Advice for setup of new PC

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Advice for setup of new PC

Postby moses » 04 Feb 2013

Hi all,

I would be grateful if Multicharts and any MC users could give some guidelines and their own experiences on setting up a new trading PC.
I've seen similar threads but they were posted 2 years ago so an updated thread could benefit a lot of us.

Some basic questions:
1. Is it recommended to use Xeon processors instead of i7? Any of you out there using many Xeons in one PC for portfolio optimisations? Is it worth it?

2. Is there a recommended RAM size for running backtests/optimisations? My current pc has 6GB, and it really struggles when I throw about 200 million data points at it! (say, minute data for 1000 stocks for 2 years)

3. Does SSD perform materially better than a normal hard disk, for backtesting/optimisation/charting purposes? It seems to me that the only time I need fast reading from disk, is when I load the abovementioned 200 million data points, which takes my pc about 90 minutes.

4. I am considering using liquid cooling (for noise reduction purposes) that I never used before. Is that efficient, considering a heavy optimisation can really tax the pc's guts?

5. Even though I am not a heavy chartist at all (my strategies are mechanical, and hopefully with the release of MC9's portfolio trading, purely automated and mostly chart-free), what is the usual screen real estate that systematic traders tend to use? I am considering one 27-inch monitor, but maybe I should get a video card with 2-3 monitor outputs, just to be sure.

6. Anyone has any experience with the Z420 HP workstation?

Any other guidance, suggestions, hints, are very welcome, for hardware or software.

Thanks a lot

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Re: Advice for setup of new PC

Postby Andrew MultiCharts » 04 Feb 2013

Hello Moses,

I can only tell you that you seem to require more RAM according to amount of data you use and that SSD does improve performance of the software. Everything else is subjective and depends on needs and goals of a trader. The best performance i ever saw was on newest i7 + SSD.
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Re: Advice for setup of new PC

Postby Zoli » 05 Feb 2013

Hi Moses,

Here are my personal thoughts.

Almost two years ago I upgraded my PC because I got really annoyed with having to load my workspaces for more than 15 minutes in the morning. I know, it sounds crazy, but I am not a professional programmer and I am sure all my indicators could be coded for a much better performance.
Back then the best price/quality ratio had the i7-2600k. It is set on default clock and default performance boost (not manually overclocked) and I didn't manage to top it out yet. If I would have to get one now, I personally would choose this one
This link might be useful

8 GB might be enough, but I would go for 16 GB since the prices dropped and RAM can be useful all the time.

SSD does make a noticeable change even in simple tasks such as browsing. According to my experience they are two different things. The speed as well, but the access time of a SSD beats a HDD... by far

I have no experience with liquid cooling, I use the stock Intel cooler, it is enough for my needs.

It would be ideal to decide in time whether you want multiple screen setup. It was a nightmare for me to figure out what video card and cables/adapters to get for multiple screens. Nvidia cards support multiple monitors as well, but ATI (AMD) offers the Eyefinity feature. This means that you can use multiple monitors as one huge desktop. The trick to it is that you can run only two screens on DVI and need to buy ACTIVE (passive won't work) displayport to DVI adapters if you use additional DVI input monitors because the majority of the cards that support 3 monitors have two DVI outputs and one displayport (the best 6 screen capable cards are according to my experience the ones that have 6 mini displayport outputs). Besides being expensive, the active adapters are not good performers as they have the tendency of going wrong, having to unplug and plug them back from time to time and that can be a nightmare because you need to set up the screens again. The last thing you need when you trade.
There are monitors that have displayport input. Using a monitor like that, you avoid the need of an active adapter to run more than two screens. Some cards have HDMI connection as well, so it is really up to the card, that is why it would be wise to decide in time the screen setup as well.

I personally prefer custom built computers because of price/performance ratio.
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Re: Advice for setup of new PC

Postby sptrader » 05 Feb 2013

A few months ago I re-built my pc with the "Intel® Core™ i7-3770K Processor" (& 16g ram), it's an excellent processor, runs cool and cpu runs near zero usage most of the time, with 10 workspaces 4+ charts/workspace and about 4 studies/chart..(no overclocking needed)..
I installed the cpu on an Asus Sabertooth Z77 motherboard, which is an excellent, well built board..- bought it all from newegg.. I highly reccommend this combination for trading..
I did NOT use an SSD. I got a deal on a 300gig 10k rpm Raptor HD and use that instead..
SSD's are faster but I wanted rock solid reliability..
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Re: Advice for setup of new PC

Postby TJ » 05 Feb 2013

Zoli: Thanks for the notes on multiple screen setup.

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Re: Advice for setup of new PC

Postby Zoli » 06 Feb 2013

SSD's are faster but I wanted rock solid reliability..

I know exactly what you mean. I had some reliability issues such as BSOD because of the SSD. After several emails exchanged with the manufacturer, I updated it's firmware, I use it as a secondary drive (slave) in AHCI mode with a true SATA 3 cable with the OS and other software installed on it. The only trick is to unplug from the mainboard the other HDD/SSD that is primary when you install Windows in order to avoid the bootmgr to be created on your primary drive (if you install the OS on your SSD).
I must say I have not encountered any kind of problem with it since (almost two years).

Zoli: Thanks for the notes on multiple screen setup.

Welcome, I thought I should write about it as I ended up with an unused monitor, video card, couple of adapters and don't know how many cables until I finally got the right 6 screen setup.
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