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Windows 7: CPU, GPU and/or RAM -- (?) Determining which is bottleneck

08 Apr 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
CPU, GPU and/or RAM -- (?) Determining which is bottleneck

I'm getting ready to assemble new a desktop used primarily for active stock trading. At this time my current setup glides through 98% of the day absolutely effortlessly. CPU cores at 30%-45%, RAM always less than 70% used and no noticeable video lag. During highly volatile moments in the market though the CPU will push to 75%-95% per core and I notice when I attempt to manipulate the charts the actions are no longer smooth and fluid. I'm trying to determine where the weak link(s) are in the system therefore which to concentrate on in the new build.

Just as a FYI - I'm leaning towards FX-6300/990X/8GB DDR3-1800/FirePro or two gaming type cards (looking to add a 3rd monitor).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I would think a lot of that would be governed by your internet connection. If you use actual software (not a web-browser), I would look into their recommendations. If the CPU is what the software depends on, go with something from the Intel line. I'd be surprised if dual gaming video cards would be necessary at all. When you hit these volatile moments, what process is eating up your CPU cycles?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

Much appreciate the reply DeaconFrost.

It is a dedicated software platform and not browser based. For them to offer concrete recommendations simply isn't possible due to all the variables. Requirements vary greatly dependent on things such as total numbers of charts, quotes, active scans, etc. Bandwidth is a non-issue as I rarely exceed 50kB/s throughput (avg 10-20kB/s).

As for gaming cards, I'm really not talking top of the line GTX Ti's and the such, just one average card and a bottom feeder. One to take care of all the heavy lifting on the two main monitors and the second simply to drive a single monitor for news feeds, chat and embedded video. I was liking the FirePro with 4x mini-DisplayPort but then found the limitation of requiring matching monitor pairs. I do no gaming but I was also thinking the first option would allow for some down-time HD video viewing, not sure the FirePro is capable.

I sheepishly know Intel is probably the best option for the CPU but I'm at heart a supporter of the underdog, have been ever since moving on from a 200mmx. I expect the FX-6300 should also allow for some very comfortable light OC'ing on air if I get the itch.

Just checked end-of-day volatility via Resource Monitor and CPU usage was almost exclusively used by the trading platform. A few other processes used a total of about 6%. All in all as the CPU never seems to peg 100% I am basically attempting to determine if it is the video card causing the slowing of user initiated changes. A simplified example would be if attempting to re-size a window by click-drag. During high volatility (chart and numerical data updating quickly, higher throughput) doing so might cause jerky not smooth motion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Apr 2013   #4

Windows 7 x64 (SP1)

You don't need two graphics card for triple monitors. Current gen cards are more then capable of driving 4 monitors on a single card. GTX 650 (~$100) for example could easily handle 3 monitors. Of course that assumes you are not doing any high level gaming.

It might also be worth upgrading the CPU at least to a quad core or more. More processing cores may help you during those busy times. Assuming of course, if the application you use is multi-threaded multi-core aware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP in VM)

Just from reading what you have written it appears the software you are using it heavy on CPU and ram usage. I would concentrate on those aspects. The 3 monitors, I would think depends on the resolution. 3 1080P monitors on a single card would be a strain for the card. But, if you are doing little strenuous GPU type activities, it may be OK. Being for the underdog it a great idea. Even us Intel guys are pulling for AMD. Nobody wants Intel to have a monopoly. But going for the CPU that can give you the best performance and easily handle your activities is the intent here. So, go for the CPU that can handle the heavy load you are putting on it on a daily basis, and increase the amount of ram you have. 70-95% CPU Usage and 70% ram usage is too much for me on a regular basis. Those are the areas I would concentrate on. You can always get a decent mid range Graphics card and if you find it is not doing the job, get another one of the exact same type later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

Thanks for the replies logicearth & essenbe!
I did argue with myself on the subject of two graphics cards or simply one. After finding the FirePro would not fit well with my current monitors I felt it might be better to simply dedicate a somewhat stout card to the two trading software monitors. I usually choose fanless to facilitate a quiet work enviroment so was thinking either an HD-7750 or HD-6670 if I were to go Radeon and GT-640 if Nvidia. I believe each of these options would allow me to at least test drive three monitors from one card. If I end up deciding a second card would be beneficial I'd probably add a fanless HD-6450 or GT620.

I should elaborate on stats as I know I wasn't really clear earlier. RAM is almost always between 40%-50% in use. Only on rare occasions will it go higher and that is pretty much when I get overzealous and open way more apps and windows/tabs than any reasonable person would attempt. That said, I still plan to double it for the new build. Also, the high CPU readings are isolated moments of 20-50 seconds maybe three times a day but even that is cause for concern if it effects fluidity of trading data.

Starting to think I'm probably chasing ghosts here. If I continue to use the same applications as current I have to believe, since I'm currently right on the edge of acceptable performance, upgrading to an FX-6300, DDR3 and a considerably more capable video card should fulfill the requirements. I just hate beating a dead horse so I'll just buck up and get it done unless anyone sees a fault with my assumption. If so I'd appreciate hearing before I make a time and money wasting mistake.

Yeah, my gut still tells me i5 or i7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2013   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP in VM)

First, as you said, you are on the cusp of acceptable performance. That means to me that you have limited any options you may want to persue in the future. Personally, I would not like that. I don't ever want to need/want to do something and not be able to because of my equipment. Therefore, personally, I would upgrade to the point I would be able to do whatever I wanted to do, and have no limitations. But, that is me. You have to make your own decision in that respect. You also have to make the decision on which CPU to go with. I am not a fanboy for Intel or Amd.I ran an AMD rig until Sandy Bridge came out. But, I would buy whichever CPU that would do the best job for what you need it for without any loyalty considerations. This upgrade is for you and your needs. Get the best one that will do what you want and will not limit you in the future if you decide to run more apps or whatever you want to do. As far as the graphics card goes, you basically have 2 choices. Buy a high end one that you know will run 3 monitors and have no problem doing it. Or buy a cheaper mid range graphics card and try that. If it does not work, add another card. But understand, to run 2 graphics cards whether you choose AMD(Crossfire) or Nvidia(SLI) it will have to be the exact same model card. In other words if you buy a 7750 and find out it won't do the job, you will need another 7750 to Crossfire. But, which way you go, or which card you get is your decision. I know the Nvidia 600's will run 3 monitors, I'm not sure about the newer AMD cards though, but they probably will. You won't find one that is fanless I don't believe. But, the fan only is loud when they are under strain and they begin to get hot. I have a GTX 670 right now in one rig and an HD 6950 in another. Both cannot be heard over the sound of the computer until they get stressed and the fans ramp up to 60-70% because of heat. Most of the new cards come with programs where you can set your own fan profile. Set it as you like, but with respect to temps. Don't let them get real hot. So, the choices are yours. But, yes, I could give my recommendations, but they may not be right for you or your budget. But, in the end, get whatever is going to work for you and not limit you in whatever you decide you want to do now or in the future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2013   #8

Windows 7 x64 (SP1)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
But understand, to run 2 graphics cards whether you choose AMD(Crossfire) or Nvidia(SLI) it will have to be the exact same model card...
You will only need to do that, buy the same card, if you set them up in SLI or Crossfire. However, if you use them as independent cards you can use different makes and models. Heck, you can use an AMD card with an Nvidia card each driving their own monitors. Windows 7 supports this kind of configuration. Using SLI or Crossfire is NOT recommended for this type of configuration. As it will not increase the number of display you can use.

BTW, if you go with the AMD processor, be aware despite it saying it is a 6-core processor in real world terms it is truly a 3-core processor, The other 3-cores are more akin to HyperThreading, virtual cores. Defined in simple terms, however. There is also a hot-patch from Microsoft to improve performance on AMD FX processors, I don't recall on how to get it but a search should point the way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2013   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

Thanks again for the replies!

I was pretty sure video cards could be installed as separate entities sans SLI or Crossfire (one of the reasons I was opting for a 990x MB). The one precaution I would take is to at least choose matching manufacturers, just seems driver install and setup would be a bit less likely to have concerns. I see both the HD6670 and HD7750 are available fanless for $60-$100. If I could make up my mind right now I "should" jump on Newegg's deal of an MSI HD7770 1GB DDR5 (with fan) for $78 (rebate + coupon code). As essenbe stated fan noise would most likely be a non-issue seeing as my fan equipped GT520 has not been audible since its install nearly a year ago.

Appreciate the reminder that AMD plays a little loose with the definition of "cores". I''m going to have to sleep another night or two on this one as I still may pony up for an i5.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

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