Re-Think- What video card, CPU speed, and Drive speed is Actually needed/Used?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by User123, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. User123


    For desktop charting/trading software:

    graphics use is relatively minimal:
    -the current bar extends up or down and changes color as it updates
    -indicators move and update
    -when a bar-period ends, the chart shifts one step to the left
    -L2 and other data are the only other moving images

    So only a small portion of the pixels on the screen need to be changed for the software.
    Compared to a movie or video where Every pixel on the screen changes whenever the camera-view is moved.

    Charts and data windows do not require any 3d rendering or anything intensive.

    So graphics should be easily handled by what?.. Possibly by any video card that was made within the last 10 years? (both integrated or dedicated)

    What about the CPU?
    For BASIC charting using a few indicators (no heavily-programmed strategy TradeStation), what CPU power and speed is needed..

    -Will a dual-core or quad core CPU show any noticeable difference?
    -Will a 3gHz allow a smoother software display and function compared to a 2gHz?

    And the HDD or SSD..
    For the running of software would a SSD allow the data to display any faster than a 7200 or 5400rpm HDD?
    (a SSD will open the software faster, but the question is about the operation once open)

    In 1998, a Dell was used for terranova trading software, for a single 17" monitor. It had a 450-ish mHz CPU, a video card with about 12mb of memory and surely a speed of less than 200 mHz, and a 4500 or 5400rpm drive.
  2. misaki


    It is a trend among the latest charting libraries, e.g. based on WPF, to make full use of GPU acceleration to offload rendering from the CPU.

    1. Regarding multi-core processors: Most retail software packages nowadays claim to be multithreaded.
    2. Time is precious. I get impatient waiting for any kind of computation or simulation to run, and usually end up idling in that time.

    Depends on the software implementation. If the charting data is not cached in memory by some poor case of programming, then you will experience a significant performance gain using a SSD, e.g. NinjaTrader. If your strategy implementation involves significant file I/O and memory access, yes.
  3. I once checked my data stream...

    1. Average rate during trading day was ~ 27Kps (not a typo, "K").
    2. Typical dualcore CPU can handle 100,000X+ that data rate. Low-cost NVS/FirePro/8400GS video card can also handle 100,000X that data rate.
    3. 10Kps during slow part of day.
    4. If you're archiving data, it's likely held in RAM until written to disk at end of bar. You probably wouldn't notice speed difference between SSD and spinner drive.

    Bottom line.... computer/graphics power required for trading is VERY low for most setups. Spend your money on monitors (or booze & broads) rather than high-powered computer.... unless you plan to game with the same machine, of course.

    Advise, however, to avoid "el-cheapo" mobo if running >2 monitors. Mobo should have enough PCIEx16 slots (2-3+) to run your monitors.
  4. User123


    For my purposes, this sounds about right.

    "el-cheapo" is relative.
    Was looking at one computer at $440, which has integrated graphics, that can run 2 monitors at 1920x1200 each. With 512MB of shared memory. Youtube videos show it playing 3D games pretty smoothly, so charts would be a breeze comparatively.

    I have the feeling that almost ANY graphics GPU from the past 10 years, will be able to handle basic charting.
  5. You've described the ubiquitous "el-cheapo" mobo. Typically, 1 PCIEx16 slot, 1, x1, and 2-3 PCI slots + "onboard video chip".

    That's fine for 2 monitors. There's a significant uptick in quality when there are 2 or more x16 slots and no onboard video.... Therefore, if you're running 2 or more video cards, the el-cheapo mobo is best to be avoided.

    The ONLY reason a mobo ever comes with "onboard video"... is to reduce costs by not requiring a dedicated video card.... the mark of "el-cheapo"

    (What does "el-cheapo" actually mean? I estimate 80% of the world's computers come with el-cheapo mobos. They cost about $20, whereas a workstation mobo costs $160-$260.... quality of the mobo is not an insignificant issue if you expect to run your trading rig 8 hr/day all year and for several years.)
  6. User123


    This mobo has 1 x1 and 1 x16 slot. It could be upgraded by adding a dedicated video card, if also upgrading to a larger PSU, so there is upward room.

    Almost any computer now-a-days will come with onboard/integrated video.. that comes with the CPU. When you plug in a physical video card, then the graphics processing switches over to the card. There are likely other differences, some useful like maximum ram usable speed.

    In Summary
    It does seem more than enough for my immediate needs: swing trading using 2 monitors. No tick charts, 8 monitors, or scalping. If it can handle the 3D games as shown on youtube, I'd expect it can easily handle the minimal chart use of swing-trading.

    When I am able to utilize faster system (more monitors, day-trading, scalping, strategies, simulations) , I'll be at a point where the computer cost won't be an issue :)

    thanks for the ideas
  7. Onboard GPU is trash. Invest in a good WS series mobo. It not only has lots of slots for x16 cards but has higher quality parts and stress testing for greater durability meaning longer equipment life and less chance of failure when it's most critical. Pack as much DDR3 ram on there as you can afford; it's cheap these days.
  8. Even if you can "add a video card, larger PSU, etc.", it's likely still an el-cheap motherboard.

    The hallmark of el-cheapo mobo is "1 x16, 1, x1, 2-3 PCI + onboard video chip". This mobo in all its varieties likely sits in 80% of the world's desktops. The mobo has onboard video to lower the cost so the user doesn't have to go to the expense of a dedicated video card. I estimate the cost of this board to be about $20. (The onboard video capability of newer CPUs clouds this issue a bit.)

    When you go with a mobo with "2 or more x16 slots + no onboard video chip", you've gone up the quality scale. Workstation mobos still cost about $160-$260 new... some gamer boards, $500+. There are reasons why they don't cost $20. Personally, for the same money I'd rather buy a used workstation than a new el-cheapo... sort of like choosing a Lexus with 20,000 miles on it over a new Yugo.

    All that said, if you run only 2 monitors you can get by with an el-cheapo mobo... you'll likely need a dedicated dualhead video card (which costs little)... but the video card will do all the work, no problem. You still might have to contend with longevity and a quirk or two as is common with el-cheapos. (I've had half-dozen PSU failures over the years. All but one were in el-cheapo machines. The one that was not el-cheapo was in a 6-yr old Dell Dimension 8300. Replaced the PSU and the computer still runs all day some 3 years later.)

  9. ofthomas


    I dont get it... why is everyone so obsessed with shaving every penny off their tech budget?!...


    this is simple..

    trading is a business... your edge is increased by your tech...

    for a good, and amazing computer to handle your trading you will spend at least $1K... anything more than that is a waste because you dont really benefit as a retail trader...

    find the best pair of systems you can get for under $2K and go with it...and make sure to include on that $2K budget a backup eSATA drive, acronis imaging software, and external SSD drive, SSD's for your internal drives on the PC, at least 8GB of RAM, at least 2-4 cores, the fastest CPU you can get, USB mouse and keyboard, and 2 monitors (24"+ native 1980)... with that, you are set for a long time...


    trading is a business...

    tech is to give you an extra edge... treat it as such...

    not as a hobby...
  10. Daal


    You can plug tons of additional monitors through the USB port. There are plenty of VGA/HDMI/DVI to USB converters on ebay (I use one from display link paid something like $45). I have a 'cheapo' MB yet (according to that guy definition but it is a good board with SATA 3 and USB 3) with this adapter I was able to have 3 monitors in the machine(2 in the onboard video card and 1 in the USB). I could probably add even more monitors if I wanted to

    There is simply no loss in performance (that I can notice) and the resolution goes to 1920x1080.

    I'm using a USB 2.0 adapter, a 3.0 probably has even more resolution and features
    #10     Feb 8, 2013