Novag Citrine

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jshriver
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Novag Citrine

Post by jshriver » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:05 pm

Was looking at the Novag Citrine and it's making me wonder. The website says it is using a RISC style CPU running at 20mhz (20mhz!) and has a estimated USCF rating of 2330. Not being negative but admire it. How is this even possible? Not only the 20mhz speed but the entire engine and 24k halfmove opening book fits in a 56k rom.

Wow.
-Josh

Steve B
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by Steve B » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:42 pm

jshriver wrote:Was looking at the Novag Citrine and it's making me wonder. The website says it is using a RISC style CPU running at 20mhz (20mhz!) and has a estimated USCF rating of 2330. Not being negative but admire it. How is this even possible? Wow.
-Josh
Hi Josh
Sadly the answer is Its not Possible
the estimated rating given by the Manufacturer is grossly overstated(as usual)
Selective Search Magazine rates the Citrine at 2017 Elo which would be about 2130 USCF
The .INFO site rates the Citirine at 2084 Elo or 2200 USCF
all in all your looking at a mid 2100 ish USCF chess computer
Its a nice wooden auto-sensory .. buts it nowhere near 2300

Inflated Regards
Steve

wgarvin
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by wgarvin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:10 pm

It might be an interesting project though, to buy one and remove the microcontroller and turn the thing into a USB peripheral, and then just use it to play against real engines on your PC. You'd just need a microcontroller to read the switch array and remember the current state of the switches, and send USB packets to the PC whenever something in the state changes. (The state is just a 64-bit bitboard I guess).

Steve B
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by Steve B » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:18 pm

wgarvin wrote:It might be an interesting project though, to buy one and remove the microcontroller and turn the thing into a USB peripheral, and then just use it to play against real engines on your PC. You'd just need a microcontroller to read the switch array and remember the current state of the switches, and send USB packets to the PC whenever something in the state changes. (The state is just a 64-bit bitboard I guess).
Actually the Citrine can be used to interface with the Arena GUI to play any engine that can be played in Arena and at the speed of your PC
although personally i never use my Citrine for that sort of thing

Dedicated Regards
Steve

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jshriver
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by jshriver » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:21 pm

That's what caught my eye initially. Was tinkering with Arena when I saw it supported Novags.

-Josh

CThinker
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by CThinker » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:35 am

jshriver wrote:Was looking at the Novag Citrine and it's making me wonder. The website says it is using a RISC style CPU running at 20mhz (20mhz!) and has a estimated USCF rating of 2330. Not being negative but admire it. How is this even possible? Not only the 20mhz speed but the entire engine and 24k halfmove opening book fits in a 56k rom.

Wow.
-Josh
I remember that Alex once estimated the Pocket PC version of Thinker to be 2600 Elo on a 400mhz device. Assuming that you lose 50 points each time you reduce the device speed by half, then a 25mhz device would be around 2400 Elo. The latest Thinker version should be at least 180 points better than the version Alex tested (but there is no Pocket PC / Windows Phone build for that yet). Even if Alex's estimate is too optimistic, newer versions of the code would compensate for that and Elo estimate would still be close.

As for this Novag, 32K of ROM is a lot of space to put an engine.

So, I think the manufacturer's claim is not impossible to do.

Steve B
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by Steve B » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:03 am

CThinker wrote:
jshriver wrote:Was looking at the Novag Citrine and it's making me wonder. The website says it is using a RISC style CPU running at 20mhz (20mhz!) and has a estimated USCF rating of 2330. Not being negative but admire it. How is this even possible? Not only the 20mhz speed but the entire engine and 24k halfmove opening book fits in a 56k rom.

Wow.
-Josh
I remember that Alex once estimated the Pocket PC version of Thinker to be 2600 Elo on a 400mhz device. Assuming that you lose 50 points each time you reduce the device speed by half, then a 25mhz device would be around 2400 Elo. The latest Thinker version should be at least 180 points better than the version Alex tested (but there is no Pocket PC / Windows Phone build for that yet). Even if Alex's estimate is too optimistic, newer versions of the code would compensate for that and Elo estimate would still be close.

As for this Novag, 32K of ROM is a lot of space to put an engine.

So, I think the manufacturer's claim is not impossible to do.

Perhaps in theoretical terms its possible ..however in practical terms there were very few dedicated computers ever released for sale that came close to or passed the 2300 elo level
the Tasc R30 running on a Risc processor at 30 Mhz is one that leaps to mind
however the rom was larger at 256k
another would be the Mephisto Genius clocking at 33 Mhz
rom here was also greater at 256k
now of course there are some dedicated units that run at 200-500 Mhz and these babies smash through the 2300 glass ceiling and reach the 2400-mid 2600 level

Regards
Steve

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mhull
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by mhull » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:16 pm

wgarvin wrote:It might be an interesting project though, to buy one and remove the microcontroller and turn the thing into a USB peripheral, and then just use it to play against real engines on your PC. You'd just need a microcontroller to read the switch array and remember the current state of the switches, and send USB packets to the PC whenever something in the state changes. (The state is just a 64-bit bitboard I guess).
On FICS, a guy hooked up his Novag Sapphire 1 with a "home brew" interface to play chess online.

Code: Select all

Finger of NovagSapphire:

Last disconnected: Thu May 12, 08:42 PDT 2005

          rating     RD      win    loss    draw   total   best
Blitz      1981    325.3   32308    5935    1459   39702   2064 (25-Sep-2001)
Standard   2143    331.8   10170    1540     467   12177   2223 (16-Jan-2002)
Wild       1908    350.0      13      28       0      41   1963 (10-Jun-2001)
I played it many a game. It was challenging but not unbeatable for me.
Matthew Hull

Steve B
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by Steve B » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:16 pm

mhull wrote:
wgarvin wrote:It might be an interesting project though, to buy one and remove the microcontroller and turn the thing into a USB peripheral, and then just use it to play against real engines on your PC. You'd just need a microcontroller to read the switch array and remember the current state of the switches, and send USB packets to the PC whenever something in the state changes. (The state is just a 64-bit bitboard I guess).
On FICS, a guy hooked up his Novag Sapphire 1 with a "home brew" interface to play chess online.

Code: Select all

Finger of NovagSapphire:

Last disconnected: Thu May 12, 08:42 PDT 2005

          rating     RD      win    loss    draw   total   best
Blitz      1981    325.3   32308    5935    1459   39702   2064 (25-Sep-2001)
Standard   2143    331.8   10170    1540     467   12177   2223 (16-Jan-2002)
Wild       1908    350.0      13      28       0      41   1963 (10-Jun-2001)
I played it many a game. It was challenging but not unbeatable for me.
I guess all of those games must have caught up with the poor Sapphire..probably totally defective now
when you think about it
how many games can someone actually play a dedicated computer in their lifetime?
a few hundred at most..and thats if its their only unit
i probably haven't used any one dedicated unit more then 100 playing Hrs at most

2005 Regards
Steve

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sje
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Re: Novag Citrine

Post by sje » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:01 am

I own a Citrine and it's a fun machine. The processor is essentially a micro version of a 1970s DEC pdp-11 -- something that cost a hundred thousand dollars back then but is now only about $10 in chip form.

I connected my Citrine to my program Symbolic in 2009 and some of the games are available online at:

https://public.me.com/chessnotation -> PGN -> Citrine

The Citrine could manage only two draws in 150 five minute games and no draws at all with longer time controls. The machine is entertaining, but its rating is no greater than 2000 elo.

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