Dell Precision T3400 or T5400?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by icarus618, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. I'm seeking input from the hardware buffs here regarding the T3400 versus the T5400 as a replacement for my primary trading box which has served me flawlessly for 7+ years. Recently my CPU has hit 100% usage a few times during the trading day, slowing things down noticeably. Price is no object but I would like to make an efficient purchase.

    I've read the threads recommending the T3400 and was ready to purchase it but the Dell sales rep made me think about moving up to one of the higher Precision lines, the T5400 with the Xeon chip. I have no idea what the differences in chips are.

    I trade only stock index futures with my primary account at IB and a backup account at PFG; I usually have both TWS and Best Direct execution platforms running. I use Ensign for about 10 charts with datafeed from IB and e-signal as backup; only one feed is running at one time. I also run Outlook Express and have a couple of Internet Explorers open during the day.

    My current trading box is a Pentium III (not positive though) using Windows 2000, 1 GB RAM, and I have 4 monitors hooked up using the Appian Jeronimo Pro quad video card. The monitors are Samsung SyncMaster1200NF's (CRTs) which I do not want to replace. I'm not sure if I can use my current quad video card in a newer computer. I have in mind getting the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 440 from another vendor but need to know if I can hook up my CRTs to this card.

    I have some questions:

    Do I get anything out of upgrading to a T5400 in terms of the Xeon chip?

    Can I run my CRT's on 2 NVS 290 cards (Dell's quad configuration for the T5400)?

    How much RAM is optimal for Windows XP?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. I don't know about the T5400 Xeon CPU and the mobo... it's different from the T3400, so you want to verify that whichever you get has proper PCIEx and PCI slots for whatever you want to run. However, I can't imagine a common or routine trading task the T3400 couldn't handle.

    Yes, you can run your CRTs on the 290 NVS cards... 2 of those are less costly than a 440 quad.

    Optimal for WinXP 32-bit is probably 2G RAM. Regardless of how much you install, XP will only use about 3G, maximum.
  3. Aurum


    Most Quad core's have more L2 cache and a faster front side bus (FSB). Bigger is better here. The fact that it has 4 cores versus 2 (or 1) doesn't mean much currently, because most software isn't optimized to take advantage of the extra cores. That will change eventually.

    Windows XP and Vista32 are limited to recognizing 4GB of RAM. They will both use less than that, as gnome commented on. Vista64 will make use of more than 4GB, but you might have problems with your trading and brokerage software running correctly on it.

    Your current monitors should work fine with any video cards. The rub will be getting a video card configuration which lets you use all 4 as one desktop. From what I've heard, nVidia cards in SLI mode only let you use 2 monitors at a time - but don't quote me on that.

    Is there a particular reason why you want to keep the CRT's? Flatpanel's have improved a lot over the past 5 years, have a smaller heat and power footprint, and (my favorite) weigh nothing compared to the same sized CRT.


    edit: I wanted to point out - by using your CRT's you will most likely need to get adapter's for the video card connectors. The newer cards primarily use DVI instead of VGA connectors.
  4. Tests have shown that > 4MB or 6MB of L2 is not used, so having 12MB doesn't do anything.

    "Extended Desktop" is a Windows function (since W98). It's easy to set up for 2-8 monitors...
  5. Aurum


    IIRC quad cores have 2 pairs of 2 cores sharing 6mb. If most software doesn't take advantage of the second pair, which I pointed out, then it would appear to not "do anything."

    I haven't seen any reviews which substantiate your comment - and Tom's Hardware articles would apparently contradict your statement. Do you have a link or two which backs up what you are saying?

    Re the extended desktop - I wasn't talking about what windows could or couldn't do. I was referring to the configuration of the graphics cards. My comment had SLI primarily in mind, as most businesses would be pushing that as a feature, and I am uncertain that you can hook up 4 monitors to 2 cards with SLI enabled.

  6. I don't have a link, but I remember reading a comparo from some site like Tom's.. and they concluded that the larger amounts of L2 did not improve performance.

    For trading and multi-monitor, SLI isn't really a consideration for most. SLI, as you know, is a gaming concept.... not necessary nor beneficial to trading.

    Businesses would "push" SLI to a trading computer customer only if the business understood that the customer was not knowledgeable about computers.
  7. I can confirm that observation with my own observation. I am on 64-bit Vista with one box and I have the quad the other poster referred to, and the trading software simply is not designed to take advantage of it... yet. You have to wait for the brokers to catch up before those specs will do you any good.

    I have both 32 and 64 Vista boxes, (not used for daily trading... for that I use a laptop, really) and compare them alot on various apps. Let's just say that I bought with the future in mind...
  8. Tums


    hey... it is a marketing thing.
    there are always people who's got extra money.
    Anything above utility is extraction.
  9. Tom's did an article... something about "extending the life of your RAM" ... and it showed there was virtually no difference in real-life application between DDR-266 and DDR2-667....

    Bet most people don't understand (nor believe) that!
  10. Thanks to everyone, especially gnome, for the helpful comments. I decided on the T5400 when the Dell rep knocked the difference down a bit. Unfortunately I didn't ask about the CRT adapters for the video cards. Also I'm not sure if this machine is equipped with a sound card. Obviously it would help me to spend a little more time thinking about the hardware part of trading.

    I'm running CRT's still and want to continue with them because they're already setup and they've worked out fine for me so far. I guess the same can be said for the brokers I use. It's probably laziness on my part.

    In any case, I'll probably upgrade my monitors when I have some time to research flat panels. I have in mind running 3 or 4 30 inch displays side by side so if anyone has input regarding video cards, display brands, etc., I would appreciate that.

    Thanks again for your replies.

    Item Number Quantity Item Description

    1 Dell Precision T5400 Mini-Tower, Quad Core Xeon Proc E5410, 2.33GHz, 2X6MB L2 Cache,1333MHz
    1 2GB, DDR2 ECC SDRAM Memory 667MHz, 4X512MB,Dell PrecisionT5400
    1 Entry Level, USB, No Hot Keys keyboards, Dell PrecisionWorkstations
    1 Monitor Option-None
    1 Dual nVidia,NVS 290, 256MB dual DVI, Graphics Card, Dell Precision T3400
    1 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s, 7200RPM HardDrive with 8MB DataBurst Cache, Dell Precision T7400/5400
    1 C1 All SATA Hard Drives Non- RAID for 1 Hard Drive Dell Precision T5400
    1 No Floppy Drive, Dell Precision 490
    1 Windows XP PRO SP3 with Windows Vista Business LicenseEnglish,Dell Precision
    1 Dell USB 2-Button Entry Mouse with Scroll for Dell Precision
    1 Mini-Tower Chassis Configuration, Dell Precision T3400
    1 16X DVD+/-RW, Data Only, Dell Precision T3400
    1 Roxio Creator Dell Edition,9.0Dell Precision
    1 Cyberlink Power DVD 8.0,with Media,Dell Precision
    1 No Speaker option
    1 Resource DVD contains Diagnostics and Drivers for Dell Precision T5400
    1 ProSupport for End Users: 7x24 Technical Support and assistance for end-users, Initial
    1 ProSupport for End Users: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response Initial Year
    1 Dell Hardware Warranty Plus Onsite Service Extended Year(s)
    1 Thank you choosing Dell ProSupport. For tech support, visit or call 1-866-516-3115
    1 ProSupport for End Users: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response 2 Year Extended
    1 ProSupport for End Users: 7x24 Technical Support and assistance for end-users, 2 Year Extended
    1 Dell Hardware Warranty Plus Onsite Service Initial Year
    1 Standard On-Site Installation Declined
    310-9161 1 Vista Premium Downgrade Relationship Desktop
    463-0742 1 Special Pricing Applied
    310-8977 1 Info SKU-Software and Peripherals products and solutions catalog included in system boxes
    * -DISCOUNT $390.00

    A0973336 1 APC Back-UPS RS 1500 LCD - UPS - 865 Watt - 1500 VA 120 V UPS System $194.40

    Subtotal: $1,857.40
    Shipping & Handling: $0.00
    Tax: $120.89
    Environmental Disposal Fee: $0.00

    Total Price w/Discounts: $1,978.29
    #10     Oct 22, 2008