NCM 20-core dual Xeon E5-2680 v2 Upgrade

NCM has undergone some big changes tonight. I’ll describe each in the sections below.

Hardware Upgrade

We’ve replaced our 8-core Xeon D-1540 servers with 20-core dual processor Xeon E5-2680 v2 servers.

Below is a comparison of the old vs new servers. The “passmark” is a benchmark of server performance. Higher numbers are better.

CPU CPU Cores Frequency Passmark
Intel Xeon D-1540 8 2.00 GHz 10,573
Dual Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 20 2.80 GHz 21,874

As the specs suggest, the new servers are measurably better at playing chess than the old ones. They also have more RAM (128GB, up from 32GB) which should offer more caching and better syzygy tablebase performance.

Stockfish 9 for Everybody

Now everybody can use Stockfish 9 on our single core VPSs (virtual private servers.) Just as before with GNU Chess, calculations are limited to 5 seconds on a single core.

Stockfish is only as strong as the hardware on which it’s run. Stockfish on a single core isn’t nearly as strong as Stockfish running on our 20-core servers. But Stockfish is a fantastic chess engine and we wanted to make it accessible to everybody.

App Updates Soon

Both the iPhone and Android apps have been updated and will be released tomorrow.

In the meantime, calculations on the app for paid subscribers will be utilizing all 20 cores of the new servers even though apps prior to version 2.4.0 (iPhone) or 1.3.0 (Android) still refer to the old 8-core D-1540s.