"It just isn't conceivable that you can design a program strong enough to beat players like me."

March 20, 2015

Low budget hardware comes help Rapidroid go faster

At last i've found what i've been looking for. Although octacore processors on 64 bit Android are  attractive for computer chess, every rose has its thorn and you must pay the price if you wanna carry a supersonic pocket chess monster... Again these awful technometrics! Well is it really worth the fire in the wallet?

Let's suppose one doesn't want to obey commercial equations of the market and still insists in grabbing more computing power, at least above average without paying more Typically, that's me.

If the idea is to boost Rapidroid for example, what i need is a decent processor with minimum 32K level-1 cache and 2GB RAM and nothing elde in fact. Anything other than the processor and the memory is irrelevant for chess. I needed a tablet without wireless connections, without huge HD IPS screen, no ultra-megapixel camera.

Unfortunately such custom stripped spec with a good cpu is a rare combination. I had to dig around many online stores before deciding to buy that Chinese tablet branded Codegen. It has a quad core Rockchip 3188 processor running at 1.4Ghz (and not 1.6 as seen on the ads!), 2GB RAM, 16GB storage.

No bluetooth, just wifi, a very bad TFT screen with 1024*600 resolution from mid age, plastic rubbish case, unstable tiny buttons... All for around 100 USD. I still think it's the best price/perfo selection for something supposed to do nothing but play chess continously. Besides, it comes with the standard micro USB charge instead of an ugly charger. So i can charge it with my external battery too.

Following the online purchase, i've got it rooted after a few tries, installed Chess for Android, Droidfish. Then, added my specific monitoring utilities and launched the first set of round robins already. As expected, Rockwell performs very similar to Exynos 4412 except for the frequency. It's sad Rockwell silently underclocked 3188 to 1.4GHz. However, it's very proportional anyways and  it runs as stable as its rival. KNps values show 14 to 16 ratios with almost all engines i've tested.

I've also played the same gauntlet of 20 games on 3188 and Exynos 4412. They issued almost identical results. It's fine as a new device for Rapidroid.

I'm glad it's still possible to pay less for more in this commercial era but let me repeat it's a personal preference. One can always choose to invest 10 times more and just double the nodes per second. Just a matter of taste.

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