Power Trade Station For most traders, purchasing a Dell PC is a solid business decision. Dells are well designed, competitively priced, and come with multi-year warranties and same-day on-site support as an option. Having said that, this post is not intended for most traders. This post is for the minority of traders with the technology expertise to build a PC to better meet certain requirements. For such traders, the following configuration meets the stated requirements very well. If you decide to build a system to meet similar requirements, Iâd be happy to share my experience and interested to hear of any improvements you may have to suggest. Requirements: - High processing power - Very low noise - Reliable - Secure - Best-in-class components Core System: Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750, 2.66GHz, 1333MHz FSB, MPN: BX80557E6750 Motherboard: Asus P5W64 WS Professional 975X Chipset, MPN: P5W64WSPRO Video card: XFX nVidia GeForce 7600GS 256MB 2xDVI fanless PCIe x16, MPN: PV-T73P-UDJ3 Memory: Corsair 2GB(2 x 1GB) matched pair PC2-6400/DDR2-800, MPN: TWIN2X2048-6400C4 Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 7,200RPM SATA-300, MPN: WD5000AAKS Optical writer: Samsung DVDÂ±RW DL 20x 2MB SATA, Black, MPN: SH-S203N Power supply: Corsair HX520W, MPN: CMPSU-520HX Floppy drive: NEC 1.44MB 3.5in Internal, Black, MPN: FD1231H-302 Case fan: Nexus 120mm Real Silent, Black and White, MPN: D12SL-12 Case: Antec Solo quiet mini tower, black, MPN: 761345-18500-4 Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP-HC 24-inch 1920x1200 Black LCD, MPN: GM504 Keyboard: Logitech Media, MPN: 967560-0403 Mouse: Logitech MX400 Performance Laser, MPN: 931638-0403 Speakers: Dell AS501 Sound Bar, MPN: XH839 Thermal Material Remover: ArctiClean Surface Purifier, 2-PC-SET, MPN: ACN-60ML Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Premium, 3.5-gram tube, MPN: AS5-3.5G UPS: APC Back-UPS RS 1500VA/900W LCD 120V, MPN: BR1500LCD Surge suppressor: APC Performance SurgeArrest Tel and Coax Protection, MPN: PF11VT3 Patch cable: Belkin Category 6 UTP, 20 feet, Blue, MPN: A3L980-20-BLU-S Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, MPN: ZAT-00008-cd Productivity suite: Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student, MPN: 79G-00007 Anti-virus: ESET NOD32 Drive optimizer: PerfectDisk OS optimizer: Tune-up Utilities Cost: About $1,500 not including the monitor. The Dell 24â LCD is about $600. Enhanced system options: additional Dell monitors with XFX 2xDVI video cards Ergotron monitor stand Iomega REV removable disk backup APC Smart-UPS Scythe Ninja CPU cooling Juniper Networks NetScreen hardware firewall. Comments: The processor is several levels below the highest end at a price/performance sweet spot. For most applications, a Duo with higher clock speed will be higher performing than a Quad with lower clock speed. This is why the 2.40GHz Quad was not selected. Traders doing extreme real time analysis or back testing might consider a higher end processor -- Core 2 Quad Q6700 or any of the Intel âExtremeâ processors. The video card is fanless and therefore quiet. It has ample power for trading applications and future Vista requirements. A higher end MSI nVidia 8600GTS fanless video card is available, but it is rather thick, draws more power, throws off more heat, and would not benefit a trader. The memory is sized at 2GB. Upgrading to 4GB or more is an option to consider, but not needed by most. Using two memory sticks instead of four is slightly higher performing. The hard drive is fast, very quiet and reliable. A higher performing Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM 150GB hard drive is available, but it is rather loud. The monitor is 24â and could be upgraded to a Dell 30â LCD if the benefit exceeds the cost â about twice the cost. The keyboard and mouse are wired, which is more reliable for trading than wireless. The operating system could be upgraded to Vista 64-bit. However, itâs better to wait 24 months after a major operating system release for the bugs to get worked out in the real world by the public. Not all applications run well on Vista at this time. For example, Trading Technologies X_Trader wonât be available for Vista until the first quarter of 2008. Look to migrate to Vista around December 2008. If you decide to build your own system, hopefully this helps as a starting point to consider.