Building a Trading Station - help hardware selection.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by NetTecture, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. As a little explanation:

    * In my current company most workstations are quite ancient. That is dual core, 4gb to 8gb memory. They are end of life now.
    * As we not only repalce them but also build up a trading floor, that is a larger purchase.
    * The goal is to have a stable hardware image that is both cost efficient as well as stable to use for a 5 year timeframe. No need to replace them before that.
    * Not part of this selectio is the hard disc - simply because there is no reason for those machiens to ahve local hard discs, we can and will boot them from SAN. A couple will have hard discs but for those we already have SSD (mostly: admin workstations that will also be there in case the SAN fails - which would mean 3 systems failing).

    * As silent as possible.
    * Self-Built, STRONG preference for Micro ATX.
    * Needs to be able to run 5 years, so that likely means more memory now than needed.
    * Needs to run 3 Screens minimum.
    * Needs to be reliable, which means for example ECC ram - I rather have a machine blue screen with a RAM error than have false data.

    On top, I also will need screens. We have plenty of Dell 2007 screens - nice 1600x1200, but they are no longer produced ;(

    My current idea is to go with a Xeon of the new Haswell line. Due to old experience staying away from integrated graphics (intel - ouch) and grabbing a AMD 8xxx card if they get available in time (timeframe for the order is end of September, but we can delay 2 weeks). I would go for the integrated graphcis if I could find a decent set of screens for daisy chaining them or someone can confirm that using something like,1.html works ;)

    Anyone an idea what motherboard to use?
  2. Why reinvent the wheel?

    Why not just buy workstations from Dell, HP, or Lenovo?
  3. Expensive, hard to maintain, ugly. Plus while you call that reinventing the wheel, I have a technician on site who actuall enyjos that.

    If you can point me to a workstation from Dell that fullfills my needs - gladly.

    Sadly: been there, nothing I like.
  4. Can't speak to "ugly", but I've used Dell Precision Workstations for years. High reliability, low maintenance, great tech support for the few times needed.

    I have T3500s... which have recently been replaced in their lineup with T3600 model... gets high marks from users.

    If you buy from Dell Outlet, same warranty as from retail site... always a better deal, sometimes terrific deals.

    A T3600 with E5-1620 CPU for $850-ish would be a good deal.... should last you 5 years, easy-peazy.

    HP usually has equivalent model to Dell workstation, but normally for about $400 more.
  5. jsengxx


    I have upgraded my pc dual core E7400 and put in a xeon x3360 quad core in it without having to buy all new stuff and it is great for trading. I have 2 hd4350 grafic cards with 4 monitors.
    I have overclocked this system too 3,4ghz and it is running rock stable.

    For trading no need for a super fast computer. You need a good internet connection!

    The blabla talk from the sellers that you need a super fast pc is bull shit. And if your platform only supports single core than you don´t need a trillion cores in your pc.

    My cpu is addling between 3% an 8% this with 3 charts open on every screen 4 markets.
    4GB is enough ram for trading. I only use +-45% of my ram.

    But if I had too buy a new system: DELL because it just do what it has too do.
  6. ofthomas


    booting off san for trading workstations? wow... hmmm... all I can think of is wasteful, gutsy, and introducing issues for no reasons for your traders... but I guess your trading floor most be small... considering you are looking at doing systems integration in-house...

    in any event, a workstation lifecycle is somewhat unrealistic at 5 years, though it can be done... 3 years is the window for refreshes normally... but it all depends on your software platform...

    to build an OS image that will be stable and easy to deploy, you need quality and common components... sure, integrating yourself can provide that, but using HP/DELL will also provide you with the same... not sure of the value add of in-house tech doing it, even if that is something he likes... his time is better spent on ensuring the single OS image can be deployed properly to all workstations without intervention... and in supporting the traders having issues..

    I dont get the comment of an ugly workstation, they are tools... they dont need to be pretty (i've never met someone seriously asking for a pretty workstation)

    in any event, I would suggest you write your requirements first... and start with the MDS connectivity to those workstations, the redundancy to them, the size of pipes and how much latency; then focus on the floor load and cooling (unless you will have the workstations on the racks inside the DC, at which point that is less concerns on the floor itself).... then determine your processing requirements based on your software requirements, present and future trend (assuming you have access to your platform roadmap of course)... that will yield for you how many cores, ram, disk, etc.. and then, depending on your OS and deployment infrastructure(bladelogic, etc.) plan an image, determine how you will roll out patches and how frequently, the testing methodology to sign off on those OS changes, etc.. and how you will integrate drivers for video, etc.

    anyhow, just my 2 cents... from actually building trading floors... oh, and lastly... the best monitors for any trading floor are NEC... they will be viewable from any angle... I presume that if you can afford to build a trading floor $$$ is not really an objection... (of course, I understand that everyone might have a different view of what a trading floor can be... one can say I have a trading floor on my basement given my setup... but I wouldnt even call it that...)

  7. vicirek


    Motherboard: Asus

    MicroAtx may have some cooling issues if you put 4 core plus 2 cards for 3-4 monitors. Bigger box is recommended.

    My experience with Dell is not so great. I would stay away from proprietary systems.

    ECC memory is not necessary. Stable system can be built with standard memory carefully matched to motherboard specs (as per motherboard manufacturer recommended and tested modules). All modules have to come from the same manufacturing batch.

    8GB is recommended for 64Bit systems but 4GB will do

    Current built in graphics modules coming with CPU are different than the ones shipped years ago. Now this GPU is powerful and sufficient for most applications. More monitors means additional GPU card or two (of average quality if not used for anything special).

    You need good power supply and stable electric power source.

    Intel I7 is more than adequate and I would not settle for anything else even if it would do the job. Go with Intel. AMD fell behind (I was long time AMD fan)
  8. RL8093


    They use IPS panel technology & not the cheap TN panels that are used in most consumer monitors. They are available in many other brands also - check out this guy for a list, as well as some recommendations & explanations of what's what.

    Once they've used an IPS panel, most people refuse to use TN.

  9. ofthomas


    that is a good list... I know there are others, I personally use a pair of ZR2740w's... best $$$ spent ever... but for trading with multiple monitors the best kind are 4:3 aspect ratio and there are few vendors still making those... like NEC ... :)

  10. Well,

    my requirements definitely arei n the range of keeping power consumption as low as possible - we are going to pack 12 people into a relatively small space and power is heat. One reason I like the haswells - their power profile is a lot power than anything before. The plan wis to keep the complkete set with 3 monitors below 250 watt - preferably would be 200, just not sure I can manage that. Add 100 watt for the person - the head adds up ;)

    The 5 year cycle - let me say it is VERY realistic if you go higher end at the moment, including a possible mid of life upgrade on the memory side. My development / IT / administration side just will get their dual core AMD processors replaced that where purchased a little more than 5 years ago, and seriously - they work quite ok. RAM is a little scarce. The only upgrades we did were partially adding graphics card vs. on board graphics (when screen count went up) and - upping the memory. Personally I am not sure i will need a new processor on a user interface level machine for a long time. Development - maybe. Servers sure (somehow some of them will always manage to kill every performance you make available) but unless you go into optimizations (for which I have separate machines, i.e. this wont happen on the workstation side)... no. I explicitly do not say "backtests" - experience show that more a bandidth (reading data) problem than processing ;)

    Regarding integration - not a lot needed. Seriously. If you look at the stuff today there is no driver install needed anyway, it all is from Intel once you go server / Pro boards. Except the graphics card. Have been building my own computers for many years and never had problems.

    FOr the moment I think of a sweet sport haswell E3.

    Regarding the SAN - not sure where you see that coming from. I just happen to have a 3 node SAN anyway, as the systems all boot similar images - well - the storage requirements on the SAN side are minimal. Bandiwdth is quite low either - we have a 1gbit network in place. Once the machines boot up there is not exactly a lot of bandwidth they need outside their regular patching and anti virus thingies. That said, I still consider just putting a 64gb or 128gb SSD in them. No way I go with Hard Discs anymore - too slow, too loud.

    NEC screens? Anything you fancy? I wish I could get 1600x1200 screens, but those days are over - so it is 1920x1200 ;( I heard good things about Samsung otherwise. Bear with me - the last like 8 years all my screens were from Dell, but they stopped making "my" model. Right now the Dell UltraSharp U2412M would be the only one on the list that fullfills my requirements, as it looks like. That said, the NEC MultiSync EA244WMi is only a little more expensive, uses a lot less power (in relative terms).

    Any particular recommendation?
    #10     Aug 6, 2013