Dual Monitor Trading Desk: Help/review Appreciated

I'm kind of in a quandrary (i.e., hurry) to put together and build a financial instruments (day trading stocks, options, commodities) trading desk in the next week as quickly and inexpensively as possible. I can't think of a better place to start for assistance and feedback than THG forumz. Thanks in advance.

Background: I've put together many systems before, but I must admit that it's been about two years since I've put together a brand new system from state-of-the-art parts. I'm technically-bent so I'm not totally out of date, but I'd really like a review of my ideas from this forum.

I want to trade off between money and performance, i.e., this is not for gaming but must be reliable and fast for trading purposes. I currently have two monitors: 1) Dell 30" DVI monitor (dual link) 2500x1600 I use for my trading software (lots of constantly updated charts and windows), and 2) an old IBM 18" flat panel VGA 1280x1024 that I basically use for e-mail and TV/DVR (e.g. CNBC). Would VERY much appreciate any suggestions to save money.

Other than the case, this is what I was thinking. (Most of this I got from looking at some of the great suggestions here.)

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 6400. It seems the 6400 is well-received and performs well for siginificantly less money than the 6600.

Mobo: Wow, a bit overwhelmed here. I like the MSI mobo that was earlier recommended for gaming and MSI was always a pretty good brand I thought. Must support SATA, 2 GB dual channel, on-board audio. Would prefer around $100 but could go to $150. Any suggestions would be most helpful and I'll review them.

RAM: Is there some place where I can go and put in the mobo and it will tell me what memory to buy? I'm looking at 2GB dual-channel - unless someone replies that dual-channel is not worth the money are has other cons.

Graphics Card; This is very important. I'm thinking an 8800GTS dual link card that support both DVI and VGA. (I could alternatively buy a new second monitor for cheap that is DVI if VGA is too hard to support.) I would think at least 512MB or more, but not sure how important this really is in this configuration.

Hard Drive: I noticed everyone is in love with the Seagate Barracuda SATA and it's highly rated at Newegg. I would like more than 320GB, but that's a good start. Any other suggestions?

Optical Burner: Basic optical writer covering all standards for under $50. Samsung has been mentioned here and I have one on another computer that seems to do well. Lite-on is another choice. Any preference?

Tuner: I can use my TV Wonder Elite card from my other system for now unless someone has a better suggestion. Will be viewing live TV and recording SDTV (CNBC). HDTV not required for this system (although I want to build some HTPCs later).

Power supply: Brand, minimum power I should look for?

OS: Vista Ultimate. Newegg ths best place? OEM version I guess.

Possible to get a killer system for less than $1200 USD? Is Newegg still the place to go for great price, fast shipping?

Thanks so much for any feedback. This is really helpful and I hope that I haven't overwhelmed anyone. I don't come and ask for help here often, so I hope you can accomodate me this time as I hurriedly put this system together.

Thanks in advance.
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  1. You've certainly done your homework, kudos to you! Right off the bat I'm gonna say that your budget is tight for what you're intending, especially if you want the OS included. That being said.......

    Your primary concern here is stability. Overclocking sounds like it's not necessary, and gaming isn't part of the equation. So no need to sink money into certain parts that won't give you a decent return.

    CPU: Go with the 6300 and it'll still be FAST. Frankly, your $1200 budget is gonna be VERY tight for the components you're showing so you need to trim some fat. This is one place to do it without sacrificing hardly any performance.

    Mobo: MSI 965 Neo-F. Cheap, stable, good layout, has the features you need. Will save some money and perform just fine.

    CPU heatsink: stock should do fine for you, no need for aftermarket.

    GPU: EVGA 8800GTS....you might want to consider the 640mb version due to the sheer size of your monitor.....even though it's not for gaming, horsepower and stability is what you need. However, it's more money. With your budget you might want the 320mb version, the Egg has it at a good price ($260 or something).

    PSU: FSP Blue Storm II 500w. It'll handle what you need and is fairly cheap. There are certainly other options, but this will do what you need and won't break the bank.

    RAM: G.Skill DDR2-800, 2 gigs. It will work that mobo, won't pose any problems, and is dirt cheap. Can't go wrong with it.

    Hard Drive: definitely Seagate. The 500mb drive is actually a very good price right now. Take a look there.

    Optical: Samsung SH-S182. Quiter than most, good performance, and cheap. A winner.

    OS: Vista if you want.

    I'll be honest......to get the system you describe with the OS included is a stretch for your budget. Just keep it in mind. But don't skimp on the PSU. Drop the CPU down to a 4300 if you have to save some $$, get a smaller hard drive, get Value RAM. Those will all save money if you need.

    And the Egg is probably your best bet, good prices, quick delivery for what you need.

    Good luck.
  2. Just my two cents.... but for trading stocks you don't anything for a computer. Any ol 4 year old computer can do the job JUST fine. You're talking about simple web site viewing and a piece of software like QuoteTracker. My laptop from 7 years ago does that job just fine.

    The only thing you need is the right video card to display the large, dual monitors (get the cheapest one you can find). There are no 3D graphics needed with trading stocks. Those charts you see are not 3D rendered the way a video game is.

    The processor speed, motherboard, hard drive space or speed and RAM speed will make ZERO difference. Did you hear me? Zero difference. Save yourself some money...unless yer rich and just want an excuse to buy a toy. Then you may as well go quad GPU, 8GB RAM, 2 TB drives etc...
  3. Thanks to both skylight and p05esto for your help. This was tremendous that you responded as quickly (and as helpful) as you did.

    I noticed that at newegg, the difference between the 6300 and 6400 was only $30. But it seems that I can save the $30 as the only difference is the speed and that may not be an issue.

    My biggest concern is with the graphics card. The 320MB version of the EVGA is $200 cheaper than the 640MB version. My concern is that I run the trading software (java application) full screen on the large monitor with several charts updating simultaneously, ALSO while running a live TV app on the secondary montor. I also tend to run a couple browsers, e-mail, etc - I multi-task quite a bit. My current dual-link dual-monitor card (nVidia 7600GS with 512MB) doesn't handle it well. So I'm a bit concerned about that. It is on an old system (AMD 3200+ with 1GB dual channel memory) so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it.

    Everything else seems clear - and the total for everything as spec'd out except the case and OS is $920.47. (!) So thanks a lot for your help. I would like any comments as to what I wrote about the graphics situation if you have a response.

    Also, is there a cheaper way to get a copy of Vista than newegg OEM?
  4. Skylight.....LOL.....I've been accused of many things, but "light"....? LOL....I have 2 kids and prefer the ladies....nothing "light" here LMAO :D

    There are "cheaper" ways of getting Vista than OEM from the Egg....but I wouldn't openly advocate that in these forums ;)

    Other than that, good build!
  5. Quote:
    My biggest concern is with the graphics card. The 320MB version of the EVGA is $200 cheaper than the 640MB version. My concern is that I run the trading software (java application) full screen on the large monitor with several charts updating simultaneously, ALSO while running a live TV app on the secondary montor. I also tend to run a couple browsers, e-mail, etc - I multi-task quite a bit. My current dual-link dual-monitor card (nVidia 7600GS with 512MB) doesn't handle it well. So I'm a bit concerned about that. It is on an old system (AMD 3200+ with 1GB dual channel memory) so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it....

    I'd think it more likely that you CPU/RAM was the problem, as all the stuff you mention (java trading app, several charts updating simultneously, etc) have mostly to do with the CPU, not the graphics card. To add a belt to your braces, why not just get two video cards, one to run each monitor? A pair of 7600GSs ought to be more than enough, and will be less than $100 each.
  6. I have finalized the components and I'm very excited. I've upgraded some things and still feel comfortable with the budget. Thanks to everyone for their help (especially skyguy).

    The total for the entire system including case/power supply/shipping is $1175. This does not include $50 in rebates (ugh!) and a couple free "gifts" (a THQ game and a 512MB USB drive).

    I changed a couple things from skyguy's recommendations:

    1. I went with the C2D 6400 instead of the 6300. $37 more. I really don't know why I did it except I got carried away. Both have excellent reviews.


    2. I went with the ASUS P5N-E instead of the MSI 965 Neo-F. I will also do weekend video editing, play music, etc on this computer and so I wanted on board IEEE1394, extra USB, and on board audio to hook up to the front jack on the case. nVidia chipset, lots of SATA connectors. Well-reviewed, feature rich for $40 more. (No support for firewire or front panel connectors on the MSI and mediocre reviews at Newegg.) Here's a review of the ASUS P5N-E at motherboards.org:



    3. Decided on an inexpensive NZXT case and matching NZXT 550W power supply ($49 after $30 rebate). I know it's not for everyone but I'll like the blue light in my study at night.


    4. Decided on the 500GB Seagate Barracuda for $145. Seems like a great buy to me.


    5. Would appreciate a comment on the Lite-On 20X SATA DVD Burner. I actually have the Samsung 18X IDE DVD Burner recommended by skyguy and like it. But will I get better performance from a SATA drive? If so, it's loaded with support for all formats, lightscribe, 20X instead of 18X - for $10 more. Is this a good buy? What would be the downside?


    6. G.Skill 2GB DDR2 800 Dual Channel - regularly $231 - for $179 with a 512 USB drive. Sounds good to me. This is compatible with everything, right? (I'm always nervous about buying memory.)


    7. EVGA 320MB 8800GTS. It is obvious that the EVGA cards are the most popular 8800GTS cards - and has a perfect 5-star rating. And the least expensive ($260 after rebate). And a free THQ game. :)


    No Vista Ultimate, so I'll have to decide what to do about that. But overall, very happy - and excited.

    Any final comments would be very much appreciated. I'm buying at end of day so I'll have a good weekend project. :D
  7. I do trading also (FOREX) and have 6 monitors hooked up the my machine(ASUS P5W64 w/4 PCIE slots). the poster that said 3D card not needed is on the money. Financial Charts are a 2D domain.

    1. You might also want to find an Nvidia Quadro 285NVS off of EBAY they are fast and cheap 2D workstation card. You can get them for about $35 and they are Dual monitor cards. They come with a DONGLE for either 2 VGA or 2 DVI outputs. I did a benchmark and found that they are as fast in 2D as the high-end Geforce cards. (BE SURE THE DONGLE COMES WITH THE CARD YOU ARE BIDDING ON IF YOU GO THIS ROUTE) This card is also descent in 3D you will be suprised. Don't get the 280 NVS as it is PCI

    320 MB is enough for what you are doing - have not researched but are both DVI channels on this card Dual-Linked if so then this will give you the capability of 4 monitors on your desktop. I have also done vide editing and the added real estate when using a timeline will be appreciated here. --- In trading, the extra monitors will allow you to have more screens up simultaneously to give you a better feel for what is going on in the market.

    2. For motherboard the P5n-E SLI version of the motherboard is a great choice and a great overclocker.

    Depending on the number of charts you have up at any given time the strength of your E6400 CPU will be appreciated. It also has a higher multiplier so OC'ing it will be a no brainer. A mild overclock (~500Mhz) for now with your stock HSF and then later you can get a third party HSF for an added ~500-1000Mhz. 3.6 Ghz is not unheard of and is a nice upgrade. I am running mine at 3.2 Ghz.

    I had a P4 2.88Ghz system and went through all type of different configurations to get to the pric eperformance I was looking for. The C2D CPU cut the time it took to change my charts from one bank to another from 45 sec to 10 sec. 6 monitors with about 8 trading systems attached to each monitor. (LOOK FOR THE BALANCE AMONG THE CPU, THE HDD AND THE VIDEO CARDS) --Get RAM that will give you some headroom - What you have in mind looks good

    For Hard drives the perpendicular drive ARE the way to go. The 320 GB version are the fastest in transfer but 500 Gigs is attractive or think about 2-320's


    Also use ANOTHER drive for swap files. (Ideally the system would have 3 drives 1 for OS 1 for programs and another for the swap files) BUT I know price performance and I only have 2 myself.

    I had a SCSI raid setup but the SATA's a quick enough for what I am doing

    That 30 Dell must be nice, but I would have opted for 2-24's(1920*1200). More real estate and no need for a dual link card to do what you are doing. It would give you 3840 pixels horizontally vs the 2560 you are getting now. I know this is not in your budget but a thought for when you consider changes in the monitor section. 20" & 22" (both @ 1680*1050)wide screens are coming down nicely (22" MAG $270 & 22" Samsung $330)at bestBuy last week.

    I have the Business Ultimate Version and have not loaded it because it is a resource HOG. Performance wise for what you are doing stay with XP/SP2

    I was given some advice on OS's and 2D but have not followed up. Apparently Windows 98 is MUCH faster in 2D than even WINXP. Understandable, YET, I just don't want to go there.

    You did a great job in my opinion the only thing that I would consider seriously is the NVS285 or "NVS 285" do both when you look it up on ebay. Have a great build this weekend
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