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Help -- need a workhorse for electronic trading and gaming

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July 27, 2009 12:18:08 AM

I'm pretty dumb at this. I need to build a desktop for electronic trading. I will use my existing desktops (2) for peripheral tasks, but want to build a good workhorse for all the heavy lifting such as order interface with streaming APIs, statistical/quantitative number crunching, etc., and of course to play MORPG and 3D games as well as to broadcast webinars with live streaming video. Eventually I will buy another and completely phase out the two desktop dinosaurs.

APPROX PURCHASE DATE: Immediately

BUDGET RANGE: $1500-$2000, but will go higher if needed.

SYSTEM USAGE: Trading, statistical database and spreadsheet calcs, webinars w/ video broadcast, gaming (Supreme Commander, waiting impatiently for StarCraft II), lots of internet research and active content.

PARTS NOT REQ'D: Monitors, modem, speakers, keyboard, mouse, OS.

PREFERRED SOURCES: NewEgg, Tiger Direct, etc.

PARTS PREFS: Prefer Intel Core i7-920, with the rest built around it; need a powerful mobo that supports both SLI and Crossfire and has more than two PCIe slots and will last for a few years; need at least 6GB DDR3 RAM.

OVERCLOCKING: Prefer the option of toggling on/off depending on reqs -- is this possible?

SLI/CROSSFIRE: No pref for one or the other, just want what's best for the CPU and the tasks involved. Card(s) should be very fast.

MONITOR RES: Min 1920x1080, although I will initially be using less, but will be connecting at least two now, three in the near future, and quite possibly four at some point. In other words, I need lots of capacity that I can step into.

ADD'L COMMENTS: Are solid state drives possible in this price range? I have an external drive that I can use for storage. Are they worth it? Otherwise, need a reasonably fast hard drive and very fast RAM to pull and process historical tick data. Will eventually go to full wireless, so a good wireless network card is needed. Will stay with CAT-5 for now. Would like to connect up to four hi-res monitors to this machine, so will prob need at least two video cards -- would like strong mid-range or possibly a reasonably priced high end (if there is such a thing). Is it too much to ask that this computer be very well powered *and* cooled *and* yet quiet as well? And I don't really care what it looks like, because it will be sitting under a very large desk and out of sight.

-----------------

If anyone thinks I'm unrealistic in my expectations of what is required, please educate me. I'm shopping hungry at the moment so I'm probably asking for more than I need. Or maybe I'm not asking for enough?...
July 27, 2009 3:19:11 AM

Intel Core i7 920 processor - $280
(2x) 6GB DDR3 ram kits - $200 (100ea)
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 mobo -$300
WD 1TB Hardrive w/32mb cache size -$100
AFM cpu cooler (optional) - $70
Ati Radeon 4850X2 graphics card -$220
Case, anything that looks good to you and is of decent quality and cooling - ~$150
DVD burner - $25
Corsair TX 750w PSU - $120

The Radeon 4850X2 is a powerful graphics card that is roughly equivalent to a GTX 280 in performance and has 4 VGA connectors.

You could also go with two 4870X2's which would give the best gaming performance but if you wanted to hook up 4 monitors you would have to disable crossfire.

A good and very popular case is the antec 1200 with triple front fans, dual rear fans, a giant topfan, and space on the side panel to put an additional fan. Very Very good cooling and if you dont like the bright lights you can replace the fans.
July 27, 2009 3:33:55 AM
Related resources
July 27, 2009 3:35:41 AM

Lets see what we come up with.

1. ASUS P6T: $239.99
2. Intel BX80601920: $279.99
3. OCZ Technology, Inc. OCZ3G1600LV6GK: $99.99
4. Intel Intel BunnyPeople: $19.99

Combo Discount: -$81.99
Combo Price: $557.97 Free Shipping
$10.00 Mail-In Rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black $119.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W Modular Power Supply - Retail $164.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe MUGEN-2 $36.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound - Retail $9.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Right now SSD prices are still high, but should be lower near end of year. Would go with this HDD.
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache $74.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Since you did not specify size of Monitor, here are two 23" monitors.
LG W2353V-PF Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Full HD 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 50000:1 w/ Smart Package - Retail $209.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Acer X233Hbid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 40000:1 (ACM) - Retail $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here are a few ATI and nVidia Graphic cards that should work for you.
ATI
XFX HD-489A-ZDFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $194.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $149.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

nVidia
XFX GX275XAHFF GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $209.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $239.99 ($219.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner $26.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now to the Operating System. My suggestion would be to download Windows 7RC and then buy the full version when it comes out. You should get the 64-bit version, but if that is too much of a chore, then go with Vista Prem. 64-bit.

Download Link for Windows 7 RC
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/download...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM $99.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Full - Retail $299.99 Free Shipping* (Release Date:10/22/2009)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers and other items you will need for build.
Logitech X-540 70 watts 5.1 Speaker - Retail $78.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now on your Keyboard, do not know if you want Wired or Wireless (Bluetooth, RF or IR) so went with this one below.
ABS M1 Heavy Duty Professional Gaming Mechanical Keyboard - Retail $44.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech MX518 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 1800 dpi Gaming-Grade Mouse - Retail $39.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You will need this Cable extension for bottom mounted PSU.
1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable Model CB-8M-8F - Retail $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Price with Win7 RC, pair of XFX 4870 and pair of the Acer 23" monitor comes to $1828.83 before Shipping costs and mail in rebates.

Price with Win7 RC, pair of EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 and pair of the LG W2353V-PF 23" monitor comes to $2068.83 before Shipping costs and mail in rebates.



Hope this helps you out.
July 27, 2009 5:59:53 AM

@FLanighan: Thanks for this. Very clear and it looks good. How quiet is that Antec 1200 case? It seems to have more fans than a Geisha convention...not that this is a bad thing.
July 27, 2009 6:01:22 AM

@Yoosty: Thanks for all this info. It was very helpful. Appreciate the info on peripherals as well.
July 27, 2009 6:30:29 PM

The deluxe comes with a slightly improved audio chip and a SAS controller, the ASUS deluxe boards tend to come with better heat sinks for the chipset but both of them seem to have pretty good ones.
July 27, 2009 6:35:15 PM

@All: I need a GUTCHECK. I've read through everything you had to say and wanted to list what I ended up with:

1. Antec 1200 full tower $169.99
2. Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V PSU $109.99
3. Zalman 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler $59.98
4. VIZO Copper Sleet Chipset Cooler $13.99
5. Intel i7-920 LGA 1366 $279.99
6. Asus P6T Deluxe V2 $289.99
7. Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 1600 $159.99
8. 2x GeForce GTX 275 $280.02 (pr)
9. WD Caviar 640GB SATA $79.99

Questions:
1. Will all the little children play nicely together? I don't want any fights on the playground.
2. Am I overdoing it for what is required?
3. Do I need additional cooling for the twin GTXs? They already appear to have sufficient cooling, but just wanted to know.
4. How long should I expect to keep this setup without having to upgrade any major components if I continue to use it for the same purposes?
5. Should water cooling in my future? Does this add any benefit, such as prolonging CPU life, reducing temp by more than a couple degrees C, etc.?

What do you all think?


Thanks for your help.
July 27, 2009 7:50:35 PM

hunter315 said:
Dominators BAD! They are overpriced and slower than their OCZ equivalent.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CL7 and significantly cheaper

Dont get the chipset cooler the ones on the asus board are pretty good


Thx hunter. Looked at Kingston, Corsair, Crucial Ballistix, Mushkin, et al. I must have spent several hours reading reviews and admittedly didn't even look at OCZ. I'll check these guys out. Reviews for Mushkin were good. Kingston reviews were mixed to bad. Seems something happened with their supplier of DDR3 -- it's probably killed their business. Crucial reviews were good. Corsair reviews for the 1600 were decidedly good and there where many, many reviews so bias from manufacturer shills should not have been a factor. Any reason not to trust those?
July 27, 2009 11:37:16 PM

theLonelyTrader said:
@All: I need a GUTCHECK. I've read through everything you had to say and wanted to list what I ended up with:

Questions:
1. Will all the little children play nicely together? I don't want any fights on the playground.
2. Am I overdoing it for what is required?
3. Do I need additional cooling for the twin GTXs? They already appear to have sufficient cooling, but just wanted to know.
4. How long should I expect to keep this setup without having to upgrade any major components if I continue to use it for the same purposes?
5. Should water cooling in my future? Does this add any benefit, such as prolonging CPU life, reducing temp by more than a couple degrees C, etc.?

What do you all think?


Thanks for your help.

Looks good, but would change 1 item and use the Combo for 2 others, will list those below.

To answer your Question #1, change your Cpu Cooler. The two listed below are very good and will not block.cover any ram slots if you want to go to 12gb of ram.

On your #3 choice, would go with either of these two below. They cool the cpu better and cost less.
Scythe MUGEN-2 $36.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail $44.98 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Below is a Reviews on 1366 Cpu HSF Coolers that you should check out on why we here do suggest a certain Cpu cooler.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i...

Now on your #5 & 6 choices, instead of buying separately, get the Combo of it and save an additional $75.94.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Drop your #4 selection, you do not need it.

On your #7 selection, the Corsair Dominators is a great choice, but you can save money by going with OCZ 1600 Gold or EMP series ( where you could get 2 kits of 3x2gb for total of 12gb).
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 OCZ3G1600LV6GK $99.99 ($89.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 OCZ3X1600LV6GK $99.99 ($89.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now on your #8 selection : MSI is a good choice, but they only have a 3yr warranty compared to BFG, EVGA and XFX cards. So my choice would be any of the 3 that I mention that have Lifetime warranty.

Question 2 : No
Question 3 : No , since the case you picked has great airflow and you can download EVGA Precision 1.71 to control fan speed and OC graphic card speed if you wish to.
http://downloads.guru3d.com/EVGA-Precision-1.7.1-downlo...
Question 4 : Could last you a few years, unless you decide to go with SSD in the future or newer Graphic cards.
Question 5 : That is a tough one to answer. If you will be heavily Overclocking the CPU, then yes. But if it is only a mild OC (that can be done without raising Cpu voltage) then no.

Hope this helps you out some more.

July 28, 2009 12:06:27 AM

Yoosty said:
Hope this helps you out some more.


Hell yeah it does. You just cut my costs by a couple hundred bucks. Now I can get the more expensive EVGA cards. This site is the freakin' bomb.

I'm definitely a fan.
July 29, 2009 4:25:19 PM

BTW all, I've given you three (and Tom's site) your due props. You can see the final result here --

Update: New system build

Thanks to all three who chipped in and kept me safe from myself. Maybe someday I'll be able to help someone else out here, if I'm ever educated enough on what works and what doesn't.

Cheers
!