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Old June 12, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Default Best CPU for stock trading

Hello Linus,
My question is some what different to what has been posted in this forum before. I am a futures and options trader and I am in the process of building my new trading computer.
The main issue I am concerned with, is the CPU processor (and motherboard) that I should be using.
I dont seem to find any benchmarks that would help me decide as the requirements for financial traders are completely different to those of gamers. The main platform I will use is multi-threaded
For instance, I currently need to have six monitors running two different trading platforms with 16 charts and other program specific windows, all requiring real time data. Also, I need to have real time news streamed and a few web browsers open. I usually have my pc on for at least 9 hours a day. No gaming, exclusively for work. Worht mentioning, I dont intend to overclock
It is very hard to find specific studies on this. Most companies that build trading computers recommend using an Intel high end processor but that is definitely not an option for me. Others claim that as a minimum, an i7 2600k should be used but that the i7 3770k would be the way to go.
Im not sure if these processors would be a bit of an overkill as a home day trader. I know banks use high end processors through their servers and that have direct connections to the exchange, but unfortunately that is not an option for smaller traders like myself.
For short, a trading computer needs to be fast, reliable, durable, quiet and extremely stable. At the moment I am on a tight budget so I was considering the AMD bulldozers. The FX4170 looks tempting or maybe something higher than that? I will eventually be able to upgrade but for the moment I need something cheap but with the characteristics I mentioned before. (I already have two Matrox M9140 graphics cards)
Some guidance would be much appreciated.
Cheers

Last edited by Nando; June 12, 2012 at 09:07 AM.
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Old June 12, 2012, 09:25 AM
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You need a really good internet connection, multiple graphics cards for all your monitors, and an i3 would be plenty enough power for your needs, unless the stock programs are demanding on your resources, then in that case grab a quad core CPU.These graphics cards can support 5 monitors on a single card so would be something to take into account when needing support for 6 monitors.
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Old June 12, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Your two matrox cards should be more than enough for you to run 6 monitors (each one is capable of 4). I'd say pick up a quad core Intel processor and a lot of RAM, say 8GB or so.

That being said, one of the 8-core bulldozer processors will have more than enough power for your multi-threaded applications, and be easier on the wallet, too.

The 8150 is on sale for $210 right now at NCIX,
and the M5A97 is on sale for $95.99.
Round out the system with a Crucial M4 256GB SSD on sale for $215
and some Kingston 2x4GB RAM for $54

and you've basically got a complete system for under $600, plus powersupply and case.

I think you'd have a hard time finding a new intel platform with an SSD for that kind of money.
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Old June 12, 2012, 10:12 AM
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The 8 core bulldozer sounds like a good option. I could even buy an extra monitor with the savings from an Intel system.
Thanks a lot
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Old June 12, 2012, 10:29 AM
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And take a look at the server boards from Supermicro, Asus and Tyan. Better built to last the long run.
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Old June 12, 2012, 01:33 PM
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Can you explain the charting program a bit more? Is it just drawing in data over a network and graph on the fly or are you graphing by crunching your own numbers? If you use Intel, there's no point in using a K type since you aren't going to overclock it. As other suggest, get a lot of RAM. Right now you can get 16 GB for $100, FX-8120 for ~$170, and board for ~$120. The main issue is running 2x M9140 as it is PCI-e 16x. I don't see any boards on Newegg that runs 2x 16x and the max I see is 1x 16x and 1x 8x (both sockets are 16x tho). You may want to contact Matrox and ask them if the card will run in a 16x socket that runs at 8x speed.

If you want, start with 8GB and see how the computer runs. If you need more just by another pair.
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Old June 12, 2012, 05:32 PM
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i honestly don't see how a stock application would be cpu intensive....they're just basic math calculators and graph builders. I mean, it might be a little tough for an Atom to handle, but even an i3 chip should take care of it no problem.

i think what you should be focusing on is getting 16gb of ram (this is like $100 max...) and an SSD. with a good internet connection, that should take care of everything.

EDIT: are the 4 module Bulldozers even helpful? they still only have 4 FP units.
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Old June 12, 2012, 07:04 PM
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You're barely going to utilize a Core i5/i7. You are the client not the server. A Core i5 2500 is enough, just make sure you have enough video cards. The only time you're going need a lot of CPU power regarding stock trading software is if you are doing automated machine trades (ie. BoA, GS doing thousands of transactions per second) otherwise a powerful CPU is not necessary, but at that point you're going to need a server room with blade systems.

I have ran my trading platform from a Pentium dual core to Core i7, it makes no difference.

Last edited by geoc; June 12, 2012 at 07:10 PM.
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Old June 13, 2012, 08:15 AM
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GDay guys,
I really appreciate all your responses. I have attached the hardware requirements for the main platform I mentioned. This company recommends a four core CPU, however, eight is preferred for a client class machine. But I agree, maybe more CPU power wont make me more money as there would be no difference, however, would anyone know if the CPU makes any difference around breaking news or economic announcements? There are huge loads of data coming through during those times and my current computer tends to freeze for short periods of time (very costly). Is this a CPU problem, internet connection, trading platform??? It is very annoying.
At least I would like to minimise the hardware issues.
Cheers
Attached Images
File Type: pdf TT Trading Systems - Hardware and Software Requirements.pdf (507.2 KB, 473 views)
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Old June 13, 2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nando View Post
GDay guys,
I really appreciate all your responses. I have attached the hardware requirements for the main platform I mentioned. This company recommends a four core CPU, however, eight is preferred for a client class machine. But I agree, maybe more CPU power wont make me more money as there would be no difference, however, would anyone know if the CPU makes any difference around breaking news or economic announcements? There are huge loads of data coming through during those times and my current computer tends to freeze for short periods of time (very costly). Is this a CPU problem, internet connection, trading platform??? It is very annoying.
At least I would like to minimise the hardware issues.
Cheers
I'm surprised nobody's already suggested this, but fire up a resource monitor and find out. My money would be on an HDD or connection issue.
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