RAM vs Processor vs # of Cores ... what matters most for a trading rig?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by d0rian, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. d0rian


    Buying a new dedicated trading rig, and trying to make sure I splurge for the "right", most worthwhile upgrades. I plan on using this as a dedicated trading computer: I run IB TWS software (+occasionally others), Excel with a streaming-data API, and sometimes misc charting software. FWIW my Excel workbook is very resource-intensive: a 20MB file and streams 500+ real-time symbols via API, and runs a bunch of real-time calculations.

    I've done some reading about RAM, processor, and # of cores, but still not entirely sure which I should prioritize for my purposes. I've typically been filtering minimums of:
    • 64GB RAM
    • i7-10xxxx processor
    • 6+ cores (I know the least about this variable, other than more seems better)
    1. Those min specs (+4K display) however will usually limit me to $3K+ gaming laptops so I want to know whether, given my trading uses, some of those specs are just overkill.
    2. I also don't know how to 'trade-off' those specs against each other. For example, my old machine was:
      • Intel i7-8750H (6 cores), 32GB, NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 8G Max-Q, 144Hz 3ms.
      • So is that better or worse than: Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 64GB RAM, 512GB m.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD, MX450 (i.e. higher processor #, twice the RAM, but only 4 vs 6 "cores"?
    3. Should I care at all about processor performance in clocking tests? The 2nd set of specs in #2 above comes from the HP Envy 17t-cg...but I've been reading that despite the claimed raw specs, their performance for whatever reason has been quite bad when tested.
    4. I've basically been ignoring any graphics card specs, figuring those are moot for a trading / non-gaming machine. Is that right or might there be some advantage to a good graphics card?
  2. jys78


    [QUOTE="what matters most"/QUOTE]

    The intellect, judgment, temperatment, experience, etc. of the operator.
  3. ZBZB


    Dell 5820 workstation from the refurb store or eBay. 1620 processor. Scat will be along to tell you more.
    Apologetik likes this.
  4. d0rian


    Appreciate the replies thus far, but hoping someone's willing to delve into the technical ins-and-outs of spec Q's in my OP; not necessarily looking for specific rig rec's (moreover that Dell is a tower; I should make clear that I'm specifically in market for a laptop w/ 4K display.)
  5. fan27


    As far as number of cores, it is totally dependent on the applications you will be running. If the applications do not take advantage of multi-core processing, the extra cores will be of little value.
    d08 likes this.
  6. d08


    For your preference the ideal system would be Ryzen 5 series. Even 5600x is great with 6 cores / 12 threads, 5900x if you can get it (12 cores). Intel doesn't have anyone performing as well at a similar price point.

    You do not need a gaming/mining GPU like the RTX 2080. Anything lower will do. Even an old card like the GTX 960 will do fine and will be massively underutilized for basic 3D rendering in your OS. Not sure if that's available now, so might as well just get the GTX 1650.

    Memory, the more the merrier but in your case even 64GB is plentiful. You will do fine with 32GB.
  7. On your old rig were you running that same load... "500+ real-time symbols plus calculations"? Was that machine able to handle it satisfactorily.. how much of your 32GB RAM was in use when you were "fully loaded"?
  8. d0rian


    Is there an easy way to tell which applications can take advantage of multi-core processing? (For my purposes it's Excel -- either 2007 or 2010 -- and IB's TWS...is there a resource that I can reference to tell if an app can leverage multi-core?)

    You discuss the graphics card, leading me to believe that...that is a consideration, even for a non-gaming / trading rig (really only brokerage and charting apps + Excel running)? Is that because...(and I'm just speculating here), even though you don't need high-level gaming graphics, you still want the best / most efficient driver of either your laptop's 4K or external 4K display(s) such that the rest of your processing power can be put towards the apps you have running?
  9. d0rian


    I'm replacing my old laptop because I made a really stupid decision to splurge on everything EXCEPT a 4K display, which it turns out is one of the most important considerations for me now that I'm traveling a lot. (At the time, I figured it would be mostly running 2 x 4K external monitors; but now I travel more. So I've got an Intel NUC for my home setup w/ monitors and want a 4K laptop for my travels.)

    "Satisfactorily" is relative -- Excel usually freezes / crashes on me once every couple of days because my workbook is so resource-intensive (despite having spent a ton of time optimizing the calculations.) If I can get better performance, great...but as long as I don't regress with this new purchase, I'll be OK.
  10. How much of your RAM is occupied when it freezes?
    #10     Apr 1, 2021