I would very much appreciate receiving AMBER users' opinions on the best way to set the dielectric multiplicative constant (DIELC) when running simulations explicitly in water and using eedmeth=5 (IDIEL=1 for earlier versions and sander_classic) and periodic boundary conditions. Assuming that the dielectric constant of water is 80, how does one set up the simulation for this?
I find the dielectric in molecular simulations a rather interesting object as well. The general concensus is that if you've including water explicitly then you should be using a dielectric of 1 since the explicit water will produce the required dielectric of 80 on its own accord. If you are not including explicit water then using a straight dielectric of 80 ( ie, not distance dependent ) seems to be invalid for three reasons.
On the distance dielectric model, for a particular protein BPTI, Guenot and Kollman showed in this paper,
J. Comp. Chem, 14(3),295--311 (1993)
that the distance dielectric model with a finite cutoff provided a closer average conformation to the explicit water model with an infinite cut-off than did any of the explicit water models with finite cut-offs. So the distance dielectric model gets a vote of confidence.