Question about Spec of New PC

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by robbo, May 29, 2011.

  1. robbo


    I am looking to buy a new Dell Workstation. This PC will be used solely for trading. I will have Tradestation/Radarscreen running with 4 monitors. What spec machine should I look to buy,any feedback apprteciated as I dont want to invest my hard earnt $$$$ and find out the new machine is under spec'ed.
  2. Scat is our resident Dell expert. He's up on all the latest specs, deals, etc. He'll be along soon...
  3. LeeD


    In terms of price/performance, you should aim the second generation I7 processor, the budget variant is called 2600/2600K (the latter is unlocked for overclocking overclocking). Unless you are seriously pressed in teh budget department, there is really no reason to go for I5 versus I7.

    Remember to choose "gen 2" (otherwise called Sandy Bridge) though. The fastest of the 1st generation I7 may be 10% faster but they are 3-4 times as expensive.

    Make sure you have at least 8GB of RAM. If you go for less you get less performance for your $. It makes sense to go for 16GB... If you are upgrading RAM, 3rd party offers from the likes of Crucial will likely be much cheaper than Dell.

    Make sure you have 2 PCI-Express x16 slots. Haveng 2 graphics cards drinving 2 monitors each (such as nVidia nvs 290) is cheaper and and opffers better reliability than any card that supports 4 monitors in one.

    Regarding the rest of the spec, I am sure you knwo better how much hard drive space you need or whether you think paying extra for SSD is worth the it for minor performance boost.

    If you are prepared to pay substantial extra, consider getting a Xeon processor instead as these support ECC memory. A recent study published by Google (the owner of one of the largerst PC farms in the world) shows memory errors are much more common than the conventional wisdom dictates:
  4. I don't know that robbo needs a high power machine for his trading, but if a T3500 can't handle it, then you're looking at a dual-socket mobo... T5500/T7500.

    The ETer who knows a lot about high power setups is WinstonTJ.
  5. Dell Motherboards are Sata 2 which is only 3 gb/s. Speed will increase substantially with SATA 3 at 6 gb/s IF you run Intel 510 Solid State Discs.

    So if I was gonna buy a new trading box I would go with an Intel i7 970, overclock it to a little less than 4 ghz---(you can have a whitebox dealer do this for you) and then run an SSD, dual NVS 420 videocards, and 12 gb of ram. This will take care of you for the next 3 years. Until Dell releases a new dual cpu workstation motherboard with SATA 3 and USB 3.0 you will save money by going with an i7 motherboard.

    $2000 more or less depending on how savvy you are......

    Make sure you have adequate bandwidth otherwise all the artillery is useless.
  6. Yes, Dell's X58 mobos were early in the cycle and don't have SATA III. However, if it's important one can add a "USB 3.0 & SATA III", PCIEx4 card.

    For most trading, I/O rates aren't much of a practical issue as most of the work is done from RAM.
  7. Good to know. Is it important to have more than 6 cores?
  8. Only for certain applications... and they're few and far between. Unless you KNEW you'd get good use of 6-cores, I'd personally go for a 4-core of higher clock speed for around the same or lower price.

    Current Intel Xeon, i5-i7, and Sandy Bridge CPUs have "Turbo Boost".... if the machine is not using all of the available cores and CPU is not running at high temperature, Turbo Boost temporarily shuts down unused cores and boosts clock speed to the cores still active. So even if you have a 6-core, you'll likely be running on 2 cores most of the time... the other 4 cores being shut down until they're actually needed.
  9. So does it make sense to overclock a 4 core i7 to save money and increase efficiency? For instance i7 960's are cheap.
  10. Not really for a trading rig. The CPU will be near idle 99% of the time during a trading session... used mostly at boot. (CPU is used as apps are loaded into RAM, then CPU is used sparingly thereafter. Common exceptions to this fact are "custom" apps and tic charts. Tic charts can use a lot of CPU time, so I suggest using 1 minute charts instead if you can.) And then there are the heat and cooling noise issues when you overclock... And when we're talking Dell computers, overclocking is out. They don't allow it so that they don't have to spend time straightening out messes made by overclocking noobs.
    #10     May 31, 2011