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Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Hardware questions
- - By middlewave Date 2020-10-31 17:53
Hello everyone,
I have been tasked with building a decently powerful rig for a friend, within a reasonable budget, focused entirely on chess engine performance (let's say, Stockfish and Lc0). No overclocking, no concern about anything else (such as gaming).

While I do have the general outline of the computer in mind, I have a few questions about specific hardware details that I couldn't find a good answer to elsewhere. I have searched a lot through this forum and taken note of similar discussions (particularly Lukas' various suggestions), but would love to clarify some things further. Some of these questions might seem too obvious to the crowd of this forum, so please bear with me!

To give a short overview of the computer envisioned, it will be based on a high-end AMD processor (perhaps the Ryzen 3950X), have at least 32Gb of RAM (maybe 64), a good Nvidia RTX card. The exact components depend on their respective costs, but that's more or less what the budget comfortably allows. I have taken other costs into account as well, and there is some flexibility to go over budget if it's really worth it. But I'm not really asking for specific component suggestions (though of course they are welcome!), but rather to understand myself what is important and what isn't.

I'll list my questions below, numbered (for ease of reference). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

1. RAM speed and timings.

I understand that for a Ryzen 3XXX I should look for a 3600 kit; does this apply to the new 5XXX Ryzens? Or should I look for a 4000 kit?
Also, just how important are RAM timings for chess engines? I know they matter a lot for gaming, but I have seen Lukas recommend a kit with rather slow timings somewhere and wondered how much it matters - and why.

2. SSD setup

I'm planning a setup with 2-3 NVMe drives (plus an HDD or more, for storage) and was wondering how important SSD performance is, and for which purposes. The drives will be quite fast anyway (as they will be NVMe), but do I need a really fast drive for some specific purpose?
Also, what would be a good setup/drive combination to use? A separate drive for tablebases?

3. Ryzen vs Threadripper

I am somewhat confused as to the benefits of using a TR vs a Ryzen of the same generation, assuming an equal number of cores and similar frequencies. Is there an architectural difference that matters significantly for Stockfish? If yes, how much? The Ryzens have much lower TDPs and costs...

4. RTX 2XXX vs 3XXX

Are there any preliminary conclusions as to the benefits of the new RTX 3XXX cards? Are the improvements significant for Lc0, compared to similarly priced 2XXX cards? I have read some reviews and spec sheets, but as I understand, the simple comparison of cores (CUDA, Tensor) is not a good indicator.

5. Motherboard

Is there anything specific that I should look for when selecting a motherboard? I'll opt for a good high-end motherboard anyway, just wondering if there is some special requirement.

Please remember: I am not asking in order to extract the last possible drop of performance from the system - yet! I am just trying to understand the direction I should move towards. May well return with more specific questions, if you don't mind, but for now that would be enough!

Thanks in advance!
Parent - - By MrKris (***) Date 2020-10-31 19:49
https://www.techradar.com/news/amd-ryzen-5000
"AMD Ryzen 5000 release date
At the October 8 launch, CEO Lisa Su announced that the AMD Ryzen 5000 processors will all launch on November 5, 2020."


"GeForce RTX 3060 pre-orders with a November launch date appear in China
RTX 2080 Super performance for $400? [speculation]"

The 3070 is late, "out of stock" everywhere, ~$500.
_ _ _ _

> Hello everyone,
> I have been tasked with building a decently powerful rig for a friend, within a reasonable budget, focused entirely on chess engine performance (let's say, Stockfish and Lc0). No overclocking, no concern about anything else (such as gaming).


Two different uses:
1) ICCF / FIDE
2) studying for amatuer over-the-board or online games (played with the computer off, of course)
3) chess edu-entertainment

Only 1) requires high performance hardware because:

Official Stockfish 11 (~ 100 Elo below current) announcement https://blog.stockfishchess.org/
"... and we estimate that on a modern four cores CPU, Stockfish 11 could give 1:1000 time odds to the human chess champion having classical time control, and be on par with him. ..."

They were referencing, no doubt, an i7-4770K or later 4-core;
1/1000 of 40 moves / 2 hours = 40 moves / 7.2 seconds , average 0.18 seconds per move, to be "on par" with Magnus Carlsen.

Lc0 requires an RTX but it is almost a waste of money:
TCEC 19 SuperFinal: 50 openings colors reversed:
1 opening won by Lc0: games 23 & 24 Lc0 1.5/2 - Sf 0.5/2 *
11 openings won by Sf: Sf 1.5/2 - Lc0 0.5/2
38 openings Sf 1.0/2 - Lc0 1.0/2
* Lc0 better than Stockfish just 2% of the time.

Parent - By middlewave Date 2020-11-01 08:46
Sorry, I forgot to describe the intended use case indeed!

The computer is for a professional chess player (a GM) and will be used solely for analysis of openings and games. No correspondence chess or anything like that. Will only use Stockfish and Lc0 (or similar engines), usually with manual guidance, perhaps left on infinite analysis mode overnight on occasion.

I am aware of release dates for new hardware, planning to build some time later, not now - maybe around the holidays.

Lc0 may be 'worse' than Stockfish according to these statistics, but it is an indispensable tool for analysis for a practical OTB player; I've confirmed this view with some of the world's very best players and coaches. So yeah, RTX is a must for this build.

As for Stockfish, the need for high performance comes mainly from the nature of OTB players' preparation; they very often need to reach great depths as quickly as possible, due to time constraints, or use multiple instances of the engine at the same time, on different positions. The Ryzen 9 5950X (or 3950X) is more or less a necessity, due to the core count.

Thanks for the insightful comment!
Parent - - By Labyrinth (*****) Date 2020-11-01 01:17
Should definitely go with a DEC Alpha Marvel family ES47 server running OpenVMS with 32 GB of RAM, 1.75 MB Scache, 1 AGP slot and 5 PCI/PCI-X slots.

Seriously though without a budget it's difficult to imagine suggestions.
Parent - - By middlewave Date 2020-11-01 08:26
Sorry, maybe I didn't make myself clear!
Suggestions are welcome but I am not really looking for such at this stage; just trying to understand how certain things (as formulated in my questions) affect performance. Once I have a better idea about that, I will be able to go into specifics.
Thanks!
Parent - By jpqy (**) Date 2020-11-01 12:58
I always take a budjet i can/want to spend on a new build ,and then which one gives me highest nodes/sec. for that money with of course all needed parts.

Check here: http://ipmanchess.yolasite.com/amd---intel-chess-bench.php

JP.
Parent - By The Truth (**) Date 2020-11-02 11:11
For budget cpus used xeon v4 with chinese motherboards are currently the best price/performance wise. A pair of 2696 v4/2699 v4 22 cores (44c / 88t total) is only 600-1000 euros if you get a good deal. And you can even run modded bios so it will run in turbo 2.8ghz all cores all the time.
Parent - - By user923005 (****) Date 2020-11-02 20:58
RE: "3. Ryzen vs Threadripper

I am somewhat confused as to the benefits of using a TR vs a Ryzen of the same generation, assuming an equal number of cores and similar frequencies. Is there an architectural difference that matters significantly for Stockfish? If yes, how much? The Ryzens have much lower TDPs and costs..."

A Threadripper is a kind of Ryzen.  They are more expensive and more powerful.
The older generation threadrippers can be a bargain, but shop around.

In order to get any sort of intelligent answers, some sort of budget must be given.
Parent - - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-05 03:46
The new Ryzen 5000 series will be fine for chess analysis, chess needs more RAM than CPU, I have 32GB but many now have more installed
Parent - - By user923005 (****) Date 2020-11-05 18:54
That is one of the big improvements when you go to Epyc.
You can get terabytes of RAM.
You also have gobs and gobs of PCIE4 lanes.
The normal Threadripper count sounds great, but you still run out in a hurry.
Parent - - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-07 23:52
EPIC processors are expensive and eat too much into the budget

My X570 tops out at 128GB which is the best a gaming box can do

DDR5 will bump that up to 512GB eventually
Parent - - By middlewave Date 2020-11-08 12:25
Thanks for the info!

One question about RAM: how important are timings? Or, to rephrase: between two 3600 kits, how big is the performance hit from a kit with CL 16 to a kit with CL 22, say?
I have seen Lukas here recommend a CL22 Crucial kit in another thread, which sounds reassuring, but am wondering...
Parent - - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-11 19:58
AMD Ryzen is best with DDR4-3200 with the tightest timing you can afford

My RAM is CL14

Faster does not benefit due to the infinity fabric in the CPU has to slow down
Parent - - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2020-11-11 21:54
Almost all Zen2 run fine with DDR4-3600, Zen3 goes to DDR4-3800 without much problem (4000 if you have a good processor).
Parent - - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-16 06:57
The infinity bus gets messed up with speeds above DDR4-3200

So I use the stock speeds to have a better tuned setup that seems to perform much better
Parent - - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2020-11-16 18:01 Edited 2020-11-16 18:04
Then you are doing something wrong, have bad memory chips (or maybe cpu/motherboard?) or most likely have bad cooling.

Asus Strix Gaming-E here, with 64GB CL16 DDR4-3600 memory.
This setup will run 4.1 Ghz on 16 cores (even slightly undervolted (-0.0875 Volt)). All other settings stock (except from XMP/DOCP profile of course)

Full specs:
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming
G.Skill Ripjaws V F4-3600C16D-32GVKC (64 GB total)
Samsung SSD 970 Evo Plus 1TB (M.2)
Samsung SSD 860 Evo 4TB (SATA600)
Corsair Hydro H100x
Parent - - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-27 05:18
I have CL14 RAM which is faster than your lower cost memory
Parent - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2020-11-27 21:01
Maybe, maybe not (you have faster access times, I have higher throughput), but that was not the issue discussed. You mentioned higher memory speeds would be an issue as it would trottle down the cpu/IF which is clearly not true.
Parent - - By MrKris (***) Date 2020-11-15 00:48
You did not ask about, but here is some Lc0/RAM data I wanted to double-check for myself anyway.


RAM use for Lc0 v0.26.3 | RTX 2060 (R7 2700X, Ubuntu 20.04)

Infinite:
Net J92-330 (384x30) = 17 minutes per GB
Net t40 SV 1541 (256x20) = 7 minutes per GB
Net J64-210 (192x16) = 4 minutes per GB

Game mode is much, much better (it must prune unneeded RAM from earier moves)
J64-210 vs LS14.3, G/90'+10'', System Monitor data
1. d4 {1.6 GB}  Nf6 {1.4 GB}
9. Ne5 {3.0 GB} a5 {2.8 GB}
21. Bd3 {4.6 GB}, 34 mins. used} g6 {3.0 GB, 34 mins. used}
63. Rh7 {5.1 GB 87 mins. used} 1-0 {3.4 GB 90 mins. used}

Lc0 setting 'RamLimitMB' used to time RAM use,
the warning shows in Arena, it may not in other GUI's:
FEN: rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1 Initial position
System Monitor = start 1.3 GB, end 2.5 GB
RamLimitMB = 1024 (1 GB)
Lc0v0.26.3 J92-330 (384x30) :
  1/2  00:01             6  545  +0.11  1.d4 Nf6
  2/3  00:01            21  840  +0.06  1.g3 d5 2.Nf3
... ... ...
 14/46  16:46        4,787k  5k  +0.11  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Qc2 c6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Ba6 11.Ne5 Rc8 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Nc6 Nh5
 14/46  16:51        4,800k  5k  +0.11  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Qc2 c6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Ba6 11.Ne5 Rc8 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Nc6 Nh5
WARNING: Search has reached limit and does not make any progress.
==== 17 minutes/GB ====

FEN: 4bnrk/4pppp/8/8/8/8/4PPPP/4NBRK w - - 0 1   ---Reduced pieces, 16 total
RamLimitMB = 4096 (4 GB)
System Monitor: Start 1.0 GB, End 5.0 GB
Lc0v0.26.3 t40SV1541 (256x20) :
  1/2  00:01            11  2k  -0.01  1.g3 Bb5
  2/3  00:01            66  5k  -0.03  1.h4 Ng6 2.g3
... ... ...
 11/30  28:00       20,119k  12k   -0.00  1.e3 g5 2.h3 Bc6 3.Be2 Ng6 4.Nf3 Bxf3 5.Bxf3 Rb8 6.Bh5 Rb2 7.Rf1 Kg7 8.Kg1 Ne5 9.Rd1 e6
 11/30  28:05       20,160k  12k   -0.00  1.e3 g5 2.h3 Bc6 3.Be2 Ng6 4.Nf3 Bxf3 5.Bxf3 Rb8 6.Bh5 Rb2 7.Rf1 Kg7 8.Kg1 Ne5 9.Rd1 e6
WARNING: Search has reached limit and does not make any progress.
==== 7 minutes per GB ====

FEN: rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1 
RamLimitMB = 8192 (8 GB)
System Monitor: Start 1.0 GB, End 11.0 GB (why too high?)
Lc0v0.26.3:
  1/2  00:01             3  428  +0.15  1.e4 e5
  2/3  00:01             5  454  +0.14  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3
... ... ...
 33/79  52:35       40,621k  13k  +0.11  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Be7 10.h3 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Bxh4 12.Rd1+ Ke8 13.g4 h5 14.f3 f6 15.exf6 gxf6 16.Bf4 Be6 17.Ne2 Kf7 18.Nd4 Rae8 19.Bxc7 hxg4 20.hxg4 Bc8 21.Rd3 f5 22.Nxf5 Bxf5 23.gxf5 Re2 24.Rad1 Rg8+ 25.Kh1 Rh8 26.Rd7+ Ke8 27.Kg1 Rg8+ 28.Kh1 Rh8
 33/79  52:40       40,640k  13k  +0.11  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Be7 10.h3 Nh4 11.Nxh4 Bxh4 12.Rd1+ Ke8 13.g4 h5 14.f3 f6 15.exf6 gxf6 16.Bf4 Be6 17.Ne2 Kf7 18.Nd4 Rae8 19.Bxc7 hxg4 20.hxg4 Bc8 21.Rd3 f5 22.Nxf5 Bxf5 23.gxf5 Re2 24.Rad1 Rg8+ 25.Kh1 Rh8 26.Rd7+ Ke8 27.Kg1 Rg8+ 28.Kh1 Rh8
WARNING: Search has reached limit and does not make any progress.
==== 7 minutes per GB ====

FEN: rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1 
RamLimitMB = 16384 (16 GB)
System Monitor: 1 GB start, 21.5 GB end (why high?)
Lc0v0.26.3:
  1/2  00:00             3  428  +0.15  1.d4 Nf6
  2/3  00:00             7  636  +0.11  1.Nf3 d5 2.d4
... ... ...
 25/75  1:11:08       81,600k  19k  +0.14  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 c5 7.Bxc4 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.e5 Qd8 10.0-0 cxd4 11.Ne4 Nc6 12.Qe2 a6 13.Rac1 b5 14.Bxe6 Bxe6 15.Rxc6 d3 16.Qe3 Qd5 17.Rd6 Bxd6 18.Nxd6+ Ke7 19.Rd1 Rhd8 20.h3 Kf8 21.Rxd3 Qxa2 22.Nd4 Qxb2 23.Kh2 Qb1 24.Nxe6+ fxe6 25.Qf4+ Kg8 26.Rg3 Kh7 27.Qf7 Rg8 28.Qxe6 Raf8 29.Nf7 b4 30.f4 Qe4 31.Rg4 Re8 32.Qd7 Ref8 33.Qe6
WARNING: Search has reached limit and does not make any progress.
==== 4 minutes per GB ====
Parent - By Vegan (****) Date 2020-11-16 07:00 Upvotes 1
I have 32GB at present and I have tried leaving a position open with infinite analysis and over time the RAM consumption can rise substantially

Max I can install is 128GB until DDR5 comes along
Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Hardware questions

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