Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Fast PC required for trading stocks and futures

Last response: in CPUs
Share
September 11, 2009 10:07:39 AM

Hi everyone,

I'm about to start a fund trading stocks and futures. I will need a fast and reliable PC to run my trading models (run on MS Excel) and trading systems/databases (e.g., Bloomberg terminal). Any suggestions as to what I should look to buy?

I also intend to have link it up to three monitors - so suggestions on monitors and what I need to connect them up would help a lot. Thanks very much... BB

a b à CPUs
September 11, 2009 10:46:39 AM

first off all, you need to make sure you have fast reliable internet before anything else. How big are the spreadsheets you'll be working with? multiple refering sheets? These trading systems I'm going to assume, will have minimal workstation overhead as the server will do most of the processing (correct me if I'm wrong).

For the PC itself, I would suggest a cheap P/G/Q4x motherboard and a Pentium dual-core with 2 cheap graphics cards. Make sure they have the right connectors for your planned monitors.
September 11, 2009 11:17:59 AM

I completely agree. I don't think you need a ridiculously high end PC to do what you are asking - most of the high-end hardware is intended for gaming and for video rendering, etc.

A simple dual or quad core would easily suffice with a GPU or GPUs (which don't need to be high end either) to put out 3 monitors is pretty simple.

What is your budget?
Related resources
a b à CPUs
September 11, 2009 11:26:38 AM

If reliability is your primary concern, some not so high-end server parts would do, but it'd probably cost 2~5x more than a regular desktop.

But if what you are asking for is a simple terminal (as mi1ez described), his suggestion would cover your needs.
September 11, 2009 11:47:20 AM

Thanks.... The spreadsheets are big, the largest being 35mb (multiple sheets). The reason they're so big is because they're not written with VBA, macros etc (everything is manual - because I don't know how to write code). Most of the time, I will be running around 3 of these spreadsheets simultaneously. If I understand your question correctly, then the spreadsheets run on the PC itself, not on a server.

On top of this, I need to run a data provider (where the models will get their data from), a web-based trading system, email, etc. So all in all, perhaps 3 Excels and 3 other software/programs. My biggest worry is the PC crashing, so spending more to solve this risk wouldn't hurt... thanks again.
September 11, 2009 11:54:33 AM

Re budget, something less than $6k for everything (PC, monitors, server, etc). I actually don't know how to separate the issue of PC vs server. Can some programs actually be moved to run from a server instead? is there a better/specific use(s) for a server? Pls pardon my ignorance...
a b à CPUs
September 11, 2009 12:17:20 PM

Well, if they are big spreadsheets I'd care more about the monitor size.

Server parts are designed for 24/7 operation. Data transfers and heavy backups and 100% uptime. Sure, from a hardware point of view, you'd be more reliable but not by much. Servers and PCs run the same software, they even use the same type of CPUs (x86) it's just that they have better options for data transfer on a massive scale and upgrades can be performed without turning the computer off etc.
a b à CPUs
a b C Monitor
September 11, 2009 12:40:37 PM

For the desktop I would suggest a I7 920 with 12gb (future proof) with room to upgrade a few years down the road. For graphics the ATI 5xxx series cards support Up to six monitors.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-ati-eyefinity-rade...

They will come a premium since they are due on the 24th but for games and multi-monitor setup they will be worth while unlike like those pricey quadros and matrox cards. Max res 5760/2400.
September 11, 2009 4:02:56 PM

Wow...we'll have you in well under budget. Even an i7 rig with plenty of RAM as suggested wouldn't set you back even close to your budget.
a b à CPUs
a b C Monitor
September 11, 2009 4:11:40 PM

When you become a day or stock trader you will know that time is money and if you miss out on a good deal or fail to sell off before every one else does then money that could have been made or saved can easily pay for the rig.
a b à CPUs
September 13, 2009 7:46:33 AM

nforce4max said:
For the desktop I would suggest a I7 920 with 12gb (future proof) with room to upgrade a few years down the road. For graphics the ATI 5xxx series cards support Up to six monitors.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-ati-eyefinity-rade...

They will come a premium since they are due on the 24th but for games and multi-monitor setup they will be worth while unlike like those pricey quadros and matrox cards. Max res 5760/2400.


You are going a tad crazy.
a b à CPUs
September 13, 2009 9:49:45 AM

Is this real- time trading? Or delayed data?

If it's real-time the highest priority (as already mentioned) is the fastest internet connection you can have. If this trading is your only source of income then get a second connection with another service provider as backup. Doesn't need to be as fast as your primary, but it's insurance. Even better if it's a different type, so you might have DSL and Wireless or Satellite. If you're only connection goes, you're screwed, especially with any open positions that are good til cancelled.

Your really only need a good, quick dual core and a workstation graphics card for three or four monitors. You won't need anymore than 4GB.

Anything like a E8600 with 4GB memory and 2 x plain-Jane hard drives in RAID (mirrored). Go 2 x SSD for a bit better response. If you feel the need for speed (with muscle) then go ahead and pick a quad, just try and stay at 3GHz or more. AMD 940, 955, 965 will do just fine, but I really don't see them necessary for your task.

Spend the dollars on the three monitors (all the same size and brand) and graphics cards for 2D use. Have a look at the Quadro FX series cards or ATi FireMV - look for three or four outputs from the one card.

Work out whether most of your data is presented across or down, set yor monitors for landscape or portrait to suit. Don't spend all day scrolling.

Get a NAS at least for back up data. Again, mirrored drives for data protection.

UPS required as well, for everything. Don't skimp and go stand-by unit or AVR, go with double-conversion. No need for one big unit, get two or three smaller ones. One for the computer, one for the monitors and printer, one for the NAS and any other gear.

Consider this task you've undertaken to be mission critical.

If the data is delayed (here it's 20 minutes) or EOD (end-of-day) data then it really doesn't matter so much. You could do that with any white box computer.
September 13, 2009 3:35:57 PM

seabreeze said:
Is this real- time trading? Or delayed data?

If it's real-time the highest priority (as already mentioned) is the fastest internet connection you can have. If this trading is your only source of income then get a second connection with another service provider as backup. Doesn't need to be as fast as your primary, but it's insurance. Even better if it's a different type, so you might have DSL and Wireless or Satellite. If you're only connection goes, you're screwed, especially with any open positions that are good til cancelled.

Your really only need a good, quick dual core and a workstation graphics card for three or four monitors. You won't need anymore than 4GB.

Anything like a E8600 with 4GB memory and 2 x plain-Jane hard drives in RAID (mirrored). Go 2 x SSD for a bit better response. If you feel the need for speed (with muscle) then go ahead and pick a quad, just try and stay at 3GHz or more. AMD 940, 955, 965 will do just fine, but I really don't see them necessary for your task.

Spend the dollars on the three monitors (all the same size and brand) and graphics cards for 2D use. Have a look at the Quadro FX series cards or ATi FireMV - look for three or four outputs from the one card.

Work out whether most of your data is presented across or down, set yor monitors for landscape or portrait to suit. Don't spend all day scrolling.

Get a NAS at least for back up data. Again, mirrored drives for data protection.

UPS required as well, for everything. Don't skimp and go stand-by unit or AVR, go with double-conversion. No need for one big unit, get two or three smaller ones. One for the computer, one for the monitors and printer, one for the NAS and any other gear.

Consider this task you've undertaken to be mission critical.

If the data is delayed (here it's 20 minutes) or EOD (end-of-day) data then it really doesn't matter so much. You could do that with any white box computer.


Great.. thanks for that seabreeze. Sadly, I've no clue what most of the components are for, but I'll for sure look them up. It's real-time data and price feeds will come from a Bloomberg terminal (which by itself probably already uses up significant memory). Nice point on setting the monitors landscape/portrait...never thought about that change - most of the time I just change the zoom size!
a b à CPUs
September 13, 2009 10:06:49 PM

theterrible said:
Great.. thanks for that seabreeze. Sadly, I've no clue what most of the components are for, but I'll for sure look them up. It's real-time data and price feeds will come from a Bloomberg terminal (which by itself probably already uses up significant memory). Nice point on setting the monitors landscape/portrait...never thought about that change - most of the time I just change the zoom size!



Everyones forgetting that a fast connection for broadband comes before any of all this..

If your broadband is slow and you realise you want to buy or sell quickly then your reliant on your broadband.

I have got a customer with two broadband connections, cable and dsl incase one goes down.

Then he has a Q6600 as a processor. A quad core 920 will do, as well as a 64 bit os with 8 or more gbs of ram.

I would also look at getting a 2 or 3 screen setup which is easy to do. Youll have to run firefox as IE ( 7 anyway ) as all stock apps run in java and java has trouble with windows and tabs running too many java apps.

Why do I know this, I set one up.
a b à CPUs
September 13, 2009 10:28:26 PM

ok, then, real-time data it is. No, it takes up hardly any memory, or rather, the program displaying, tracking and recording the markte data is no more a resource hog than your browser (22MB), spreadsheet (9MB) or word processor (16MB) when idle.

The amount of memory used and cpu load will depend on how many tickers (different stocks) you've viewing at once, the time intervals you've set such as 1 second (continous stream), 5 seconds, 30 seconds, etc. so assume the program you are running will take 100MB idle and 500MB in full swing.

With my spreadsheet running using 9MB, I opened up about 20MB of files. The new memory footprint is now around 90MB. Unless your files are very large I still think 4GB will be plenty.

Also, you're be looking at market news in real time as well in some format. Even more reason for the fast internet connection.

theterrible said:
Sadly, I've no clue what most of the components are for...

I'll clarify some points. Overall you need speed in the system you're building (not high 3DMark scores) and the capacity to keep trading when something attempts to interrupt it (insurance).

System
Dual cores E8500, E8600*, PII X2 550
PII X4 940, 955, 965*, Q9650
RAM: 4GB DDR2-1066*, or DDR3-1333 if the motherboard you get for the PII X4 is DDR3.
Motherboard: get one with on-board VGA and/or DVI. Just in case your video card dies one day (insurance).
Hardrives: 2 x SSD* drives or 2 x HDD in RAID1. This mirrors the data on each drive so if one drive fails the other keeps on going. Solid State Drives will be quicker but more expensive.
Graphics cards: 2D performance is what you need, not 3D CAD or games. A single card with three outputs is the best choice, so just ask the local computer shops what's current.
Power supply: something like a Gigabyte ODIN GT.
Case needs good ventilation, optical drive can be anything.
* my choices for each.

Insurance
Ask yourself, "I have 100K of open positions using CFCs that are good til cancelled. What happens if...?"

The electricity fails.
The internet connection fails.
A video card dies.
A hard drive goes crazy.
Malicious software gets hold of my computer.
and so on.

$100K of CFCs are quite likely to be leveraged up to 95% covering $2 million underlying stocks. You don't want to be in a situation where you cannot close your position out because of a failure at your end (not the exchange).

UPS are uninterruptable power supplies. The provide electricity if the mains (utility) fails. There are usually three levels of UPS, so go with the thrid type which is double-conversion.

Second internet connection as back up. Medium speed, different carrier or provider than the primary, different type if possible.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) for backing up everything. Usually two hard drives in RAID1, but one drive will do. It's better than nothing. Or off-site back-up.

Good firewall and simple anti-virus measures (Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D) or a fully paid Big Name anti-virus. It's up to you. Depends on how many porn and casino sites you're visiting while trading :non: 

Maybe a second computer, but make it a laptop with wireless broadband. Doesn't have to be super quick. It's for the occasion when you need to escape the burning building while in the middle of said $2 million trade. Hopefully you won't need it.

and so on. Plan for these contengencies at your end. Only you can decide the risk involved and either dismiss it or, if accepting it, then implementing a course of action to guard against it.
a b à CPUs
September 13, 2009 10:32:40 PM

Hellboy said:
Everyones forgetting that a fast connection for broadband comes before any of all this..

If your broadband is slow and you realise you want to buy or sell quickly then your reliant on your broadband.

I have got a customer with two broadband connections, cable and dsl incase one goes down.



No, no-one is forgetting this. You've not read the posts. Three of us have pointed out that a fast internet connection is most important thing to consider first.

I have also mentioned that a secondary internet service should be maintained in case the first one fails.
September 14, 2009 6:17:53 AM

Thanks very much!... will start shopping for the goods soon
a b à CPUs
September 14, 2009 6:51:58 AM

seabreeze said:
ok, then, real-time data it is. No, it takes up hardly any memory, or rather, the program displaying, tracking and recording the markte data is no more a resource hog than your browser (22MB), spreadsheet (9MB) or word processor (16MB) when idle.

The amount of memory used and cpu load will depend on how many tickers (different stocks) you've viewing at once, the time intervals you've set such as 1 second (continous stream), 5 seconds, 30 seconds, etc. so assume the program you are running will take 100MB idle and 500MB in full swing.

With my spreadsheet running using 9MB, I opened up about 20MB of files. The new memory footprint is now around 90MB. Unless your files are very large I still think 4GB will be plenty.

Also, you're be looking at market news in real time as well in some format. Even more reason for the fast internet connection.


I'll clarify some points. Overall you need speed in the system you're building (not high 3DMark scores) and the capacity to keep trading when something attempts to interrupt it (insurance).

System
Dual cores E8500, E8600*, PII X2 550
PII X4 940, 955, 965*, Q9650
RAM: 4GB DDR2-1066*, or DDR3-1333 if the motherboard you get for the PII X4 is DDR3.
Motherboard: get one with on-board VGA and/or DVI. Just in case your video card dies one day (insurance).
Hardrives: 2 x SSD* drives or 2 x HDD in RAID1. This mirrors the data on each drive so if one drive fails the other keeps on going. Solid State Drives will be quicker but more expensive.
Graphics cards: 2D performance is what you need, not 3D CAD or games. A single card with three outputs is the best choice, so just ask the local computer shops what's current.
Power supply: something like a Gigabyte ODIN GT.
Case needs good ventilation, optical drive can be anything.
* my choices for each.

Insurance
Ask yourself, "I have 100K of open positions using CFCs that are good til cancelled. What happens if...?"

The electricity fails.
The internet connection fails.
A video card dies.
A hard drive goes crazy.
Malicious software gets hold of my computer.
and so on.

$100K of CFCs are quite likely to be leveraged up to 95% covering $2 million underlying stocks. You don't want to be in a situation where you cannot close your position out because of a failure at your end (not the exchange).

UPS are uninterruptable power supplies. The provide electricity if the mains (utility) fails. There are usually three levels of UPS, so go with the thrid type which is double-conversion.

Second internet connection as back up. Medium speed, different carrier or provider than the primary, different type if possible.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) for backing up everything. Usually two hard drives in RAID1, but one drive will do. It's better than nothing. Or off-site back-up.

Good firewall and simple anti-virus measures (Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D) or a fully paid Big Name anti-virus. It's up to you. Depends on how many porn and casino sites you're visiting while trading :non: 

Maybe a second computer, but make it a laptop with wireless broadband. Doesn't have to be super quick. It's for the occasion when you need to escape the burning building while in the middle of said $2 million trade. Hopefully you won't need it.

and so on. Plan for these contengencies at your end. Only you can decide the risk involved and either dismiss it or, if accepting it, then implementing a course of action to guard against it.


make sure you get cable and dsl internet connections.

Get a ups the bigger the better.

http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/index.cfm

use this link to get the right one. This will help with power failure.
This will at least give you time to close down your positions.

as for malicious software, dont download porn, music or videos from torrent sites.

Most virus's are recieved by people who pirate, watch porn, download free software from unknown sorces, facebook, messenger has spread virus's or clicking on links in emails. Virus infection are down to ignorance and nothing else..

I would not do any of the above. Buy a cheap laptop if you do.

Do not go for a free internet security setup. I prefer Kaspersky over Mcafee and Norton.

Install Malwarebytes, Spybot is too intrusive for my liking but its okish.

As for backing up get two hard disks in the machine and get Acronis to mirror image the hard disk once a week

It only takes half and hour and its well worth it. If hard disk goes wrong boot from the other.

Also get and external hard disk for data backup.

How many monitors do you want, I have set up 3 on a trading system. Its really easy to do.
September 14, 2009 8:04:16 AM

Probably 4 monitors - one for my spreadsheets, one for the trading screen, one for newswires and one for charts&prices.

No, no intention to download porn/music/videos (that would be drifting too far from my original intentions for a faster pc... :(  ).

Tks for the suggestions...
a b à CPUs
September 14, 2009 8:44:59 PM

theterrible said:
Probably 4 monitors - one for my spreadsheets, one for the trading screen, one for newswires and one for charts&prices.

No, no intention to download porn/music/videos (that would be drifting too far from my original intentions for a faster pc... :(  ).

Tks for the suggestions...


Get a sli / crossfire system. The video cards dont have to be that special a couple of 9800gtx's will be fine for what you want.

Youll need a dual 16x pci slot mobo - go for a i5 or a i7 and use two cards in that.
a b à CPUs
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2009 12:34:37 AM

I5 if you are not going to run any cards that are x2 or GX2 and won't cost to much but don't run two x2 cards that would be a waste when each gpu is only getting 4x pCI-e lanes (that is what made the early quad sli setups perform like crap besides drivers. 8gb should be enough for a few years knowing micro$oft. There has been a rumor that if one knew when the banks or any other institution that has automated bidding system when it was going to make a buy or sell that they if they have a fast enough system even the beat the white shoe boys to the punch by even by a few milliseconds could make loads of money. Even though the FED has rigged the markets for decades.
a b à CPUs
September 15, 2009 2:14:37 PM

Hellboy said:
Get a sli / crossfire system. The video cards dont have to be that special a couple of 9800gtx's will be fine for what you want.

Youll need a dual 16x pci slot mobo - go for a i5 or a i7 and use two cards in that.


Surrondview = waaaay cheapa
a b à CPUs
September 15, 2009 3:00:21 PM

amdfangirl said:
Surrondview = waaaay cheapa



you can get a 9800gtx real cheap now, around £60 over here plus the vat..

I mean 4 monitor outputs for 120 plus the vat is cheap.

a b à CPUs
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2009 3:19:33 PM

Hellboy said:
you can get a 9800gtx real cheap now, around £60 over here plus the vat..

I mean 4 monitor outputs for 120 plus the vat is cheap.


Not bad plus with SLI being able to play games and not have choppy FPS is an extra treat when the markets are closed.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
a b C Monitor
October 29, 2010 1:12:40 AM

Or do like I did:
Xeon E5640 quad-core processor (12mb cache, 5.86 GTs)
ATI NVS 420 quad-monitor card
12gb 1333mhz tri-channel optimized RAM
250gb 7200rpm HD (this I might upgrade in the future to a small but fast (sata 6.0gb) SSD)
win 7 prof
four 24" acer monitors (1920 x 1080), thinner bezel (but not thinnest)
one ergotron 4-mon stand from ebay

all for less than $3k shipped

and then like recommended above, keep it clean with few non-essential programs, a low-load anti-virus/anti-malware and a UPS, dsl connection, cable connection, 3g/4g connection and a fast laptop w/ big screen on the side ready to go in case....the UPS/modem/laptop will be another $2k for top-quality stuff.

That should be pretty fail-proof....you could be trading inside a little bunker even during a Tornado! lol
!