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Review: i7 920 Hex-LCD Trader and Automated Trade Simulator

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March 20, 2010 4:52:26 AM

Summary: i7 920 overclocked workstation with hex (6) monitors in a 2 row by 3 monitor configuration. 3 5670's 1G ddr5's are used to drive the 6 monitors. In retirement I may invest in active displayport encoders to allow for dual crossfire eyefinity using the 2 x16's. The primary purpose of the machine is to manage client FOREX accounts and develop test simulate automated trading enhancements to our proprietary automated trading software.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: near immediate

BUDGET RANGE: < 4000.00 see link for details

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
  • FOREX MT4 Expert Agent Automated trading program development and simulation
  • Multiple Currency Trade analysis and order maintenance
  • Client account management and maintnenance
  • Media tuner future
  • Games future

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Peripherals

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
  • http://newegg.com
  • http://buy.com
  • http://amazon.com
  • http://centralcomputers.com
  • http://performancepc.com
  • http://zipzoomfly.com
  • http://easymountlcd.com

    PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type Premium

    OVERCLOCKING: Yes

    CROSSFIRE: Maybe

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: Hex ACER 2x3@2048x1152

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: POWER, looks irrelevant, will upgrade to Water Cool after learning and converting a closet pc first as well as lapping

    :hello:  UPDATED Parts list with full vendor linked pages prices etc. http://VampireTradingNetwork.com/buildlist/

    [CLICK image to enlarge]

    STATEMENT:
    I completely forgot about Tom's until my brother reminded, I turned him onto it way back when... win 3.1 95 or 98 A long long time ago. Since then corporate america was supplying me with sun's linux and thinkpads so there has been no need to think things through... What a headache the last month has been...

    I thank you all in advance for the great information I think I have put together what should be an awesome machine to carry me for a while... until Windows requires 12 Gig to run that is.

    The areas that i know I could use some criticism are the PSU, and graphics see discussion.

    DISCUSSION:
    Mobo Processor:

    One of my vendors is upgrading their VM's to 24Gig and graciously gave me 12Gig triple channel. since this was worth 350.00 and climbing it forced me toward the i7 rather than my planned Phenom X4 965 I had been longing for since AMD blew it and I built a dual core. Since I started my career a long time ago as an assembler programmer (GEEK) I have always disliked intel for complicating the heck out of CPU architectures ( AX BE DX EX FX ...)

    So for a mobo I decided to spend the extra dollars and get the new P6x58D Premium, hopefully it will support my near growth, even though something will always come to replace the early adapter. It also supports my HDD's and USB3 :bounce:  I am sure I will get to use that real soon.

    Memory
    6G OCZ3P1333LV6G 2units 7-7-7-20 1.65 Really good overclock results. AND IT IS FREE, I had my choice over Patriot Extreme and Kinston HyperV all at 7-7-7

    HDD:
    HDD's are a pair of RAID WD Caviar Black 6G to match the card and come in at 101 on the top drive list. These I plan to partition the heck out of since I have looked in detail at my 750's and see that stuff I never look at has replaced the outer edge of my drive after all the defrags. :fou: 

    The partitions will be created to match the priority and relevance having the mp3's and crap on the inside of the drive, and development on the outside. This will keep my important files on the edge where they belong and the crap MP3 files and Coast to Coast AM on the inside of the drive where it belongs. This also makes for wicked efficient and fast defrags.

    SDD:
    These were on sale for Valentines day so I got a pair of 64G for the OS and Application installation. YOW!!! I can;t wait to experience that for myself... You know what I mean, you read others experience in envy of the 5 sec boots and near instant post of applications. :bounce: 

    A Question: It is my understanding that games ( I have not had time for games in years) are optimized for the GPU so there is no sense in installing them to SSD. Please confirm.

    The SDD is primarily for Processing stuff like Office, Business, Visual Studio, Editors etc.

    Displays:
    Required was a 4 - 6 display workstation. You can't believe what my days are like now spread between a dual 1600x1200 and 2 laptops, well one is for remote around the house or in the bedroom if a trade is operational. I was looking at getting 4 Samsung 24" 16x10 2 with HDTV tuners. well dear ole newegg had that wonderful sale on the ACER 23.5 with a 2048x1152 display for 199.99. This allowed my to get my 6 units for the price of 4. DONE! My only regret will be that I did not purchase 5 + one HDTV. I'll take comment hear that i should have no problem when I purchase a multi media card.

    Monitor Stand
    While we are here I might as well get this off, The vendor I show Easy Mount LCD, is 1/3 the cost of everyone else, If you are in to this type of display you know that you are in the 550 to 750 range very easily. Look at the spec sheets. this mount is a standard 2 inch piping. The C clamp is NOT GOOD ENOUGH IMO so I will see about install blocks to the desk to beef it up or welding a plate for through mounting to desk. Alternatively I am sure you acn get a stock through mount stand for 100.00 still keeping the cost of a 2x3 under 400.00. I will right a review when I have this installed. The arms are all standard construction material and the ACER's are well in range of their capacity.

    Graphics
    My first intent is to drive 3 displays... finally, obscurely, I found the displayport problem with the multiport cards. For those that don't know, in most multiport card you can only drive three monitors providing that you must use the displayport. Others suggest getting an ACTIVE!!! displayport encoder to dvi/hdmi. These cost and addition 100+ so at 99 a card I opted for 3 XFX 5670's. This is really cool I am waiting for, FUTURE of course, the mobo has ht ecrossfire going for the two main cards, should I decide to got for the encoder I can drive the two x16 in eyefinity for 6144x3456 :pt1cable:  This of course is a pipe dream.

    I decided to spring the extra 20 bucks to bring the cards from 512M to 1 Gig. All the reviews seem to be great, they are regular sized low power consumption (comparatively) and seemingly quite.

    I don't have an immediate need overclocking the graphics since this is primarily a development machine. Though I guess these cards are capable of it. :hello:  OR DO I HAVE TO if I am overclocking the processor? At any rate I am not a game geek, though I liked the Empire Earth series.

    Again the mobo gives me plenty of room and good leverage for the three graphics cards (Plus I am hoping the Multimedia card).

    Suggestion for Multimedia card: :hello: 
    tuner, DVR etc.

    BLUERAY
    Do I have to go out and buy software that I am not including in my accessories. The problem with DIY burners, for me, is that I don't ever get what I need.

    :hello:  Suggestions?

    Case: HAF 932. Don't need any other suggestions Antec 1200 have it, betting in HAF for what I am looking for.
    :hello: QUESTION IS, growth to Water Cool is there enough space for what I am doing?

    PSU:
    I know I am over-killing this at this point. I have used several calculators which have said I was in range of the 750Watt. I started out with the 850HX, then thinking of the future with Water cool, overclocking possible never graphics cards... NEW BUILD???

    Well is 1000watts overkill? I could go for the 950TX but then again it is less than 45.00 for safety.

    Conclusion
    I am very curious to see how well I did at deciphering Tom's this week, There have been several mistakes that I would have made with the graphics card to the case. I know I am spending extra money hear and there, please advise if it is a complete waste considering I am having my company pay for it, Mind you it is my pay check as well since I have 2 partners so I am not going nuts. The fact that I have a 6 display trade workstation for under 4K that should be able to get 3.2 G without trying and hope push higher in the future is satisfying.

    Thanks you in advance for your comments and help.

    John McGlaughlin
    Exec VP Vampire Trading Network, Inc.
    http://VampireTradingNetwork.com
    March 20, 2010 3:48:12 PM

    Hi Alvin,

    I've been pretty much everywhere looking at what is offered, the mean is 550 - 775, and then the gougers at 1200 - 2000. DigitalTigers is not bad at 2700 complete, but that is still double my cost if I went for the high end stand (and less resolution)

    The price on a through desk poll should run about 125.00 give or take, not having it in front of me. The arms are the costly part of multi display systems so I will check their quality against a local retailer here in Raleigh.
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    March 20, 2010 4:05:17 PM

    Well, going over 4 displays complicates things just a bit (I think) ...

    Eyefinity, for instance, handles up to (only) x4 displays (pretty sure) ...

    I don't know how many displays Win7-Pro64 handles natively, but I wouldn't be surprised if it could handle 6 mons without any proprietary desktop sw... I'd verify that, tho.

    I'm just saying ... look at what turnkey trader system providers are doing ...
    ... act like a customer with pre-sales questions and ask about the mounts and the GPUs, just as a matter of "quality assurance" and also (re:sw) to assure that the GPUs are compatible with aux/ancilliary apps, etc.

    Pump the humpers for all they're worth ... then burn the middleman !.

    = Al =
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    March 20, 2010 4:22:17 PM

    I see very little wrong with the build, aside from the 5670s not being very good gaming cards, though I realize that isn't your primary purpose. They may be ok for gaming in CrossFire (or Tri-), but as is, they're more of an HTPC video card. Based on your primary usage though, I don't see this as a flaw, simply a design choice. In general, it looks like you really did your research on the build.

    The largest change I would make would be to buy an i7-930 instead of the i7-920.

    SSDs - You've already purchased your SSDs, otherwise, I'd have suggested taking a look at the Corsiar Nova 128 GB SSD, as it has higher read & writes and is still a pretty decent price at $320. The OCZ SSDs do appear to be pretty popular though, and in RAID, they should scream.

    The only ways in which games will really benefit from being installed on SSDs is that they will launch quickly, and if there are transition points where levels are loaded, those will fly by. There is likely to be no other performance advantage to be gained (such as vs. other players using traditional drives in a competitive game).

    TV Tuner - As far as TV Tuner cards, I just installed a Hauppauge 2250 in a computer, and it seemed serviceable. Windows 7 was happy with it right away. Lots of people are suggesting that if you're thinking of going with a tv tuner, you might want to wait for things to get sorted out, as current cards can only receive the 20-30 descrambled channels that are broadcast, you still need a cable box to get the full lineup. There's supposed to be something in the works, but I haven't really done any research on it.

    Blu-ray - A retail Blu-ray drive should come with the necessary software. Right now, I would only look at Blu-ray readers, it seems like very few people should have need of Blu-ray burners. I would probably go with this Blu-ray combo drive (does DVD R/W as well) for just over $120 with shipping. You could spend a little more to get one with better newegg reviews, but I tend not to trust the average newegg user's technical competence and rarely pay attention to the reviews. If you feel that you really need a Blu-ray burner, this sold-out $189 model would be my first choice. The only other option on newegg is $250.

    Case - I haven't used them myself, but from everything I've heard, you won't find a roomier case than the HAF 932. If there isn't room inside it for water cooling, something is very wrong.

    PSU - I would be comfortable going with 850 W.
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    March 20, 2010 4:22:18 PM

    LOL [Alvin]

    Agreed. I have the multi display software so that is not a problem.

    Note that there are 3 eyefinity cards I would, IF I WERE, get the display port encoder. I would imaging that, given the demo adds, it is two eyefinitys running to display the 2x3.

    No matter, this is a work machine and i am a workaholic for at least one more year. If all goes as expected I will be looking at one of theses.

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    March 20, 2010 5:35:15 PM

    coldsleep said:
    I see very little wrong with the build, aside from the 5670s not being very good gaming cards, though I realize that isn't your primary purpose. They may be ok for gaming in CrossFire (or Tri-), but as is, they're more of an HTPC video card. Based on your primary usage though, I don't see this as a flaw, simply a design choice. In general, it looks like you really did your research on the build.

    o
    o
    o

    PSU - I would be comfortable going with 850 W.


    If I were to, say in the future, move to a pair of 5870 would the 850 still be enough. Well I can run that through the calculator can't I.

    Thanks for the reply and info.
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    March 20, 2010 6:24:00 PM


    I believe the 5670s were specifically designed with you (and me : edit/render) in mind ...

    I believe it is the lowest eyefinity card available and has respectable memory bandwidth and 3D rendering potential ... at least for budget (non QuadroFx) video edit rigs. ... Still, *I* am going with nVidia, because it mimmics Quadro and Adobe likes Quadro.

    For YOU ??? 4670s perfect (not for gaming, tho) ...

    I think the thing is that the 4570 (45xx) are at least as good, for gaming, and cheaper BUT (apparently) do not support eyefinity. Still have not learned the NATIVE limits or flexibility of Win7-Pro64, regarding multi-displays ... I just know that it has native handling for multiple displays ... but I do not have a clue as to how many mons or what arrangements/layouts are supported NATIVELY, by Win7, all by it's lonesome.

    ???????

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    March 22, 2010 3:40:39 AM

    Finalizing build,

    for sure CPU modification i7 930

    graphics cards I was spending 128 x 3 or about 384 bucks, I am merging Alvin and Coldsleeps suggestions by doing the following.

    2x XFX 5770 320
    1x XFX 4650 63 HEY save a buck and have tremendous gaming power for my
    needs

    drop back to an 850watt PSU

    And that should be a final.
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    March 22, 2010 3:48:21 AM

    I don't see that you need the 4650 at all ....

    I am almost (!) 100% sure that those two 5770s will push six 1920x1200(1080P)

    = Alvin =

    Confirm that ?

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    March 22, 2010 4:44:29 AM

    Actually I am bummed :cry:  :(  I think I have to search again for a new mother obard and perhaps dump the HDD's as well since there are few SATA # 6G out there... Yet

    The 5770 and ALL ATI cards can only run 3 displays with a displayport which means more conversion. With that sad fact perhaps I have to move to quadro, I think there are 4 port SLI's out there. The 5770s are capable of doing 3 2560x1600 BUT using the display-port
    Quote:
    Driver version 8.66 (Catalyst 9.10) or above is required to support ATI Eyefinity technology and to enable a third display you require one panel with a DisplayPort connector


    The Whole PCIe thing is confusing to me...

    As I said I have been out of the HW loop for to long and over a half century LOL I don't really understand the x16 x8 x8 vs x16 x16 x1, obviously the two 5770's need the x16x16 but does that mean I have no BW left over for another graphics card or Multimedia?

    I was going for the 4650 because it was cheap and 1 gig, at this point on those two monitors all I need is any combination of 2 DVI/HDMI to get me my 2048x1152. Those monitors are pretty much dedicated to low resolution 256 color candle graphs

    So perhaps the way to go NOW is 3 4890 in x16 x8 x8 :heink: 
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    March 22, 2010 5:06:34 AM

    I am now thinking that it will be less hassle ....
    hmm now that I rethink that, I probably should dump two of the ACERs and get wither the Dell or NEC monitors with display port since the hack adapters will run 99-140 bucks each and the low end Dell has a tendency to sleep inappropriately on you.

    display port Adapter on new monitors >>>>>>>>> the saga continues.

    Of course I am looking forward to you telling me to buy a 25 dollar card for m 1x that will drive the extra two monitors
    LOL
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    March 22, 2010 5:10:36 AM

    WHAT AM I THINKING
    It is too late.
    ACER I am sure is on the horizon with a Displayport I just update the monitors deal with the slight color issues and recycle the current monitors to the kids.

    I am hopping that I am not screwed on dirving 2048x1152 on a 1X PCIe

    OR
    What do I loose on the 5770 running at 16x 8X
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    March 22, 2010 5:15:33 AM

    The 5770s running at 16x and 8x should only affect gaming, and it'll be a relatively minimal loss, nothing to worry about. (Gaming only really suffers when you drop down to 4x or 1x .) The 1x would concern me a little, though there's a chance normal office-type activity would be fine (no guarantees on that though).

    And yes, it is too late. Go to sleep. :p 
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    March 22, 2010 5:16:18 AM



    That was rhetorical and not serious ... no reply expected.
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    March 22, 2010 5:20:32 PM

    coldsleep said:
    The 5770s running at 16x and 8x should only affect gaming, and it'll be a relatively minimal loss, nothing to worry about. (Gaming only really suffers when you drop down to 4x or 1x .) The 1x would concern me a little, though there's a chance normal office-type activity would be fine (no guarantees on that though).

    And yes, it is too late. Go to sleep. :p 

    So then I can run 16 16 1 see if it is ok for the work displays, When not then goto 16 8 8

    Your happy with the 5770's

    I am trying to find out what all the problem issues are with them, It seems to be misconfiguration and running non 11x drivers.

    Did you have any opinions on NV, from what I see I get a bigger bang out of the ATI and I will likely not notice since I program more than play.

    As a last question

    How does one know which ATI vender is better than the next and which card is the latest version the sights SUCK.

    From what I can tell (hype) XFX is top and a toss up with Sapphire. The Sapphire Vapor looks like it may be a bit quieter though the 5770 series is supposed to be dramatically quite. Since most of the time I am NOT gaming I don't wish to listen to graphic fans after damping out the HDD's.

    Thanks so much to you both.
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    March 22, 2010 7:04:21 PM

    Sapphire Vapor *IS* the best built card there is ... Sapphire and PNY rule !!

    GO WITH SAPPHIRE OR PNY ... Yeah ... VaporX is cooler and quieter and CO$T$ $$

    Sapphire has been getting rave reviews from serious testers for well over a decade, now. They build nVidia AND Ati cards (always have) and are touted for having very low RFI (because they use Japanese coils and caps) ... I am pretty certain that graphics cards is all Saphire makes.

    PNY makes Quadro workstation cards ... I definately trust THEM ...

    For nVidia GPUs, I also include EVGA, in my searches ... they do nVidia right.

    I would take a Gigabyte or an ASUS or even an XFX or MSI, if it was alot cheaper.
    I have a BFG GT7200 ... It is a good, quiet card ... no probs.

    MAttrox makes very good multi-head (3 & 4 display) cards, but they suck for gaming and, for editing, forget AVID, but works great for most video edit sw.

    So there is my prioritized list of favorites ... sparkle, powercolor, nah ... And, with BFG, it depends on the model ... read the reviews ... cheaper cards have noisy fans.

    = ALVIN = Sapphire ... PNY ...
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    March 22, 2010 8:16:32 PM

    I'm pretty certain there isn't a lot of difference between most of the vendors for video cards. XFX does typically have a lifetime (or sometimes a double-lifetime) warranty for their cards, which is attractive, but going with another vendor isn't foolish, by any means.

    To be honest, I'm currently planning my next build and I don't have recent experience with ATI except for helping my dad with a pre-built recently.

    Of course, the graphics card happened to be a 5770, and there were some issues. The latest driver from the vendor didn't seem to help, but the latest driver from ATI seems to be working. All it took was going to the ATI website and downloading the latest version of Catalyst. I haven't heard the fan on that card kick in on normal usage at all.

    I don't have any opinion on current nVidia cards (if that's what you meant by "NV"), at a very few select price points they seem to be a better option for gamers, but as far as running multi-displays for office use, it seems like they're behind.

    Since it doesn't seem like money is a huge obstacle, my recommendation would be to go with 2x 5770, get 2x powered displayport adapters, and run 6 screens off the 2 cards, and then CrossFire them if/when you want to game (note: CrossFire doesn't currently support multiple screens, but they're apparently working on that). I believe that ends up being about $200 more expensive (the adapters) than the 3x5670 solution, but I believe you'll be happier with it.
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    March 22, 2010 8:27:11 PM

    Too bad it is not an AM3 890 ... You could use onboard graphics for 2 monitors.
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    March 23, 2010 12:46:45 PM

    Updated specs going on final check

    http://VampireTradingNetwork.com/buildlist


    The biggest issue at this time is the completely bogus Quality Control on the DisaplayPort/Dual DVI and the continued mixed message between ATI Vendors and the Dongle manufacturers. I am sure this will get sorted out. I am surprised that the Card manufactures are not supplying Dongles that Work for their cards. They could actually charge 25% more and assure their market share.

    doh! :o 
    SAPPHIRE Solves Eyefinity Issue with Active DisplayPort Adapter 12/19/2009
    http://www.techpowerup.com/110927/SAPPHIRE_Solves_Eyefi...
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    March 28, 2010 11:01:40 PM

    http://chipsandmemory.com

    is one of me vendors server suppliers specializing in i7 systems. At his request I sent him my build list. The quote response is that I have an acceptable system and they can virtually build it for less than I can get the components myself for.

    Total cost for list items excluding the ACER monitors and Windows 7 was 3200.00 with the only item change on their part the Thermaltake 850W supply which cost more retail (quantity) and the 5770 looks to be ATI not the vapor I wanted. The other advantage of this supplier is that you can supply personal parts for the build (subject to installation surcharge)

    NOTE: Unfortunately you will be subject to sales tax if in North Carolina, I am not sure of other states but I have a tax ID.

    If someone could quote my last post with the build list as best answer I would appreciate it
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    !