Fat Fritz: what videocard to buy

by Albert Silver
11/14/2019 – With the release of Fritz 17 with Fat Fritz, you may be strongly motivated to upgrade your computer to enjoy the best experience, or actually upgrade your entire machine if you feel it is time. In this first guide you will be shown the simplest upgrade possible: just adding a fast GPU to your computer. All the major cards as as well current prices and what performance to expect.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package ChessBase 17 - Mega package

ChessBase is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.


Important note: Before starting, I’d like to just point out that while I own a machine with the highest specs one could want, I run Fat Fritz regularly on my 3-year-old laptop which can run it only at 2000 NPS (bottom of the performance list below). It does not bother me one bit, and I get very useful and enjoyable analysis. While the guide is designed to help those seeking an upgrade, you should not think that all upgrades are required just to derive any benefit or enjoyment from Fat Fritz.

Even on a modest laptop at 2000+ nodes per second, Fat Fritz is quite enjoyable. True to its style, it doesn't need big guns to know it wants a Marshall Gambit here.

Technology never stops evolving and keeping up with all the changes in the market can be more than a little daunting. It is for this reason many people find the ready-made machines by companies such as Dell or others so attractive, but the truth is the budget-conscious can almost always do a lot better with smartly selected parts.

Upgrading for Fat Fritz (or Leela)

The good news if all you really want now is to enable your system for a good or great experience with Fat Fritz (or Leela) is that in most cases all you need to do is upgrade or install a good Nvidia graphics card. This explicit choice of Nvidia is not really optional unfortunately since it is the special codebase known as CUDA, exclusive to it, that gets such extraordinary performance for the neural networks. AMD may no doubt catch up in this area in the future, but as of now Nvidia is the hands down choice.

You won’t actually need a whole new system, and even a fairly modest computer won’t need more. Remember the powerful machine set up for Fat Fritz on the Cloud? Well the truth is that the core of the machine is a very modest quad-core processor, four years old. But it also has two powerful graphics cards, which are the heavy lifters here.

In other words, even if you think your computer is nothing special, if you just add a good video card you will be running Fat Fritz and Leela as fast as the best. No need to point out that a fancy graphics card also offers many other attractive options beyond just running them.

An example of additional perks from a good GPU

Here is a rough breakdown of the various graphics cards, the NPS performance (nodes per second) you can expect from them, as well as the current prices cited in the US as of this writing by the online electronics store NewEgg (for reference):

Graphics card Nodes per second Price US$
RTX2080 Super
RTX2070 Super
RTX2060 Super
GTX1660 Super

As you can see, there is a massive leap in performance when you buy one of the new RTX generation cards, and in terms of price performance it just makes the most sense. At the top, the 2080ti really is the king of the single card performance, but if you are considering buying just one, then consider also an alternative plan to instead buy two 2070 Supers, or two 2080s. You'll get superior performance for the same price, though there are other considerations, which will be considered in the next guide on complete new systems.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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