date 2007-11-07 18:01
I only got interested in overclocking a year ago. Only because I realised that is as close as one can get to having something for nothing, and that it would make chess computers fly.

I am 47 years old, so I am not sure which generation that makes me in comparison with the average here. I have found overclocking to be reasonably straightforward and mostly logical.

I am not an expert by any definition, but have yet to find a question that couldn't be answered by a google search and a little patience.
Parent - By Mark (****) Date 2007-11-07 18:37
I was actually talking about being a generation behind as far as computer hardware goes.  In a couple years the retail stores will be selling hardware that's as fast as what you overclock to today.

Regarding age, I'm a little older than you :)
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-07 15:21
I couldn't agree more with Mr.Phil Harris said.

I will build a dedicated chess computer, with a 64-bits Vista OS.

I am thinking in the following configuration. Which is your opinion?

Case: ANTEC P182 Super Midd Tower
Power: CORSAIR HX-620W MODULAR
Board: ASUS P5E
Processor: INTEL CORE 2 QUAD Q6600/G0 2.4 GHZ 8 MB BOX
Cooler: TUNIQ TOWER 120
Memory RAM: GSKILL PC2-8000 PQ Dual Channel 4 Gb (2 x 2048)
Gra: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Hard Drive: 2x SEAGATE BARRACUDA 250 GB 16MB SATA II 1 PRATO (ST3250410AS)
or 2x WD Raptor 150GB (???)
storage disk : WESTERN DIGITAL 500 GB 16 MB DE CACHE SATA II (WD5000AAKS)

I have a doubt in the hard disk. Will it be worthwhile to buy a Raptor (or 2 Raptors in Raid 0)??
They are very fast hard disks but also ... very very expensive.
Which is your opinion as for Raptors in a dedicated chess computer?
Is it worthwhile?
(sorry my poor english)
Parent - By Phil Harris (***) Date 2007-11-07 18:42 Edited 2007-11-07 18:48
I prefer a later motherboard, something with an X38 or P35 chip set will make more sense in terms of future upgrades. The P5e is not a bad board, but is a little long in the tooth now.

The case is an excellent one, but consider something with a big side fan like the Thermaltake Kandalf is available with, or maybe Antecs P900 gamer case with it's 200mm top fan. Both of these will have much better air flow, which I consider essential with air cooling.

I am not sure that you will gain anything worthwhile buying Raptors over a sata II drive. I think the Samsung 500gb Sata II with 16mb cache has been measured as one of the fastest. The advantages of fast HD access could be argued for tablebase use, but I think there is a better way to hold tablebases which is on USB pen drives, which seem to double in capacity on a weekly basis.

There has been much debate on here about RAM, and how much you need. My own view is that 2gb is plenty for chess purposes (and most other things to be honest, with the exception perhaps of video editing). I would suggest buying 2gb of something quicker. I did see a review somewhere of some new RAM from Patriot which runs at 1200mHz, and is very reasonably priced.

As far as the O/S is concerned, unless there is some reason you need vista specifically, I would stick with XP64 bit pro. It's cheaper, faster and simpler.

everyone has their favourite components, so you will no doubt hear more on the subject...

Phil
Parent - - By Svilponis (***) Date 2007-11-07 07:36
If you build dedicated chess computer, then go for 64 bit.
I have both 64-bit XP and 64-bit Vista, that run on very similar HW. There is one difference regarding chess computing. If I use WinXP x64, then I have to manually change processes priorities if I want to use computer for even internet browsing at the same time when it analyses a position. With Vista my other applications run rather smoothly when computer is analysing chess.
I think this is plus for Vista, because it handles priorities better, letting foreground applications run without hanging and I can easily do other things while computing chess in background.
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-07 12:29
Ahhh, I don't think I've seen this point brought up before, but it seems quite important for most of the people who are "mildly" interested in big upgrades.
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-07 15:23
I couldn't agree more with Mr.Phil Harris said.

I will build a dedicated chess computer, with a 64-bits Vista OS.

I am thinking in the following configuration. Which is your opinion?

Case: ANTEC P182 Super Midd Tower
Power: CORSAIR HX-620W MODULAR
Board: ASUS P5E
Processor: INTEL CORE 2 QUAD Q6600/G0 2.4 GHZ 8 MB BOX
Cooler: TUNIQ TOWER 120
Memory RAM: GSKILL PC2-8000 PQ Dual Channel 4 Gb (2 x 2048)
Gra: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Hard Drive: 2x SEAGATE BARRACUDA 250 GB 16MB SATA II 1 PRATO (ST3250410AS)
or 2x WD Raptor 150GB (???)
storage disk : WESTERN DIGITAL 500 GB 16 MB DE CACHE SATA II (WD5000AAKS)

I have a doubt in the hard disk. Will it be worthwhile to buy a Raptor (or 2 Raptors in Raid 0)??
They are very fast hard disks but also ... very very expensive.
Which is your opinion as for Raptors in a dedicated chess computer?
Is it worthwhile?
(sorry my poor english)
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-11-07 17:00
These other guys know more than I do on this, but that definitely is a "hoss" system.
Parent - - By Svilponis (***) Date 2007-11-07 18:36 Edited 2007-11-07 19:00
I think you have choosen a nice quality case and a good PSU that can definitely provide adequate power output for your system (I think a good 500W PSU will do, but some reserve is good).
I personally like Asus boards, I use P5E-plus MB myself (the only negative experience with it was BIOS flashing failure, don't try to flash under Windows environment with Asus flash utility but use Ezflash or DOS mode instead). But there are new chipsets available, so better choose MB with X38 or P35.
Your CPU choise has good performance/price ratio and has rather good opportunities for OC.
The cooler is big and definitely effective, it should fit into your system (be careful when handling the MB with fitted cooler because it is rather heavy, 800g, and can cause damage to MB if gravity shock applies).
I have no experience with this memory brand, but according to spec it should perform well and provide good overclocking potential and stability at high frequencies.
Your graphics card is overkill if to use it only for dedicated chess workstation, but provides you with lot of fun and nice graphics if you want sometimes to play some 3D games.
Extreme speed of the hard drive system is not so essential for good chess computer. It might still have signifcant positive effect if you analyse endgames and use much tablebases. But most of position should generate no disk activity. If you edit also aerial photographs or videos, then you should buy top performance HDD system.
Parent - - By Capablanca (*) Date 2007-11-07 19:45
Yes I know Tuniq 120 cooler its a bit havy. Can you recommend me another coller that is equally good (and lighter)?

As far as I understood you don't recommend me to buy a WD Raptor Hard Drive. Is that correct? Do you think 2 disks in RAID 0 and other for storage are sufficiently fast?

I am going to buy my computer next Saturday and all help is wellcome.
Parent - By Svilponis (***) Date 2007-11-07 19:55
The cooler is ok, if you handle your computer carefully (especially when relocating) and don't transport it often (when transporting, extra care is necessary to avoid gravity shocks).

I think Raptors are overkill for your purpose.
Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Please help me to build a dedicated computer for chess

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