Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

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M ANSARI
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Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by M ANSARI » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:06 pm

There has never been a better time to upgrade your system as there is now. The reason is mainly because Intel CPU's are jumping from 1066 Mhz bus to 1333 Mhz bus ... so automatically have a way where you can unleash the true speed of your CPU by simply increasing your Front Side Bus (FSB) and by-passing Intel's CPU multiplier lock that is usually only left un-locked for the Extreme Edition CPU's that are sold for 3X or 4X the price. I just upgraded my brother's computer and I was amazed at how easy and cheap things have become. He is heavily into Video Editing and was complaining at how long it was taking to render Video. The following is a list of the items that I bought for the upgrade:

Intel Q6600 Quad Core (G0 stepping) - $280
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R - $129
2 GB Corsair PC6400 CAS 4 - $77
Thermaltake Blu Orb II HSF - $46

First of all for the CPU, it is imperative that you get the "GO stepping". This stepping has a much lower thermal envelope than normal Q6600's and is really an underclocked CPU. Newegg does not guarantee that you get a G0 stepping but you can get one from antaresdigital if you pay a $6 premium. Best $6 you will ever spend. G0 steppings have a "SLACR" in their code so make sure you get the right stepping.

http://www.antaresdigital.com/customer/ ... 419&page=1

Now for the other stuff I got everything from www.newegg.com ... here is what I got

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128050
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145034
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835106069


You can probably save around $60 by buying the Gigabyte motherboard that does not have SATA RAID ... but my brother wanted lots of SATA ports so this was an excellent choice. Also I am sure that there are a lot of DDR II memory choices ... but at $77 after rebate the Corsair memory is fantastic and it has a very low latency of CAS 4. The Thermaltake Blu Orb is also a great choice for cooling your 4 cores ... although it is HUGE and might not fit in many motherboards (it does with this Gigabyte). It is extremely quiet and although the boxed HSF from Intel might do ... I usually throw them in the trash ... they are too noisy and don't perform well and have really flimsy plastic installation screws.

OK ... now that I had all the stuff it was time to put it all together. Very simple ... first I installed the CPU ... just install as the instructions say ... the Q6600 has 2 notches and just make sure the notches are in the right location before you close the clamp for the CPU. Once seated you can double check and make sure you got the proper SLACR CPU ... it should look something like this

Image

Now you have to install the 4 screws that allow for the installation of your BLU ORB HSG. Very simple to do and just put them in this orientation. Here are 2 pix of the front and back.

Image

Image

Now you have to put some thermal paste on the CPU. You can use the stuff that comes with the Blu Org but personally I like Arctic Silver 5 ... just put a little bit and spread it out with a triangular cut piece of the CPU plastic case. You want to spread a nice even film. More is not better and can be worse because it adds more distance for the Heat Transfer.


Image

Image


Now all that is left is the 2 screws to attach the Blu Orb and also plug in the CPU FAN plug on the motherboard. When you install the fan make sure you place it slowly and slowly tighten the screws. You want to try and keep the paste film as uniform as possible.

Image


Now put in 2 sticks of memory on the motherboard and you are all set. With my brother he decided at the last moment to put 4GB or RAM ... I don't know if that is necessary for chess ... anyway next step was to remove his old stuff from his old system. Removed the VGA card ... it was a PCI Express VGA card so we figured we can still use it. Then I removed the old motherboard with CPU and memory and HSF. Next step was simply putting the new motherboard in his old case. That was simple enough and took about 3 minutes. His power supply was already a good 650 watt PS so I figured it was more than good enough. We kept the 2 DVD recorders and the 2 SATA HDD and connected everything ... and booted up the system.

Windows magically managed to boot with no problems ... and after a few hardware driver installations (from the motherboard CD) and a few reboots the system was all set. We did have to re-validate Win XP but a quick explanation to the Microsoft number and we got a new code.

Now it was time to unleash the true power of this CPU. So on bootup we press "Delete" to get into the setup menu

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Now simply go to the MIT menu


Image


I wanted 3.2 Ghz per cpu so I chose a memory speed of "356" ... everything else was left alone and rebooted. System rebooted with no problems and was showing 3.2 Ghz. I let the system run CPU Stability Test 6.0 overnight ... and next morning it was all OK. I then did a 200 game engine match with Rybka - Shredder - Hiarcs ... it ran that without a hitch. I would say that the system is 100% stable.

Image


I did try to go to 3.4 Ghz ... and it booted up just fine ... but I believe that with air cooling 3.2 Ghz on 4 cores and running 4GB of DDR II RAM is enough ... more would be pushing it and would probably require water cooling and additional voltage to the CPU. Needless to say my brother is very happy with his new upgrade ... He went from a 3 Ghz Pentium 4 to a Core 2 Quad at 3.2 Ghz. Remember that a QX6850 running at a slower 3.0 Ghz costs around $1250 if you can find it ... here you have a full upgrade for much cheaper.

Here is a screen shot of Rybka 2.3.2a MP looking at a position ... note the 4 cores at 100% CPU utilization ...

Image

Now that is a good what I call a good upgrade for your chess computer for almost $500 ... but for chess ... you really need to put Win XP 64bit and let Rybka MP 64bit rip!

Cubeman
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Cubeman » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:43 pm

Thanks for the informative advice.I too have an "old" Pentium 4 3.2Ghz with Windows XP 32 bit and 512Mb Ram.How much speed up in chess terms are we talking about with this new system?

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M ANSARI
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:10 pm

Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by M ANSARI » Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:32 am

I would say it would be around 600% faster.

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Ross Boyd
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Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Ross Boyd » Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:56 am

Now you have to put some thermal paste on the CPU. You can use the stuff that comes with the Blu Org but personally I like Arctic Silver 5 ... just put a little bit and spread it out with a triangular cut piece of the CPU plastic case. You want to spread a nice even film. More is not better and can be worse because it adds more distance for the Heat Transfer.
Helpful hint:
A really effective way to spread Thermal Paste is to use a small block of polystyrene foam (with a flat side). It makes a great smooth and even film.

Thanks for sharing your experiment. I'm itching to build a new PC with similar parts to yours. The price is very affordable now and WOW look at the results.

Just for fun, could you run the Fritz benchmark and post your results.

Cheers,
Ross

Spock

Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Spock » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:04 am

The pics above by M ANSARI show the thermal paste being wrongly applied

This is what arctic silver recommend:
http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/7783 ... 001pm4.jpg


Don't cover the entire heatspreader with the stuff, just a thin line of it as in the instructions in this pdf.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/appinst ... d_wcap.pdf
Last edited by Spock on Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

Henrik Dinesen
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Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Henrik Dinesen » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:17 am

The sad thing when talk chess and CPU's, is that the P4's isn't really not worth their clock-cyckles; when pomparing two machines in the house, the 3.4Ghz doesn't deliever more chesspower than the older AMD 1.7Ghz.

The upgrade is an good idea for sure, and those is reluctant to do such themself, can have a great in this short instructional describtion of the procedure - the right pictures is worth more than many words :)

As so many who's not having the battle for computerrating on Playchess as the main point of my chess-interest, I'm "behind" in hardware too, relying on older boxes. Whether going for upgrades, or hole new machines, that is the question, but it remains, that with the reduced prices on especially CPU's, something have to be done ;)

PS: Seems a few people talks Vista, while most with a little experience shouts "XP 64-bit"
Henrik

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Murat
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Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Murat » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:37 pm

Spock wrote:The pics above by M ANSARI show the thermal paste being wrongly applied
Indeed,

You just prevented lots of failed overclocks for people.
Thank you

Murat:.

Farmor

Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by Farmor » Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:38 pm

Spock wrote:The pics above by M ANSARI show the thermal paste being wrongly applied
Also I would say it's is far too much.

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M ANSARI
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Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by M ANSARI » Sat Aug 25, 2007 6:14 pm

Actually I have tried the way that the PDF file shows but for me it does not seem to work very well. I have much better results when I have an even film as I have shown. When I try with line as described in the PDF I have approximately 2 degrees C more on idle. Looking at the pic it does look like I have a lot but this is before I have passed over it with a triangular cut hard piece of plastic (cut from the CPU box) and what remains is an almost invisible film. I do the triangular cut plastic piece to be the same thickness as the CPU heat spreader and pass it through while collecting the excess off. The idea is to fill in the gaps that are on the CPU heat spreader and the gaps on the Heat Sink surface ... air gaps will cause insulation and thus poor heat transfer.

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M ANSARI
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:10 pm

Re: Time to upgrade your Chess Computer ... for $500

Post by M ANSARI » Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:27 pm

Here is the Fritzmark of the above system running WinXP Pro 32bit

Image

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