How much processing power does it really take for a trading machine?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by chaosclarity, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. I see some of you guys building computers as if you are a top level engineer and need as much computing power as possible. Some of you opt for the highest speed lines money can buy...

    I remember back in the 90s I was trading with the 80486 and a dial-up line. That seemed to be enough.

    Why isnt a $500 box or laptop with something like an I3 processor and a few gigs of memory enough? Why do you need a supercomputer?
  2. Roark


    It is enough. It's what going on inside your head that is important.
  3. 377OHMS


    At work I have 12-core 64-bit MBs with 1.2 terrabytes local storage running 64-bit OS yada yada yada.

    I think for trading I could get by with a 32-bit machine running 32-bit OS. Maybe 4-cores and something on the order of 16 GBytes memory would be more than adequate. Spend your money on getting a dual-dsl router/firewall and lots of bandwidth. Maybe a backup machine with cellular broadband access for catastrophes.

    Really good uninterruptible power is very important. Spend money on a good UPS, several if necessary.

    You don't need 64-bit and you don't need 12-cores imho.

    Just keep in mind that 32-bit can only address into 4GB at any one time and usually 2GB is allocated to the OS and 2GB reserved for applications. Consider 64-bit if that is an issue.
  4. I don't understand that either. I am trading with a 15" laptop, it is 2 years old, with windows XP, and a second 23" monitor. That's it.
  5. Wilt


    Haha freewilly, me too, but my add-on monitor is a 19 inch. I will be getting a 3 monitor setup shortly, but I believe a the power put out by a decent computer these days is plenty.

  6. I agree. I think an i3 processor should be plenty. However, when I build, I am looking to have my machine for 5-10 years. Within that time who knows what may come, so I upgrade a little. I almost never go for top of the range as second best is not too far off and you can get it for half the price. This works from processors to GPUs to all the peripherals.
  7. Different people trade differently.

    Why do you project what works for you as what must be enough for others?
  8. Bob111


    exactly..its' all depends on what you do and how you do it. if you place one trade per month-then you don't even need the computer. just call your broker. if you do some sort of super fast scalping and it's fits you and that require a lot of data processing-then you probably need something faster than old Pentium 3. imo-it's pretty obvious..even to me :p
  9. IMHO a 32-bit OS is foolish today - for a desktop. RAM is so cheap and most onboard video cards have 1GB+ of onboard memory.

    We have had this discussion before... 32-bit OS can only address 3.2-4GB of RAM (depending on BIOS, etc.) and Add-In hardware RAM supersedes the memory in the DIMMs. This means if you have two modest video cards, each with 1GB of RAM then your system is limited to only 2GB of usable RAM (NO MATTER WHAT IT SAYS IN THE OS PROPERTIES).

    That said - you don't need 12 cores. IMHO, the most important thing is a decent amount of system RAM and CPU clock speed. Many trading platforms are still single-threaded so a simple dual or quad core is usually enough.

    It all depends on what else you have running - do you have massive excel spreadsheets pulling data and crunching numbers? How many charts, video cards, etc.
  10. Example...

    My rig runs:

    5 monitors.. NVS 295 video cards, passive, 210 Passmark
    15 live charts, but no tic charts
    200 symbols where data is collected live and archived
    about a dozen apps in the background and in the system tray

    This is on a Core 2 Quad core CPU, Win XP-32 bit, 2.8GB of RAM available after that which the video RAM takes up.

    Fairly typical for a trader, I think.

    Runs 5-10% CPU all day long. If I paid for more horsepower, it would just be wasted money.

    Your need for power could be higher if you're running several tic charts.. especially with custom indicators and calculations.

    Bottom line... for most traders, virtually any modern computer will be enough if you plan to run only 2 monitors. If you want to run more than 2 monitors, you need to select your motherboard accordingly.
    #10     Sep 14, 2011