Novag Aquamarine RISC II 26.6 MHz

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Novag Aquamarine RISC II 26.6 MHz
Hersteller Novag Jahr: 1998
Elo 2044 Preis
Programmierer Dave Kittinger BT-2450 -
Prozessor H8/325 (HD6433258) und H8/3214 (HD6433214) BT-2630 1958 / 1972
Prozessortyp 8 Bit, Singlechip Colditz -
Takt 13,3 MHz (Quarz 26,6 MHz)

"Siglo XXI" Version = 16 MHz (Quarz 16 MHz)

Rechentiefe 16 Halbzüge
RAM 1 KB Display 2x 4-stellige 7-Segmentanzeige
ROM 32 KB Zugeingabe Drucksensoren
Bibliothek 13.000 Halbzüge Zugausgabe 16 Rand-LEDs
Spielstufen 56
Maße 23,5 x 28,5 x 2 cm
Stromversorgung   Netz = 9V/0,3A DC (Plus außen!) / Batterie = 4 x AAA
Verwandt Novag Zircon II, Novag Jade II, Chess Wizard IQ V
Sonstiges
wurde ausschließlich in Spanien verkauft

Ar2266.jpg
Ar2.jpg

Infos
Novag Aquamarine RISC II 26.6MHz
"Siglo XXI" Edition

Introduced by Novag in 1998, this chess computer was apparently distributed only in Spain.

It has a program very similar to the built in previous Novag chess computers, but with a simpler plastic housing. What is most striking about this model is the ostentation of the "supposed" processor speed (26.6 MHz), being indicated in large letters on the box, and even printed on the chess computer case.

For Novag "MHz" possibly was just a marketing strategy: the more the better. In fact, for a long time, Novag printed in the boxes and manuals the frequency of the quartz crystal, instead of the actual system clock signal. So far nothing new. What is surprising with this chess computer, is that was also sold a version with the added "Siglo XXI" (XXI Century), printed on the computer itself, which plays better than the original version (it performs calculations 20% faster). And it's funny that "Siglo XXI" version has a 16 MHz crystal, instead of the original at 26.6 MHz (despite the fact that everywhere 26.6 MHz is indicated)

Review

Some of these computers, internally examined, reported the following data:

Version Chip H8 Family Quartz Crystal VCC
Original HD6433258B84F H8/325 26.6 MHz 5 V
Siglo XXI HD6433214A06F H8/3214 16 MHz 5 V


Data reported by Hitachi for that microcontroller family:

H8 Family ROM RAM Recomm. Max. Clock at 5V
H8/325 32 KB 1 KB 10 MHz
H8/3214 32 KB 1 KB 16 MHz


Block Diagram of Clock Signal Generator for this two microcontrollers:

H8/325
H8/3214

Clock signal in H8/325 is divided by 2 automatically, regardless of Prescaler. Therefore, in computers equipped with this microcontroller, the system clock frequency (Ø) is 1/2 of the frequency of the quartz oscillator. With H8/3214 division by 2 is optional (selected by software). Therefore, the system clock signal (Ø) may be equivalent to the quartz crystal, or 1/2.


Whereof we can obtain this table:

Version H8 Family Quartz Crystal Divider System Clock (Ø)
Original H8/325 26.6 MHz /2 13.3 MHz
Siglo XXI H8/3214 16 MHz /1 16 MHz

Overclocking? In the "original" Aquamarine maximum clock frequency recommended by manufacturer is exceeded, but this is possible. The manufacturer (Hitachi) sets 10 MHz as the maximum (recommended) frequency because they certifies that, under these conditions, 100% of the manufactured chips will work fine in a wide range of ambient temperatures. But it's possible that integrator (Novag in this case) decide to select those chips that work correctly even exceeding the recommended clock frequency by a certain percentage. The increase in the "original" Aquamarine is 33%

In any case, these values are confirmed when performing various comparative test between the two computers.


Testing

When the same problems are proposed on both computers, logging the time required for each problem, it's confirmed that "Siglo XXI" always solve approximately 20.3% faster.

Illustrative Example:

After performing Reset (ACL) on both computers, we select G5 Level (Mate in 5)

The next position is established, and solving time is counted:

White plays: mate in 5


Computer Solving Time
Aquamarine RISC II 26.6MHz 15min 12sec
Aquamarine RISC II 26.6MHz "Siglo XXI" 12min 37sec

"Siglo XXI" 20.4% faster

In Blitz and Mate Search levels the same result is always obtained: Aquamarine "Siglo XXI" performs calculations about 20.3% faster. But this advantage is not noticeable in long games (with more than 3 minutes per move, for example) because both seem to have the same program, and eventually both make the same decisions with exactly the same valuation per move.


To-Do

It has been reported about a "normal" Aquamarine RISC II (without "Siglo XXI" printed) with an Hitachi H8/3214, but the quartz crystal incorporated is unknown. Is it possible the existence of Aquamarine RISC II (non "Siglo XXI") operating at 16 MHz?


Pictures

by Gerardo M. - Los Proyectos de Berger / Website

AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6MHz
AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6MHz "Siglo XXI"
AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6MHz
AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6MHz "Siglo XXI"


Inside the Chess Computer

by Gerardo M. - Los Proyectos de Berger / Website


NOVAG AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6 MHz


NOVAG AQUAMARINE RISC II 26.6 MHz "Siglo XXI"


Weblinks