Day trader build questions


Oct 29, 2006
Most of my Computer usage deals with running two software packages that I use for day trading indexs and securities. They accept raw data streaming from data sources that report trades as they occur as well as other spacific information provided by the exchanges and display the results on charts . I run 4 screens the display the charts. There is considerable math involved in calculating various indicators that are also displayed on the screens.
It seems to me that besides the sheer computing power required for the charting and indicator calculating there needs to be considrable overhead devoted to managing the stream of data that is arriving continously during the day.

My question then is what are the elements of a new build that I need to be considering?? Do I just go for the biggest, fastest CPU or are there other chip considerations that should be considered??

Item 2 is of the current available graphic cards available that will drive two monitors what would you suggest. The screens are continually redrawing as new data arrives.

Item 3 I am considering a SSD in the range of 120 GB for holding the operating system and the software packages that I use for my trading. Which of the current available offerings would you suggest. I have read the article in the current edition of CPU magazine but am not totally understanding what I feel I should .

Thanks in advance.
I doubt very much that your calculation software is a huge hit to the CPU. Before I could say more I would have to know the exact software involved so that I could find out in what way it utilizes the CPU.
To clarify, the way the software has been written by the programmer is more important than the calculations themselves. Any modern CPU is capable of many millions of calculations per second.

That may just be me spouting off though, since if your budget is large enough the CPU choice is fairly easy... unless your software has some unusual characteristics.
The "biggest, fastest" CPU is the i7 2600K and it retails for about $315 US.

The video cards are not a big deal. 4 monitor support will require two inexpensive cards and not a lot of power. Re-drawing screens is not an issue for modern cards and a couple $50 cards will be fine.

You will need a good amount of memory so that when you switch between programs it's instant.

Well, SSDs are not an easy subject and CPU magazine doesn't really hold hands... they would not be the source I recommend you go to.

An SSD isn't going to help you a lot if your data is already loaded into memory. It will speed up the start of your programs and will speed up part of your boot cycle as a result. I recommend a reliable Intel SSD drive, but if you have data that needs to be stored and protected that be done with continuous backups to an external drive... ideally a network storage device in a different area on a different circuit.

Back to the SSD, I favor reliability over speed. You may get conflicting opinions as we are talking 1% fail rate vs 3-5%.
Tradestation says:
"Multiple Processor Support - We have designed it to include support for Multiple Processors and multi-threaded applications. This means that you will be able to unleash the full potential of the latest state-of-the-art operating systems by working with up to eight CPUs on the same machine."

So indeed, that means either i7 2600K @ $315

Or the far more expensive i7 990X @$1000 for a slight gain in speed.

As the two CPUs operate on different platforms, I can't say what board or RAM you need until you decide on one of those. I doubt you will see $685 worth of performance gain from the 990X.