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Hoping I can get some help with this question . . .
I'd like to buy a laptop for the sole purpose of running chessbase.
Can any of you recomend a good/fast/small laptop that will run chessbase without costing a ton of money? I don't know much about computers so any help would be very much appreciated.
What, do you want out of chessbase? This will help determine what characteristics are important in a laptop for you.
Great question, and to be honest, i'm not quite sure being that I've never really used a big database program before. But here are a few things I'd like to do:
1. I'm hoping to have a very user friendly way to import, store, and study all of my games based on opening while comparing them to master games played along similar lines.
2. I'd like to simply have access to the vast chessbase database so I can read through my chess books while using the computer to examine to the different variations and options. I'm not good enough to "imagine" the options/variations listed in many books at critical moments.
3. And I'm hoping to find more cool and interesting things to use the program for if and when I begin to get comfortable with it.
What software have you tried already? You say 'laptop', but the market is swinging away from laptops and towards 'netbooks' (so, I'm wondering if laptop buyers might shortly regret their choices and rather they'd have a netbook, if they did not need the brute force advantage(s) of a laptop).
Chessbase is pretty pricey imo. You can get quite a workout and tons of features from something archaic such as ChessMaster 10th Edn. (I paid $10 for it several years ago, I'd half expect to see it in cereal boxes at this point).
It has an excellent analysis tool that: (a) shows you how a computer would have responded to each move during a game (yeah, well, that's useful for Masters & Experts I suppose), but more usefully (b) shows in plain english why this or that move was poor going (eg. it remarks on which basic chess playing principles you neglected), and summarizes the game's overall player effort in terms of a 'percentage'.
eg. White played 100% and Black played 96% (based on following sound chess principles, and so, Black lost because several moves overlooked the basics, which are detailed when you read through the analysis). A strong A player / low Expert, should expect to play many games at or around the 100% level.
I'd hope Chessbase would do better, but I'm unfamiliar with it and suspect its strongpoints are mostly databases and openings, perhaps it includes a junior version of a strong chess engine like Fritz -- to get the most out of 'engines' you want a robust CPU. There's a completely free version, 'chessbase light' I recommend you try out if you've not already done so.
The problem that I have is that I don't have a pc based computer.
So I haven't been able to "try" out any of these programs . . .
No PC at all? Well, in the meantime I suggest you make the most of your Diamond membership here, especially the Chess Mentor training feature.
People are upgrading their PCs with some regularity (every 2-3 years for many of them). You might find a friend or relative who would loan you their outdated PC to play around with for a few months or indefinitely.
This would give you a sense of what owning a PC is like, and to try out free ChessBase Light, leading to a more informed perspective, before laying out the big bucks for the current ChessBase edition (& investing in a new laptop).
ps. Why a laptop? Pricier (imo), more prone to get stolen, often have battery issues, monitors & mice are often a compromise in quality, etc. (vs a desktop PC).
Why ChessBase? It's expensive (CB 11 starts around $150, has incredibly pricey game collections), and has purposefully built-in obsolescence and compability issues between editions and add-ons. http://www.chess.com/article/view/chessbase-11---rewiew
Look at netbooks. You want one with a lot of memory and a fast SSD. Those are your bottlenecks for chessbase.
What's an 'SSD'?
A solid state drive. Much faster access than a traditional harddrive.
Sounds expensive, considering 2.5 Terrabyte hard drives are around $150 (Cdn). Might be of use for really strong (GM+) players, I suppose.
Does all the memory disappear if the storage and memory batteries fail, or there's a power supply surge?
Go to the library and look up PCs - laptops - notebooks in Consumer Reports magazine. They rate PCs at least once annually as well as printers, monitors and security software. They don't accept advertising so they tend to be very objective and impartial.
Go online to www.pcworld.com and www.cnet.com for lots of other PC -notebook - laptop reviews and ratings. As far as computer hardware goes you'll have to educate yourself here, in order to figure out what brand/make/model best suits your need(s). I'd be very surprised if you don't end up doing lots more with any PC than just using it for ChessBase, which BTW is a great program - I'm using CB 9 which I picked up used for a good price. Look around for CB 9 or 10 used at amazon and eBay as well as at various chess sites.
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