Performance problem? Win7 monitors at Portrait orientation

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bolimomo, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Recently I experimented with setting up 24-inch 16:9 ratio monitors in a portrait orientation (instead of the default landscape orientation) to view my TradeStation charts. I observed something very strange happened.

    I have a box with an Intel i7-930 class of processor (pretty good computation power usually) and it drives only 3 monitors (1920x1080 resolution). I installed Windows 7 fresh on it. Then proceeded to rotating each monitor 90-degree (in Windows, adjust screen resolution, in Win7 there is an option to set up monitor as "Landscape" or "Portrait" orientation).

    Problem came after the portrait orientation was designated. Everything in Windows seemed much slower. Rebooting Windows took much longer.

    I proceeded to installing TradeStation 8.7 on the box. I used it to display some charts with indicators that I developed. These are the same indicators that I had been using with no problem for months and months. Just that this time the charts were plotted on monitors that are set up vertically.

    Next day the problem started to show. During market hours... the box was constantly at about 70% to 80% CPU busy - almost on all the 4 cores. TradeStation could not catch up with the chart update (about 5 to 10 minutes behind - those were 1-minute charts). Windows could not track my mouse movement: when I moved my mouse across the screen, it moved 2 inches, stopped (for about 5 to 10 seconds), then moved another 2 inches again, and so on. Tried to right-click on a TradeStation chart to format an indicator - the system did not respond AT ALL! Nothing. Obviously this was not a usable configuration.

    I decided to re-establish my base-line. On this box: yesterday re-installed Windows 7 (64-bt) fresh. Kept the monitor set at Landscape orientation. Re-installed TradeStation 8.7. Re-compiled all indicators from source codes (in the event of any corrupted TS files). Re-defined all the charts in a landscape screen space.

    Today was my test during live market conditions. As I expected/hoped, everything was back to normal. The TS charts were updating tick for tick without delay. Per Task Manager, the CPU was only about 5% to 10% busy most of the time throughout the day (yesterday it was 60%-80% busy throughout the day). The difference is night-and-day.

    I have a theory that Windows (Win7) is having issues with the portrait orientation. While the graphics work, there are extra computations (perhaps very inefficient) to support it. Every graphic entity (points, dots, lines, etc.) would need to be extra-mapped for the portrait orientation. And so with tracking the pointer. So the Windows kernel was busy most of the time.

    I don't know how realistic my problem theory is. But the performance issue I experienced is very real. Because of that, with regret and disappointment I need to stay with the landscape orientation for all my monitors.

    I am wondering if any of you are using "portrait" orientation on your monitors in Windows 7. Did you experience any performance problem (similar to what was described above) with your charts? I would imagine the issue is not specific to TradeStation charting but any kind of graphics application.
  2. Sounds like there are couple of other possibilities for the problem. Now that you have a fresh install... if you have another hard drive to clone onto you could reposition to portrait for a test.

    Could be the W7 video card driver doesn't like portrait mode or you might have had a corruption before when it was slow.
  3. I have a similar rig to yours - Win7 64bit i7 930. I've begun experimenting with portrait mode. So far I don't see any performance difference however font rendering looks to have a little poorer image quality.

    With my last rig (xp 32bit), when I experimented with portrait, there was a noticeable degrading of performance.

    My guess is the graphics card and probably more specifically the graphics card driver is the culprit to your portrait performance issues. Some vendors probably don't bother optimizing the performance of their cards/drivers for portrait mode.

  4. chisel


    My experience probably won't help, but I thought I'd mention it in case someone else has a similar problem. I run XP Pro on a home built machine with 4 nVidia NVS 290 dual monitor cards - 7 monitors total. 2 are in portrait mode and 1 is upside down. No problems at all with Ensign, TWS, Firefox, Thunderbird, and the usual suspects. CQG ran fine, except for the chat window. If I opened or moved a chat window to a non-landscape monitor, cpu went sky high and froze the chat window. Likewise with NinjaTrader 6.5. I don't usually use NT on that computer, but to do so, I have to have all NT windows/DOMs on 1 landscape monitor to keep it from freezing. The weird thing is, I normally use NT on another computer with XP and 2 NVS 290 cards, and 2 monitors are in portrait mode. I have no problems at all when NT fills up all 4 monitors.
  5. True. For proper "portrait mode display", the monitor, monitor driver, video card and video card driver must have been worked to provide it.

    Lots of folks seem to believe, "I can slap any hardware together and it will work as I expect." Not necessarily true.
  6. chisel


    I never thought about the monitor drivers. On the problem computer, all monitors are Samsung and they were a pain to install drivers on. The problem-free rig has no monitor drivers (2 Acer, 1 old Samsung and 1 old NEC). I never had to install monitor drivers until I bought the newer Samsungs.
  7. Thanks for the ideas Scataphagos, charlieThomas and chisel.

    After 2 days of testing in live market conditions, running TradeStation in landscape orientation is no problem. The CPU usage is under 10% for most of the day - which is more in line with my other computers with similar configuration. Today I added 2 more mons - a total of 5. Running TradeStation charts. No problem. CPU usage still under 10%.

    Definitely something was very wrong with the portrait orientation in my old config. I can't quite pin-point what it was. But it is a lot of work to trial-and-error to find out. I might just stay with all landscapes. Though portrait is enticing - more pleasing on the look... I probably need to forego it and not spend much time struggling.
  8. If you come up with something let us know.

    Its interesting some applications, based on some of the replys, are sensitive to portrait mode. You would think either all the apps would perform well or all the apps would perform poorly.

    I'm trying to think of a way to write an application that would have significantly different cpu performance in portrait vs landscape. Perhaps if the app used OpenGL or DirectX as the renderer, then perhaps the graphics card, which normally hardware accelerates/renders the graghics, can't handle the aspect ratio of portrait and therefore the app (actually Windows) reverts to software rendering which would use the main cpu instead of the graphics card's cpu (gpu). Just thinkin' out loud a little bit.