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4000 $ trading workstation

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July 21, 2008 2:00:23 PM


Im trying to build my business friend a professional work station for stock trading. Heres the system please comment and help improve it:


Motherboard Combo w/ AMD Phenom (Quad Core) 9850 (2.5GHz) (Socket AM2)
6 Monitor Array with 20" LG L206WTY-BS-Black Widescreen Monitors
(2) ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
300GB 10,000RPM WD HD SATA 3gb/s
8GB PC2 6400 SDRAM DDR2 (4X2GB)
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Value SB0400 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
Wireless N Network Card (Trendnet)
Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe Socket AM2+ AMD 790FX CrossFireX A&GbE ATX Motherboard
Whisper-Cool Fan / Heatsink
(Quiet Design - 90mm Fan - Aluminum)
Artic Silver Alumina 1.75g Multi-use Tube
20X Lightscribe DVD+/-RW
(Adds Image Burning On Top Of Disc)
Okia 680 Watt Power Supply (Quad Core Certified)
Vantec SF12025L 12CM Quiet Case Fan
680w Black Gamer Case & Barebones Install & Setup
1 Year Manufacturers Defect Repair / Replacement Warranty

Total Cost with tax and delivered: $4,202
July 21, 2008 2:30:58 PM

are you gaming on it??? I ask, because to monitor stocks and such, I doubt you need a quad core... or 3870x2's (single core cards will work just as well for 2d stuff)... or 8gig of ram, or a 7.1 sound card, or a 'gaming' case... I am gonna assume that includes 64 bit vista.

gonna connect wireless to the 'net I see.. you could potentially save some issues by going wired, but if you have good solid signal, no problem with wireless dropping out at a critical time (important trade)

6 moniters, 2 video cards.. hmm, at 2 monitors per card, something dont add up, unless the cards you choose support 4 moniters each.

The most important thing to the stock traders is fast updates to the data (internet speed), and how fast the software (usually pretty simple stuff really) can update the screen (again, probably all 2d).
a b B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 2:36:12 PM

I would get wired ethernet and possibly build a router using m0n0wall.
Intel is a whole lot better than AMD.
Like he said before for stock trading only you can build a less expensive machine.

Related resources
July 21, 2008 2:42:41 PM

Maybe he has software that renders stock quotes onto the Vietnamese soldiers in Crysis... That would be cool, though you wouldn't really be trading stocks, you'd just be blowing up stocks and shooting stocks in the head at point blank range. Still cool.
July 21, 2008 2:44:45 PM

I think that is a little too much. Do you really need six monitors to trade stocks? From the looks of it you are designing a gaming computer and not really a professional high end machine. When someone says they are trading stocks, from a technical point of view that means they are browsing the internet and streaming video and getting live feeds. Probably the most important thing is that he has a fast connection.

The quad core is fine, that would be put to good use. However not a phenom, if AMD get operton, if Intel get Xeon. Do not overclock.

Ditch the 3870 X2's, since this is not for gaming. Get a matrox video card with two of the matrox triplehead2go adapters that turn each VGA into three independent VGA's.

Ditch the Velociraptor. Get four 500 GB SATA drives and put them in a RAID 10 array.

You do not need a crossfire motherboard, get an appropriate motherboard for whichever processor you choose. Onboard audio will be fine, I doubt he will need a sound card.

Just my suggestions.


July 21, 2008 2:47:45 PM

quadcore and good video cards are important for him. he wants the fasted product
July 21, 2008 2:50:29 PM

He doesn't need the best video cards for what he is doing. The 3870X2s would not be used effectively at all. For his task he could be using a 3870X2 or a 3850 and never notice the difference.

Matrox designs cards exactly for this type of application. Use them.
July 21, 2008 2:53:16 PM

Ive suggested a matrox card to him (128 mb) but he doesnt like the idea at all and wants to go for 2x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
my problem is how do i get 6 displays working on 2 of those?
i cant argue with the customer but fit a system that works on what he wants.

Thanks
July 21, 2008 2:53:55 PM

Also will a 640 w PSU be fine since the GPUs will probably be near idle power draws.
July 21, 2008 2:54:44 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your definition of "fast" and his do not necessarily match up. You hear fast and think "renders complex graphics fast". He says fast and means that he's never waiting on anything. This would suggest a high end processor, a very good connection to the internet (wired really excels at this), large amounts of fast RAM, but not high-end video cards.

He also wants stability, I'm guessing, even if he doesn't mention it.

Of course, I'm not a mind-reader.
July 21, 2008 2:54:46 PM

Regarding the crossfire issue, you may have more than one monitor running while crossfire is enabled. If you are running SLI then only one monitor will be supported when in SLI mode. This is one of the main reasons I like AMD over Nvidia, as I like using multiple monitors.
July 21, 2008 2:59:54 PM

If he specifically wants two 3870 X2's in crossfire then I guess you can't argue!
I would get a psu in the ballpark of 850 watts.

Since two 3870X2's are what is happening then you should get a crossfire mobo, which basically means your original hardware configuration stands. However he should know this is completely asinine.
July 21, 2008 3:00:37 PM

2 of those are capable of running 8 monitors while crossfire is enabled.
July 21, 2008 3:02:00 PM

i told him he doesnt need all the graphics capabilities but he seems mindset on two of these cards.

the reason im concerned is "Guys, Crossfire can only run ONE monitor, even three cards in Crossfire X will only allow ONE monitor to be attached and working. I'm not sure about the 4870X2, MAYBE two monitors can be used at the same time in Crossfire mode. I'm not sure. To run multiple monitors under gaming you need to run a single card only, except for the few games that can support multiple cards separately. "
which was response to my original inquiry.

But is he just referring to gaming there?
Gaming is not important just running 6 monitors with these 2 cards. So crossfire will work? Ill go with a 900 w modular tagan for stability and performacne.
July 21, 2008 3:04:30 PM

Agreed with most. High-end 3D gaming cards are an overkill, workstation 2D cards in the FireMV and Quadro NVS line of cards are typical of trading computers that are commercially available (and I think those people/companies know what they're doing).

The NVS line consumes 12-31W and support 2-4 displays, which is much more reasonable than a 200W+ 3870X2.
http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadronvs.html

The ATI cards are probably very similar in terms of wattage, and also support 2-4 displays (depending on model):
http://ati.amd.com/products/firemvseries/specs.html
July 21, 2008 3:06:43 PM

Awesome thanks. Thats all i needed to know :) 
July 21, 2008 3:08:09 PM

KyleSTL said:
Agreed with most. High-end 3D gaming cards are an overkill, workstation 2D cards in the FireMV and Quadro NVS line of cards are typical of trading computers that are commercially available (and I think those people/companies know what they're doing).

The NVS line consumes 12-31W and support 2-4 displays, which is much more reasonable than a 200W+ 3870X2.
http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadronvs.html

The ATI cards are probably very similar in terms of wattage, and also support 2-4 displays (depending on model):
http://ati.amd.com/products/firemvseries/specs.html


I completely agree with you, however we seem to be dealing with someone who is hell bent on the 3870X2.
July 21, 2008 3:08:26 PM

"Yes, the scaling is taken from ONE card, so it has to run the final resolution of the four monitors. That's why the best idea is to use crossfire, then take that one output through the Matrox solution.

If the 4870X2 has four DVI (or HDMI) outputs then indeed all can be used at once - but not in Crossfire I'm guessing. "

2 will be in mobo with 8 dvi outputs. can i just plug the monitors in to the crossfire setup? or is another solution necessary?
July 21, 2008 3:09:30 PM

He doesn't seem too concerned with cost, why isn't an SSD drive in the build?
July 21, 2008 3:21:18 PM

Please tell your friend he needs more research into what kind of computers fulfill his needs. Please show him this website which SPECIALIZES in trading computers and what GPUs come with the various workstation series (even the ultra-high-end F-41X).

http://www.tradingcomputers.com/TCdesktop.html

Here are the cards listed on Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

Also, let him know it doesn't matter how expensive his equipment is, it won't make him 'better' in the market. Convince him you know more about hardware needs than he does. 256-bit interfaces and 320 stream processors won't mean anything to his trading capabilities.
July 21, 2008 3:28:52 PM

What is the 8Gb of RAM for? He will never use much more than 2Gb. A trader machine shouldn't cost much over $1000K. In fact buy a tower Dell and add the multi display solution and you may come in under $1K.
July 21, 2008 3:32:32 PM

buy the 9950 phenom,..if anything!!! and 1066,...mhz,...memory,...!!!
July 21, 2008 4:00:52 PM

bydesign said:
What is the 8Gb of RAM for? He will never use much more than 2Gb. A trader machine shouldn't cost much over $1000K. In fact buy a tower Dell and add the multi display solution and you may come in under $1K.


He may decide to use Vista. We do not know. Regardless, I would not buy a new Windows-based PC for a professional application and only put 2GB of RAM in it...unless I was dead set on Windows XP 32-bit and fiscally limited.

A 6-monitor desktop with high resolutions can take some RAM, its not all off-loaded to the video cards. I'd recommend he go 64-bit something and get more than enough RAM. RAM is cheap, there's not benefit to limiting himself. He's willing to spend $4K on a top-of-the-line PC.

It seems like the F-41X from TradingComputers.Com might be close to the kind of power the customer WANTS, once customized. It may be more than he needs, but he's not limited to just what he needs, thankfully.

I know that if I asked someone to build me a computer and they gave me one with 2GB of RAM back I'd not be too impressed. If I told someone I had a budget of $4K for a super strong machine and asked them to build me a high-end rig and came back with a $1000 build, I'd be skeptical and unimpressed...unless the $1K machine offered the same or superior performance to to the $4K machine.

Everyone doesn't want an Econo or even Mid-Range build. Some people want the high-end, especially those with $$$$, just because its the high-end.

I wouldn't be surprised if the customer can partially, or even totally, write-off this equipment on their taxes.

July 21, 2008 4:06:59 PM

halcyon said:
Everyone doesn't want an Econo or even Mid-Range build. Some people want the high-end, especially those with $$$$, just because its the high-end.

I wouldn't be surprised if the customer can partially, or even totally, write-off this equipment on their taxes.

Then do something useful with the extra $$$ like step up to [6] 24" or [4] 30" monitors, instead of wasting money on [6] 1440x900 20" LCDs.
July 21, 2008 4:17:02 PM

KyleSTL said:
Then do something useful with the extra $$$ like step up to [6] 24" or [4] 30" monitors, instead of wasting money on [6] 1440x900 20" LCDs.


Amen to that. I love having 1 x 30". 4 x 30" would be ...luxurious.
July 21, 2008 4:18:18 PM

fugben said:
"Yes, the scaling is taken from ONE card, so it has to run the final resolution of the four monitors. That's why the best idea is to use crossfire, then take that one output through the Matrox solution.

If the 4870X2 has four DVI (or HDMI) outputs then indeed all can be used at once - but not in Crossfire I'm guessing. "

2 will be in mobo with 8 dvi outputs. can i just plug the monitors in to the crossfire setup? or is another solution necessary?


Yes you can just plug the monitors into the DVI outputs.

I still can't believe someone is actually doing this...lol
July 21, 2008 4:22:24 PM

Kyle, why would the customer be best served to go with a Phenom? The customer doesn't seem to need to penny pinch.
July 21, 2008 4:40:44 PM

http://www.tradingcomputers.com/TCdesktop.html
An acceptable computer starts at like 2 k $ on that site.
My friend prefers 20 inch monitors because 24 inch monitors are hard for him to focus on and gives him eye strain. I found the LGs as pretty much the best for the $ 20 inchers with free delivery.

I also got a stand setup that comes with it for vertical visualisation.
So im actually only spending 2 k on the PC and 2.5 k on the monitors, stand and setup.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 5:34:29 PM

For a trading system, you want lots of display acerage. Six 20" monitors at 1680x1050 is 1.764m pixels each, or a total of 10.584m pixels.

As an alternative, may I suggest three 30" monitors at 2560x1600 each, for a total of 12m pixels. The Samsung305T is a great unit for this. Attach the center(gaming) monitor to a reasonably strong video card(if he wants to game) and the two side monitors to a lesser card. All you need is a mobo with at least 2 pci-e slots.



I am not much of an AMD cpu supporter these days. I think an Intel 45nm quad will run faster and cooler.

Keep the 300gb velociraptor. It is noticeably faster. If you need more storage, or for backup, then add a large, slower drive.

Onboard HD sound is very good these days. Sound cards have been troublesome. Unless he has a very good set of speakers, a separate sound card is a waste.

4gb should be enough, but at current prices, why not get 8gb. It can only help.

Wireless is never as fast as a direct cable connect. Use a router with wireless N if you need to connect with a laptop or such. A router will also be somewhat more secure.

I don't know about that case, and particularly the PSU. For stability, don't skimp on the PSU. Excepting Antec, I am distrustful of the quality of any PSU included with a case.

Look for a quiet case. Look at www.silentpcreview.com for quiet computing issues. The Antec P182 would be a good quiet case.

I might suggest the addition of a TV tuner card to monitor live news feeds.
Vista Home Premium and Ultimate can support them with the media center application.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 5:45:19 PM

The pixel size on most monitors is about the same, eyestrain will not differ much. A larger monitor just gives you more of them. There are some exceptions, the Samsung 275T 27" is a 1920x1200, but it has a larger pixel size. I have also read good reviews of the SOYO 26" 1920x1200 monitor marketed by officemax. I had a bit of trouble with my 305T at native resolution, and changed. In this case, he might be well served with 4 of them which will display about the same amount of information as 6 20" monitors.
July 21, 2008 5:46:50 PM

halcyon said:
Kyle, why would the customer be best served to go with a Phenom? The customer doesn't seem to need to penny pinch.

Memory bandwidth and access times. Intel's current FSB greatly limits these two very crucial needs for workstation systems (and I'd count trading as workstation use).
Quote:
24 inch monitors are hard for him to focus on and gives him eye strain

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. 20" at 1680x1050 (which the LG you listed is) has a smaller dot pitch than 24" at 1920x1200. Why not give 25.5", 26" or 27" a try? Usually people complain of eye strain because of a dot pitch being too small. Please elaborate.

Also, I think you should do a HDD config of 2 x VelociRaptors in RAID 0 and [1-2] WD6400AAKS drives for other data and backup. Data access time is very important in that line of work, and the VRs should be worth their weight in gold.
July 21, 2008 6:17:25 PM

For reference:

20" @ 1680 = 0.258 dot pitch
22" @ 1680 = 0.282
24" @ 1920 = 0.27
25.5/26" @ 1920 = 0.287
27" @ 1920 = 0.303
28" @ 1920 = 0.309
30" @ 2560 = 0.25
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 7:14:07 PM

Right on, Kylestl. I don't think memory bandwidth is very important for the Intel core procesors, though.

Do you know of any 2560x1600 monitors that are larger than 30"? ie; with a larger pixel size than 0.25?
July 21, 2008 7:30:16 PM

all i have to say is that the computer outlined above will not be used anywhere near its potential...
a b B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 7:47:24 PM

You don't need a really high powered PC to do stock trading.

PC to do trading:
Q6600 (providing you are also running analyst software)
P45-DS3L or better motherboard
8800GS(~$80-90) to run 2 LCDs
500GB+ HDD(s) possibly in RAID
Basic case with some quiet fans (ie Yate Loon or Scyth fans)
Corsair 450/550 (NEVER SKIMP ON PSU!)
A quiet HSF

@OP: What ever you do don't get that Okia 680W PSU.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2008 8:05:07 PM

njalterio said:
He is completely wrong. Crossfire supports multiple monitors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_CrossFire#Comparisons_...
[:wr2:4] The support is built in but the drivers and implementation are suspect.
Read this review: The Dual-screen prejudice http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-4850-and--4870-...

ASUS SILENT MAGIC Radeon HD 3650 512MB Get 3 of these and invest the other $300+ in stock for a wise investment. Add another $20-30 savings in needing a less powerful PSU.
[:wr2:2] Besides helping quiet the system the power savings over a year's use is probably worth an extra share of stock as well.
August 13, 2008 2:41:04 PM

Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I'm curious to see where this ended up. What's the status FugBen?
August 13, 2008 3:00:28 PM

fugben said:
Ive suggested a matrox card to him (128 mb) but he doesnt like the idea at all and wants to go for 2x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
my problem is how do i get 6 displays working on 2 of those?
i cant argue with the customer but fit a system that works on what he wants.

Thanks

You're right you can't argue with the customer, and you must give the customer what he wants. If he is your friend like you said then you should be able to tell him he's wrong about what he wants and thinks he needs. I agree with everyone here your original system specs are overkill. If he really wants to pay for a 3870x2 then by all means let him, but why would he want to waste money? If he can get the same thing done for significantly less why wouldn't he want to do that.
I'm assuming he doesn't have much computer knowledge and that's why he came to you for advice. Be a GOOD friend and lead him in the right direction. If all he's doing is basic office tasks and trading stocks he will be more than happy with a system much less powerful than the one you laid out. It is your job as the tech guy to make him understand that his needs are easily met with less money.
You could probably put the 3870x2 in the budget, not put it in the computer use it for yourself and he would never know. Like i said though, be a GOOD friend and dont let him waste $$.
August 13, 2008 6:05:26 PM

I built the system 2 weeks ago. Except for some minor hiccups i got everything up and running great.

Even slightly overclocked the processor :) 

August 13, 2008 6:06:42 PM

My friend is really happy with the system. Let me mention he wanted the x2s so he could do some gaming on the side.

I told him as it is configured now he can just use one card. But that should be plenty to play CSS
August 13, 2008 8:09:07 PM

Sounds like AMD/ATI got some much needed funds from the sale of two X2s. Glad it has worked out for him. Did you stay with the 6 x 1680*1050 monitors (20")?
August 13, 2008 8:53:57 PM

yes. and he bought a dell 30 inch to play games on
August 14, 2008 12:48:16 AM

fugben said:
yes. and he bought a dell 30 inch to play games on



Ah, I do like my Dell 30". Your friend's a happy camper, I'd imagine.
!