Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Discussion of anything and everything relating to chess playing software and machines.

Moderators: hgm, Rebel, chrisw

smatovic
Posts: 2797
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:18 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Full name: Srdja Matovic

Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by smatovic »

Just sharing my experience:

Laptop:
I like modular laptops where you can still upgrade/replace RAM, SSD, battery,
there are several vendors in this market, Tuxedo from Germany, System76 or
Framework, I like the Pulse 15 Gen2 from Tuxedo for example:

https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/en/Linu ... en2.tuxedo

8 cores AMD Zen 5700U, 2xDDR4 RAM slots, 2xM.2-M SSD slots, WLAN-module slot,
battery screwed not clued. MME, TPM, camera/mic deactivatable via BIOS.
8 cores, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 2.5K display, with Ubuntu Linux for 1.3K euro,
optional Windows 10 Pro for +160.

Workstation:
I prefer local/regional system-builder, DeltaComputer from Hamburg/Germany has
decent CPU/GPU workstations in offer, but those from Bizon-Tech seem really
nice, maybe a bit pricier, but look solid to me:

https://bizon-tech.com/best-workstation-computers
https://www.deltacomputer.com/workstati ... ipper.html

Cloud:
I tried Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, but meahwhile you have to talk through
their sales department (with an kind of business plan) before you get access to
their GPUs, and mostly they offer only Nvidia server brands to rent, no AMD or
Intel.

There are several OpenStack cloud providers out there, local/regional providers,
to rent CPU servers hourly, I like Artfiles in Hamburg/Germany for example:

https://www.artfiles.de/cloud/af.stack-technik/

Budget laptop:
A 4 core CPU@~3GHz, 8GB RAM, 250GB PCIe-SSD and 1-2 TFLOPS iGPU shall be enough
for an entry-level business/office laptop IMO. You can spare ~100 bucks if you
waive on Windows OS and install Linux on your own. Found the budget HP 255 G8
for 300,- to 400, euro for example. If you consider an used laptop you should
look for AVX2 enabled CPUs for NNUE chess engines, as in Intel Haswell since 2013,
Skylake from 2015, or AMD Zen since 2017.

Budget PC:
I ususally prefer a custom-build over things from HP/Dell/Lenovo, they tend to
use non-standard parts for PSU, Mobo, case, but I recommend for example the
HP EliteDesk 800 G2 TWR as used budget machine. ~130,- euro w/o HDD on eBay.
4 cores Skylake@3.2GHz, 14nm with AVX2 and iGPU from 2015, 8GB DDR4 RAM,
sufficient to have some fun with chess engines IMHO. The PSU supplies only ~280
watts and has no PCIe connectors, hence not suitable to add a decent GPU for Lc0
and alike.

--
Srdja
Werewolf
Posts: 1848
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:24 pm

Re: Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by Werewolf »

smatovic wrote: Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:49 pm Just sharing my experience:

Cloud:
I tried Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, but meahwhile you have to talk through
their sales department (with an kind of business plan) before you get access to
their GPUs, and mostly they offer only Nvidia server brands to rent, no AMD or
Intel.

There are several OpenStack cloud providers out there, local/regional providers,
to rent CPU servers hourly, I like Artfiles in Hamburg/Germany for example:

https://www.artfiles.de/cloud/af.stack-technik/

--
Srdja
Amazon, Google and Microsoft were painful to deal with. I spent around a month of negotiation and was then hit with a massive quote.

Your one is more reasonable, though limited to 32 cores.
smatovic
Posts: 2797
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:18 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Full name: Srdja Matovic

Re: Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by smatovic »

I see the HP 800 G2 TWR is for sale on German eBay for 49,90 euro, I doubt it will get any cheaper:

https://www.ebay.de/sch/i.html?_nkw=HP+ ... R&_sacat=0

4-cores Skylake @3.2 GHz, 14nm with AVX2 from 2015, Core i5-6500, DDR4, SATAIII.

These items from merchants on eBay are usually abandoned ex-office machine from companies.

It won't run Windows 11, but a nice fit for a Linux box to tinker with computer chess, as a lil hint for a budget machine, for those in here, who still did not make the jump to AVX2 (think NNUE) capable hardware.

--
Srdja
Werewolf
Posts: 1848
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:24 pm

Re: Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by Werewolf »

On workstation, what's your opinion on Dell Precision?
smatovic
Posts: 2797
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:18 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Full name: Srdja Matovic

Re: Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by smatovic »

Werewolf wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 8:55 pm On workstation, what's your opinion on Dell Precision?
I would need to take a look into the service manual, the spare parts lists, and guarantee options of the specific model.

When I worked still at an internet provider in the data center, we he had to make a choice if we buy pre-built servers like from HP/Dell/Lenovo, from system-builders but with standard-parts, or to assemble our own boxes. We bought some boxes from different vendors and assembled our own, then somebody did the math according service-level-agreements and downtime, and we did choose a local system-builder and to keep an own supply of spare parts to minimize downtime and costs.

When Google started, it used cobbled together, off-the-shelf standard PC parts:

Building a Computer the Google Way
https://blog.codinghorror.com/building- ... oogle-way/

Finance, insurance, governments are another level and have different requirements.

Now with CPUs in the 5000,- dollars range for workstations and server, I doubt that I want to assemble these by myself, but to be able to upgrade and replace standard-parts like PSU, RAM, SSD on my own. To outsource some things to an system-builder, but to keep independence, so to speak.

--
Srdja
User avatar
towforce
Posts: 11751
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:57 am
Location: Birmingham UK

Re: Laptop, Workstation, Cloud, Budget - Recommendation

Post by towforce »

Werewolf wrote: Wed Jul 06, 2022 5:37 pm
smatovic wrote: Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:49 pm Just sharing my experience:

Cloud:
I tried Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, but meahwhile you have to talk through
their sales department (with an kind of business plan) before you get access to
their GPUs, and mostly they offer only Nvidia server brands to rent, no AMD or
Intel.

There are several OpenStack cloud providers out there, local/regional providers,
to rent CPU servers hourly, I like Artfiles in Hamburg/Germany for example:

https://www.artfiles.de/cloud/af.stack-technik/

--
Srdja
Amazon, Google and Microsoft were painful to deal with. I spent around a month of negotiation and was then hit with a massive quote.

Your one is more reasonable, though limited to 32 cores.

This is strange: I have no experience of buying cloud compute for a company, and I am 100% sure that you're both being honest: what's confusing is that Google Compute has a price list - link. So I think that if you're an individual, you wouldn't be negotiating - you'd be paying the price on the price list.

On to buying a computer: when you buy a car, mostly it's standard parts. You might think that your car is an expression of yourself (it isn't - but that's not a discussion for this forum!), and hence want an unusual model that most people don't have - but still the main parts (engine, gearbox, transmission, chassis etc) are likely to be standard parts used in a large different number of models. If you choose a poncey car, you'll overpay for these standard parts - but in today's world, we don't deny people that choice.

In contrast, though, not many of us invite people to our houses to look at our poncy computers with their rainbow coloured cases, so why not just buy a bog-standard machine (you could add the rainbow colours yourself at home!). You should regard your computer as a utility, not as a status/luxury item. So what you should do is:

1. decide what your computer is for

2. buy a bog-standard computer that meets that requirement

I suspect that what some gamers (and, no doubt, some computer chess enthusiasts!) do is the opposite, though:

1. see what the sexiest GPU on the market is

2. construct a use-case, which they didn't have before, which requires that GPU

I do understand, though. After all this time, I STILL find it astonishing that ordinary people carry such astonishing computing technology in their pockets and on their wrists!
The simple reveals itself after the complex has been exhausted.