Are dual processor machines necessary ?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by spreadem, Apr 13, 2003.

  1. nitro


    I am scanning the market in realtime over many symbols for "special" events in equities (starting to in options as well.) That, along with eight monitors worth of realtime charts and news and chatroom, has my dual 2.4 Ghz machine at about 85% capacity for 6 1/2 solid hours.

    #11     Apr 13, 2003
  2. no doubt it's pegged @ 85% BECAUSE the dual procs don't give you much advantage over single proc machines with existing software. such is the ques asked in this thread.
    #12     Apr 13, 2003
  3. If you use Trader.NET, dual processor definitely helps.
    #13     Apr 13, 2003
  4. spreadem -

    Dual processors will deliver increased throughput IF you have at least two heavy CPU consuming processes running on your machine or you've got one heavy CPU consuming program that is multi-threaded and does some parallel processing. Otherwise, it's not going to do much for you running Word or Excel or primative database processing.

    However, contrary to someone's earlier post - most realtime datafeed/charting software is already multi-threaded and/or multi-process based.

    Examples - the Qcharts datafeed runs in its own thread of operation while any software that uses runs in one or more separate threads. I believe both eSignal and run data managers in processes separate from any program that uses their datafeed.

    In each of these cases, if your particular usage produces high CPU utilization, then dual processors would probably deliver a decent incremental performance boost. Of course, if you're memory, disk, or network bound instead or multi-threaded code uses poorly designed synchronization granularity, then you've got a different situation.

    Similarly, if you're doing database-oriented analysis/mining, SQL Server is internally multi-threaded but MS Access isn't. So assuming you have a large memory footprint that could be used to cache a significant portion of the database so that your database analysis was primarily CPU bound rather than disk bound and especially if your analysis software issued multiple simultaneous requests at a time, then you could see performance improvement from dual processors when using SQL Server but not if you used Access.

    Also, note that while commercial realtime datafeed/charting apps are multi-threaded and/or multi-processed and therefore could benefit from multi-processors, most commercial system optimization and backtesting software (or the optimization and backtesting functions within commercial charting apps) is single-threaded due to data and processing result dependencies and would realize little or no benefit from multiple processors.

    Of course, if you plan to write your own optimization/backtesting software and are skilled in multi-threading, you could benefit from multi-processors.

    However, unless you expect to be heavily CPU bound in your processing (and typical end-user applications are not), worrying about single vs. multiple processor configs is moot.
    #14     Apr 13, 2003
  5. You missed the point of dual processing. If nitro's machine was pegging one processor at 85% and the other processor was running at only 10% of so, then your assumption that his software wasn't taking advantage of the dual processor config would be correct.

    But if he's looking at the reported composite CPU utilization, then he's effectively running at 170% the utilization of a single processor and axiomatically IS benefiting from the dual processor config which would mean he'd need to upgrade to approximately a 4 GHz single processor machine to run his workload (assuming his particular workload performance doesn't also rely on the benefits of parallel memory transfer and dual processor caches in the dual config).
    #15     Apr 13, 2003
  6. I believe at Nitro's level one would need 2 Isp's to back each other up. Like DSL and cable for example. This would cause the purchase of 2 separate desktops, laptops separate the work load.

    Thats how my setup works...I must have backup and system design that supports each scenario...including power failures, CPU failures, ISP failures, Data feed failures, Platform Failures....ETC....

    2 ISPs is key to the operation.

    Michael B.
    #16     Apr 13, 2003
  7. nitro


    [ArchAngel, this is not directed at you, but whomever it is you quoted - they are on my ignore list apparently.]

    As I have stated before, there is ALWAYS at LEAST ONE ADDITIONAL program running on a computer - the Operating System.

    The myth that gets propogated by people that have never written a single line of code is just plain wrong. Even if your program is single threaded, the operating system is NOT SO NECESSARILY SO (which it isn't in my case running Win2K.) Windows2K will allocate the TCP/IP stack on it's own thread, making the acquisition of quotes and the execution of orders a few milliseconds faster (the TCP/IP stack is a pig.)

    This may not be of importance for most strategies, but for someone scalping or arbing, it can be the difference between a fill or no fill. This probably affects less than one percent of the traders that visit ET.

    Further, if you have more than one program running, even if those programs are not multithreaded, the Operating System scheduler makes the running of those way more efficiently than it would run on a single processor. This affects every single trader that visits ET.

    This question gets asked about once a month. I think I will wise up and save myself some typing and bookmark it for future use.

    #17     Apr 13, 2003
  8. nitro


    I have two DSL lines, but mostly for backup. The only thing I run on the backup is the spoos squawk.

    #18     Apr 13, 2003
  9. Well... Some great points have been brought out. I've just discovered the Processes panel in the Task Manager :eek: .The Processor Affinity setting controls which CPUs the process will be allowed to execute on.

    Any sugestions for Data feeds or high mem applicatons?
    #19     Apr 13, 2003
  10. The faster you can go, the more you can do ...
    #20     Apr 13, 2003