Thursday, June 30, 2022 10:52

Now… What did I forget?


More specifically, I forgot to read that little paragraph in many ads and sites for software. The paragraph that starts, “System Requirements.” And this turns out to be a problem…

I mentioned yesterday that I had ordered Fritz 12 from USCF via Amazon. But while glancing at December’s “Chess Life” I looked at the Fritz 12 ad on the back cover. The system requirements paragraph there reads, “Pentium III 1GHz, 512 MB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), Direct X9 Graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows-Media Player 9 and Internet access for activation and updates.” And ChessBase’s site and elsewhere confirms this.

My problem: My aged laptop is 256 MB RAM. *Grr* *Facepalm.* And it’s the only machine I have left. This is the first time I’ve ever noticed a higher-than-256MB requirement in a playing program. Fritz 11 simply required 64 MB minimum.

Rybka, the leading competitor, has the same requirement for RAM.

So now I’m left with four choices, as best as I can figure. Four “candidate moves”:

                • Call my local computer shop and see if they can get RAM cards memory for this beast. I’ve already popped the memory access on the laptop and done some online research… This laptop can be upgraded to a total 1GB memory, or I could just replace the current main RAM from 256 to 512 MB. If I can get a compatible SODIMM. Expected cost: $40-$60, that I don’t have.
                • Call USCF Sales and leave a message to see if I can kill the Fritz 12 order. *Grr.* Subplan: See if I can obtain Fritz 11 through Amazon, or re-evaluate the current crop of playing programs and find an alternative.
                • Time to buy a new computer. But if I don’t have $60, then how can I finance a new computer? (Actually, I’m hoping that following taxes this year we might actually have a little surplus that could be applied…)
                • Accept the order, then see just how tight that 512MB requirement is… (And/or contact ChessBase to ask them.)

As if that wasn’t enough, the Sys Reqs also list needing 256 MB video RAM. My laptop is 32MB video RAM according to CNET’s specs.

But my main interest is not to buy a program to play with, but rather to have a better and improved engine for my analysis. (Come to that, if I can get the thing installed and running for analysis under ChessBase, I know I could install and use WinBoard as the control interface to play the engine itself. ;) ) Sidenote for future tools of the trade… One needs to ask what the end use of a playing program is. Yes, F12 looks very cool. But that’s not very helpful if you don’t care about how it looks.

The grand lesson to derive from this, dear reader, is to read the system requirements for a program before you actually click “Buy,” and make sure your system meets those requirements.

But, in one of those fun and interesting coincidences, my MP3 player just started playing the song “Only Solutions” by Journey. “Only Solutions… Don’t pull me down, I just want to hear Only Solutions. It won’t be long, it won’t take me too long…” Not to mention it’s the end credits music to the original movie Tron. Only Solutions… yeah!

UPDATE 1: Left a message for ChessBase technical support asking them if it was possible to get around the minimum sys reqs. Prepped messages to kill the order, if necessary. I decided to not call to see about memory price / availability (since the Video Memory kills the deal as well.) But I’ve also noted that Fritz 11 looks like it would run on my system. Hmm…..

UPDATE 2: I have been able to install the free Rybka 2.2 for analysis. (Rybka 3 is the current version.) Although I’m waiting to (hopefully!) hear back from ChessBase, I am now more inclined to cancel that order and work something else out.

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