Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: WMCCC Hardware

Author: Vincent Diepeveen

Date: 15:15:20 10/12/97

Go up one level in this thread

On October 04, 1997 at 12:50:59, Bruce Moreland wrote:

>On October 04, 1997 at 11:10:11, Chris Whittington wrote:
>>On October 03, 1997 at 14:06:34, Bruce Moreland wrote:
>>>The reason people question the legality or fairness of an Alpha is
>>>simply that it is not an Intel chip.
>>No way.
>>People question the fairness because the bloody thing runs at 50,000
>>GigaHertz and the only way to get one is to be a student at a university
>>computer science department. Now it seems they can be got by anybody
>>crazy enough to spend the money. The end-users and opinion makers want
>>the WMCCC to be a reasonably fair tournament, so they can believe that
>>the winner is the best; but with so many categories of machine available
>>this is no longer possible. And we'll all be talking about the winning
>>PROGRAM, that's how we consider it; only now we'll have to speak it out
>>loud every time: the winning program and hardware combination. Its a
>>drag. The nieve won't understand. And so on and so on.
>If you call DEC and try to order a machine, forget it.  They charge an
>infinite amount of money.
>But, there is another way.
>Both of these companies will sell you an Alpha system at a reasonable
>price.  They sell you a system that has a motherboard made by DEC, but
>the rest of the components are PC components.  This saves you a huge
>amount of money, but you still go fast.
>I have done business with both of these companies.
>Back in July or so I noticed that a Crafty account called "Data" was
>doing an incredibly high node rate.  I asked the guy what he was using,
>and he directed me to Enorex.  I called them on the phone and ordered a
>machine.  I bought a machine with a CD-ROM, network card, nice graphics
>card, sound card, 128 mb RAM, 2.4 gigabytes of IDE drive, a network
>card, and a 500mhz 21164 chip, for something like $5000, maybe less, I
>can't remember.
>I got this machine and spent a couple of days messing with it.  There
>was one big problem, which is that whenever I would boot my program it
>would go at some random speed, anywhere between half-speed and
>full-speed.  I could not get this problem to go away.  At about the same
>time, Enorex released their 533mhz system, so I sent this machine back
>and ordered the new one.  I figured this might solve my speed
>instability problems since it has twice as much cache.
>A few days after I'd sent my machine back, Enorex called me and told me
>that their new machine wasn't passing FCC emissions regulations, there
>would be an indeterminate delay, could I please wait.  I cancelled the
>order and called Polywell.
>Polywell sent me a 533mhz Alpha.  This machine has a 9gb SCSI drive

Wow 9 gb. That's quite huge.

>(almost a thousand bucks extra), but other than that it is similar to
>the Enorex system.  It cost about $6000.  I am happy with it, the speed
>instability seems to have mostly disappeared (I still get a bad boot
>sometimes, but is rare).
>I priced a 300 mhz PII from Gateway (which I don't think was available
>at the time I ordered this machine).  I set it up to have approximately
>the same stuff and it came out to $4200.  Polywell didn't charge me
>sales tax.  Gateway would, I know that for a fact.  So add 8% and a
>hundred bucks shipping and we are at $4600.

>So I paid a premium of $1400.  I'm not quite sure what I got for my
>$1400, I've never run on a PII/300, but I bet it is getting fairly close
>in speed.  Notice in passing that nobody has complained about Fritz.
>The machine I got has the same compiler that my P6/200 has, runs the
>same operating system, and will run all of the tools I use, with a
>little bit of degraded performance since it uses an emulator, except for
>my text editor, which won't run at all, since it is an old text editor
>that uses the OS/2 subsystem.

I also still use an old editor: borland c++ 3.11 because source is in
colors, and i can do things faster than under windows editors.

>It is close enough to being a PC that it is a PC.  I wouldn't have
>bought something that was abnormal.

For 1400 dollars i would do it to.

About that systemtime you sometimes loose: i guess you are under
Windows NT, although i'm at this time setting up WinNT 5.0 :)

Under Unix i had this problem too about a year a go at HP9000-700
(about as fast as a Pentium 60) .

I rebooted the machine such that it could only run very few processes.
In fact in ran only that single proces (Diep).

This prevented some smart OS things that take away your systemtime.

Already tried starting NT with Disks, and then run process from command
prompt in textmode?

It should then give your program all systemtime and a lot of hashtables


Vincent Diepeveen

BTW i'm paying telephone bill while typing this, and explorer doesn't
to have some smart caching system. It seems to lack things like that.
Takes me another reload time.

Is it possible to get  this on an emailinglist?

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