New Computer, Vista, 64 bit, video cards

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by davez, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. davez


    It gotta get a new trading computer, and have always bought from Dell, so I am now considering the Dell Studio XPS 435 (i7-920 CPU with 6MB tri-channel DDR3 memory). I have stuck with XP until now, but figure it is time to (reluctantly) move to Vista Premium, 64 bit (with the Windows 7 upgrade included). For some silly Dell reason, only ATI Radeon cards are available with this.

    My questions are about multi-monitor video cards. I want to run six monitors and since trading graphics are relatively simple 2D applications, I don't think I need high priced video cards. Right now I am running three (dual output) nVidia NVS 285 video cards in PCIe-x16, x8 and x1 slots with 256, 128 and 128 MB of memory respectively. Would these same cards work fine in the new computer or would Vista and/or 64 bit create potential problems? Apparently the i7 processor means a Front Side Bus is no longer needed(?) - would that affect video cards?

    I've got an old Matrox G200MMS quad PCI card (and could get a Matrox dual PCIe card). Would this or even PCI versions of the above nVidia cards be good enough? I know these are low-end cards these days, but I keep hearing that though CPU and data management loads have increased over the years, the graphics requirements for trading are still very simple. Am I going too simple (cheap) with the above cards - would they be a performance bottleneck, or create hardware problems?

    I've always been an nVidia or Matrox card user, never ATI before. Since an ATI (dual output) card is the only choice with the above computer, for compatability I did a quick search and found both PCIe-x1 and PCI versions of the ATI FireMV 2400 quad card. Any experiences with these cards (good or bad)?

    Any comments much appreciated, and have a happy and safe 4th of July!

  2. I think you'd be taking a chance going to Vista and trying to run 6 monitors.. especially with ATI video cards.

    Suggest considering one from the Precision Line.

    T3400 on XP will run your 6 monitors on your existing NVS cards. (You might have to get a 2nd 285x16, though. I know for sure you can run 2, x16s + 1, x1 = 6 monitors, but not sure about 1, x16 + 2, x1s.)

    The Precision line has CPU choices from C2D, E7300 all the way up to dual processor, quad core Xeons.
  3. bit off topic but: i'm surprised so many people buy from Dell rather than a local builder
    i'm happy with who i've bought from, latest is Vancouver
    Canada, great price, 1yr parts 2yr labour guarantee, will build to requirements as will
    all local builders

    interested to know what trading sw you're using that takes advantage of multicore,
    64bit and tri-channel DDR3 memory -

    also i'd go straight to a Win 7 install, Vista from what i've read is a failed os and W7
    appears to be very good; and with the speed setup you're planning i'd ensure i had
    the largest hard drive buffer amount i could get to handle the data/processing flow
    regardless that you'd probably have an overcapcity of storage
  4. montysky


    I'm in the process of building an i7 rig also (picked up the i7 cpu from Microcenter for $200!). Ordered everything just waiting for some parts to show up at the door.

    Your old video cards should work fine in the i7 system, either by themselves or with the ATI card. You can just tell Dell to skip the video card and save yourself a few bucks.

    PCI video cards are good enough for trading apps in my opinion. You won't notice the difference if you are not moving the windows around the screen. When you do, you'll see the slow repainting of the window on screen driven by the PCI card verses the one driven by PCIe 16. Even less noticeable between PCI and PCIe 1x. I'm sure your Matrox quad PCI would work too, if there's driver for it. With the 3 old PCIe cards you have, you can have a total of 10 monitors! Now, how many eyes you have? :)

    As for whether ATI and Nvidia cards would work together on the same machine, why not? They should, if there's no conflicts between the drivers. I was using a dual core Dell Vostro with Nvidia PCIe and ATI on PCI, 4 screens, not a single problem at all.
  5. davez


    Thanks for the reply.
    Vista and 6 monitors might be more of a problem (than with XP) because of potential hardware conflicts between Vista and multiple video cards? I've never used ATI cards but after a quick look it seemed multi-monitor was not a focus for them.

    I 'built' a quick T3400 on Dell's site and it was looking a few hundred $ more with less apparent computing power. But if its dependable, that's worth something. I have to look at that again more closely.
    Thanks again
  6. davez


    If I knew a local builder I'd consider that, but I would be tech challenged to know how much better a local builders components were than Dell's (who I know do not use best quality parts). But its gotta be in Dells interest to use reasonably decent parts. Dell's service has usually been good.

    I use eSignal (are you laughing?). I know its been over five years since multi-thread processors have been out and eSignal has not yet released a multi-thread version of their software. Very sad really. So I'm almost certainly overbuying computing power for today, but surprisingly the i7 CPU and tri-channel DDR3 memory in the Dell XPS435 is cheaper than a Dell XPS630 with Q9400 and DDR2 memory (6GB in both cases).

    If I can go straight to the Windows 7 install I'll consider that. And thanks for the tip on hard drive buffer.

  7. davez


    Dell does not have the ability to skip the ATI card - I'd be happy with no card from Dell. I've begged for them to put in one of the many dual DVI nVidia cards they supply in similar computers but nope, their system does not allow it. Maybe if I commit to buy on that condition some mgr can over-rule 'the system'.

    If not, I could try ATI and nVidia together, but I've seen so many problems in this forum from mixed video card driver conflicts. But it sounds like it has worked for you so worth a try.

    What power supply have you ordered I'm curious? My current 375 Watt supply seems to be handling the three nVidia cards ok right now. The Dell XPS-435 has a 475W supply.

    I'm getting the impression that if the graphics card fits in the slot, it should work. I'll call nVidia (PNY) next week and see if they've found problems with these 'older' cards in newer computers.

    Thanks for the rpely
  8. The T3400 was "a few hundred more"... than what?

    Check Dell's Outlet for a T3400. Same warranty as new.

    Want a powerful rig for cheap? Get the cheapest T3400, then upgrade the CPU yourself... from Newegg or other source.
  9. new$


  10. montysky


    A few years ago when I purchased a system from Dell, I spoke to a rep, and was able to customize somewhat, like removing the modem, changing the speakers, get a 10% corporate discount, etc. Be fore-warn though, if you order over the phone, they most likely won't honor any internet discounts. Given that the included ATI card is the low-end 4350, the most they would knock off is $20. So it might not worth the effort.

    I ordered the OCZ600MXSP, 600W, enough for my needs, not going to SLI anytime soon. Yours should be ok even with 3 video cards, as they are not power-hungary highend cards, and you're unlikely to overclock I presume.

    Not only PCIe cards run fine in PCIe 2.0 slots, from what I've read (never tried it myself), x16 cards will run in x1 slots too. Of course, the x1 slot has to have an open end for the x16 card to fit in.
    #10     Jul 5, 2009