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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:29 PM   #1
alexstjo
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Stock trading with Pro

Hi,

Is anyone using a mac pro to day trade or trade stocks? I need a fast machine with 4 to 6 monitors and I am thinking about a mac pro. Just wondering if anyone out there is using it for this? I use TOS and some charting software on my 17" macbook pro but it is slow with an extra monitor and causing slight order issues.

thanks
alex
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by alexstjo View Post
Is anyone using a mac pro to day trade or trade stocks? I need a fast machine with 4 to 6 monitors and I am thinking about a mac pro. Just wondering if anyone out there is using it for this? I use TOS and some charting software on my 17" macbook pro but it is slow with an extra monitor and causing slight order issues.
You can do this easily with any Mac model, including the Mac mini. Make sure you have sufficient RAM. You may want to check to see if something else is causing slower performance on your MBP.

If you're having performance issues, this may help:
Performance Tips For Mac OS X
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:49 PM   #3
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how can i drive more than one monitor on a mac mini??
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Depends how much you want to invest - you could put an ATI 7870 eyefinity 6 into a MP and drive up to 6 Apple 27" displays in Windows (or on OS X if you use the beta 10.8.3 OS).
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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how can i drive more than one monitor on a mac mini??
It's very easy. The new mini has an HDMI port, as well as a Thunderbolt port, which can support up to two daisy-chained Thunderbolt displays.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:16 PM   #6
deconstruct60
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Originally Posted by alexstjo View Post
.... I need a fast machine with 4 to 6 monitors and I am thinking about a mac pro. .... I use TOS
ThinkorSwim ? (https://www.thinkorswim.com/tos/disp...layFormat=hide )

By itself probably not much but 4+ monitors suggests running multiple applications at the same time in addition to a chart program.

Quote:
on my 17" macbook pro
How old? Like a 2010-11 or 2008-9? No SSD for the OS/Apps ? Maxed out RAM ? A 2011 model with SSD for OS/Apps, separate HDD for 'data' and max RAM probably isn't bad if not doing much heavy duty local trend analyses.

you can launch Activity Monitor to see if Memory , network , or Disk I/O seems bottlenecked.

Quote:
but it is slow with an extra monitor and causing slight order issues.
It certainly is more viable to run 4 monitors on a Mac Pro. That is different from slowness.

Mac Pro might give some upside in being able to run Windows via Virtual Machine for those analytic software titles that don't make it to OS X. The extra RAM and storage I/O help make a VM a little to no compromise solution. Also may help to assign one of the Ethernet ports to that VM (e.g., it is steadily streaming data). That may help with latency on the other port (presuming your router doesn't bottleneck you).

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
It's very easy. The new mini has an HDMI port, as well as a Thunderbolt port, which can support up to two daisy-chained Thunderbolt displays.
The older mini isn't so capable. Numbers for various models in answer 14 here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5219?v...=en_US#dispnum

Answer 15 outlines that is really only one if have to switch to BootCamp Windows.

A Mac Pro with more standard video connections won't be as limited if need to boot "raw" into Windows for some reason.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
It's very easy. The new mini has an HDMI port, as well as a Thunderbolt port, which can support up to two daisy-chained Thunderbolt displays.
If thinderbold monitors didn't cost an arm and a leg this might work but after you add 2 of those at $800+ each i might as well get a mac pro. Until a 3rd party thunderbolt monitor comes out i don't think this makes much sense.

please correct me if i am wrong.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:45 PM   #8
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If thinderbold monitors didn't cost an arm and a leg this might work but after you add 2 of those at $800+ each i might as well get a mac pro. Until a 3rd party thunderbolt monitor comes out i don't think this makes much sense.

please correct me if i am wrong.
You can use an adapter to connect a non-Thunderbolt display to a Thunderbolt port. You're not limited to Apple displays.

Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Quote:
Can I connect a Mini DisplayPort monitor or monitor using a Mini DisplayPort adapter to a Thunderbolt port on my Thunderbolt-equipped Mac?

Yes. A Mini DisplayPort display or a display connecting with a Mini DisplayPort to VGA, DVI, or HDMI adapter will work just like it was connecting to a Mini DisplayPort connector when plugging in directly to the Thunderbolt connector on your Apple computer. Click here for more information on Mini DisplayPort connections and adapters.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:46 PM   #9
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So the 17" is a macbook pro6,1 i don't rememeber when i got it. It is only slow because i am using the display link usb driver for the extra monitor and it has some latency issues. True TOS doesn't need much computer but I have 2 other charting programes going on and other stuff!



Quote:
Originally Posted by deconstruct60 View Post
ThinkorSwim ? (https://www.thinkorswim.com/tos/disp...layFormat=hide )

By itself probably not much but 4+ monitors suggests running multiple applications at the same time in addition to a chart program.



How old? Like a 2010-11 or 2008-9? No SSD for the OS/Apps ? Maxed out RAM ? A 2011 model with SSD for OS/Apps, separate HDD for 'data' and max RAM probably isn't bad if not doing much heavy duty local trend analyses.

you can launch Activity Monitor to see if Memory , network , or Disk I/O seems bottlenecked.



It certainly is more viable to run 4 monitors on a Mac Pro. That is different from slowness.

Mac Pro might give some upside in being able to run Windows via Virtual Machine for those analytic software titles that don't make it to OS X. The extra RAM and storage I/O help make a VM a little to no compromise solution. Also may help to assign one of the Ethernet ports to that VM (e.g., it is steadily streaming data). That may help with latency on the other port (presuming your router doesn't bottleneck you).

----------



The older mini isn't so capable. Numbers for various models in answer 14 here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5219?v...=en_US#dispnum

Answer 15 outlines that is really only one if have to switch to BootCamp Windows.

A Mac Pro with more standard video connections won't be as limited if need to boot "raw" into Windows for some reason.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:05 PM   #10
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I don't think a Mini can drive 4-6 monitors. I'm pretty sure the max is 3.

So yeah, a Mac Pro sounds like a good choice. A Macbook Pro might be able to do 4 external monitors with it's dual Thunderbolt ports too.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:57 PM   #11
alexstjo
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Ok so i do that and i am back to two monitors! correct


Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
You can use an adapter to connect a non-Thunderbolt display to a Thunderbolt port. You're not limited to Apple displays.

Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:31 PM   #12
GGJstudios
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Ok so i do that and i am back to two monitors! correct
You're absolutely correct on the limitation on the number of displays. My comment about the mini being able to handle the workload referred to the processing power, not the number of displays supported.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 05:20 PM   #13
deconstruct60
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So the 17" is a macbook pro6,1 i don't rememeber when i got it.
It is a 2010 model. The first Core i5/i7 and GT330M graphics.

Quote:
It is only slow because i am using the display link usb driver for the extra monitor and it has some latency issues.
Yeah, display data over USB 2.0 would be kind of painful. The laptop really isn't "slow". It is being used to put a round peg in a square hole.

It is question of whether need 3 (or more) screens or not. A 27-30" display paired with the internal 17" is alot of real estate.

Quote:
True TOS doesn't need much computer but I have 2 other charting programes going on and other stuff!
Without the overhead of pumping display data through USB 2.0 you'ld have more "computer" to use for apps. :-)

A Mac Mini with two 27" and a 24" would likely work.

A refurb 2010 2.8GHz Quad probably would also. Especially if you already have the external monitors. :-) [ there is one for ~ $1,900 in the Apple online store now. ] A straightforward way of doing 6 monitors would be to get a second 5770 card. If later get some analysis software that can leverage OpenCL then dual GPUs could shoulder some of the computational load.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 11:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by alexstjo View Post
It is only slow because i am using the display link usb driver for the extra monitor and it has some latency issues.
Probably a better solution than USB.

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/pr...o/displayport/

or

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/pr...go/digital_me/

there is a triple version too.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 12:31 AM   #15
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No, just get a good multi-core machine and skip all the laggyness, poor performance, and so on.

You're right in thinking about a macpro! Something like an 8 core MacPro3,1 with 16GB to 32GB of RAM or even a 3,1 in it's 4-core form will trounce a mini or any of the laptops for multi-app multi-screen use. The RAM is $250 to $350 for 32GB and a MacPro 3,1 is about $700 to $900 depending on configuration.

I can't believe people are trying to talk you into a mini here - totally lame.

Also that list of "tune-up" performance enhancements that GGJ listed is best ignored! About the first half of that list is just dumb - and potentially dangerous too. It's the WRONG way to tune your system! If you're familiar with Windows it's akin to suggesting a user open the Registry and start ripping **** they don't know or want out. If you like kernel panics and broken features/functions then sure, go for it. But you'll be back here in short order asking why this or that no longer works. LOL

Sorry GGJ but you really should take that list off-line and learn the proper way to tune and trim a system. With lists like that it's no wonder Apple decided to make the Libraries folder invisible! I see what they were thinking now.

Last edited by Tesselator; Feb 22, 2013 at 12:38 AM.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:16 AM   #16
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This is what i kind of thinking. Now the ? is do i buy a macpro3,1 or the new one that is coming out?

also how can i look up the stats on a Macpro3,1 or any other macproX,X model? Is there a good website that list this info?

thanks


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Originally Posted by Tesselator View Post
No, just get a good multi-core machine and skip all the laggyness, poor performance, and so on.

You're right in thinking about a macpro! Something like an 8 core MacPro3,1 with 16GB to 32GB of RAM or even a 3,1 in it's 4-core form will trounce a mini or any of the laptops for multi-app multi-screen use. The RAM is $250 to $350 for 32GB and a MacPro 3,1 is about $700 to $900 depending on configuration.

I can't believe people are trying to talk you into a mini here - totally lame.

Also that list of "tune-up" performance enhancements that GGJ listed is best ignored! About the first half of that list is just dumb - and potentially dangerous too. It's the WRONG way to tune your system! If you're familiar with Windows it's akin to suggesting a user open the Registry and start ripping **** they don't know or want out. If you like kernel panics and broken features/functions then sure, go for it. But you'll be back here in short order asking why this or that no longer works. LOL

Sorry GGJ but you really should take that list off-line and learn the proper way to tune and trim a system. With lists like that it's no wonder Apple decided to make the Libraries folder invisible! I see what they were thinking now.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:49 AM   #17
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Why a Mac? You live in feeds the OS won't matter.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:52 AM   #18
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that seems like an odd ? for this website.

OK why a mac, the OS matters because it WORKS! Never breaks or causes issues. I have used computers since 1979 and I hate windows and MS products. they are junk. If i had a nickle for every windows computer i had to fix because of some issue or incompatibility issue i would be rich!


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Why a Mac? You live in feeds the OS won't matter.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 11:10 AM   #19
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This is what i kind of thinking. Now the ? is do i buy a macpro3,1 or the new one that is coming out?

also how can i look up the stats on a Macpro3,1 or any other macproX,X model? Is there a good website that list this info?

thanks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Pro#Specifications
http://support.apple.com/specs/#MacPro

Others may know of different/better links.

And sure, if you got the bucks go for the one you want. Anything from MacPro3,1 on up (used, refurbished, or new) will be enough to keep everything moving fast enough for a pleasant consistently smooth experience. Of course the configuration of the other components makes a huge difference. You'll want a 2012 or 2013 graphics card, SSD or RAID0, and 16GB bare minimum RAM.

Another thing I think I might do if I were a serious day trader is pay for two lines of internet and bridge the connections with them both plugged into the MacPro. I tried it before but didn't really compare the results or give it very long. I was changing ISPs at the time and only had a few days of them both being on. It worked is about I can say from experience. But two from different ISPs might be very interesting! I'm adding this in cuz I think a serious DT would be heavily utilizing communications. 2 or 3 different chat systems, all the shock tickers, a line or two of VoIP, more than typical mail traffic, and so on. If that's not the case in your case you can just ignore this part... but I used about that much when I was resource gathering (human and technical) for a software development project a bit back and one of the weak points was the net connections. It wasn't critical in my case but I noticed it. I guess for DT it would be actually or approaching, critical concern.



On the topic of "Other Operating Systems", I really hate saying it but both Win7 and Win8 are actually pretty stable and /user friendly/. Windows is quantifiably NOT as good as OS X and it still needs different and more maintenance than OS X but it's better than it was with Vista, XP, 2000, and so on... I also date back a considerable number of years before MS DOS v1.0 was released, glad to meet ya...

I think if I were buying 2013 state of the art hardware I would give Dell and other turn-key systems a serious looking over and if there were ≥ $1,000 or so that could be saved by selecting the windoze based machine I would probably go for it. For what you're doing I think I would probably avoid all of the Core branded products though - I dunno, maybe the top of the current line would be ok... <shrug>

Last edited by Tesselator; Feb 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 12:02 PM   #20
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This is what i kind of thinking. Now the ? is do i buy a macpro3,1 or the new one that is coming out?
the Mac PRo 3,1 is the 2008 Mac Pro. Not the 2009, 2010 , 2012. It is a bit dubious to buy as:

1. the memory is more expensive than newer models.
2. it has got a year or two (outside chance three) years till it hits Apple's Vintage Obsolete list.
3. the architecture is Intel's legacy front side shared memory bus (before the memory controllers moved to the CPU package. It isn't a good match for more than 4 cores.).


If all you can afford is a 5 year old Mac Pro then it is a suitable option. If price isn't a major constraint there is no good reason to go back that far.



Quote:
also how can i look up the stats on a Macpro3,1 or any other macproX,X model? Is there a good website that list this info?
A quick summary is

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Pro

The tech specs (but surprising little mentions of 3,1 , 4,1 , etc. )

http://www.apple.com/support/macpro/

Lowend mac has good summaries.

http://lowendmac.com/macpro/mac-pro-index.html
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:25 PM   #21
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I agree with all points except the implication the hitting the vintage list will have any real meaning...

Fingers crossed of course...
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 02:42 PM   #22
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I agree with all points except the implication the hitting the vintage list will have any real meaning...
10.8 support for 5,1 and 5,2 Mac Pros ? Technically they aren't even on the list yet. They will probably transition onto it officially this year though.

Apple isn't likely at all to support an new OS X version on desupported hardware. Few, if any running a modestly large support org, vendors do that.

for someone who wants to put 10.6 into a "time capsule box" and transition to the desupported stack, sure. It will work OK. If already sitting on that hardware track now it makes some sense. To proactively go purchase something in that class as being a primary "earn income" machine is dubious.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 04:55 PM   #23
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Apple isn't likely at all to support an new OS X version on desupported hardware.

Maybe. I do tend to agree with you. It's just that "apple support" for me has never once been of any use at all. Warranty sure, but OS and app troubles? I bet they don't even answer emails. Heck, I bet they don't have an email address to send to. In every case I've ever seen (doesn't mean I've see everything of course) the user is forced to seek support from community members for anything but the extremely common basics. There's the Genuis bar if you care to take your 500 pound mac pro in for a look. But they'll help you if they can for any version mac. Probably even PPC G2's and stuff - if they know how. There's the phone support... but by the time you get off hold you could have found the same information on-line already - by yourself. It's not like the OP can't use or doesn't already know about, forums. The support and tech docs Apple puts on-line already far surpasses anything one might get from Apple Care or the Genius Bar in the way of diagnostics and troubleshooting.

AFAICT, the MacPro3,1 has all the necessary features to run OS X properly for the same length of time as the current 2012 models will. 10.11? 10.12? 10.20? Who knows? And that's all I'm trying to point out. It likely won't be "official" but it'll work...

Of course you're right about the rest of it. And already the 5,1 full enchilada is double the performance (or more) of the 3,1. But to get there the boarding pass is $7,000 as opposed to about $1,000 for about the same ride (in the OP's case) on the 3,1 - with that price difference the OP could buy a 3,1 specifically for each app he runs.

So my general conclusion is that the 3,1 is still a viable consideration and a good option for those on a tight budget - even as a primary "earn income" machine for someone intending to stay current with OS releases. I'm sure the 6,1 will be wonderful and all but... And as some point out, 6,1 or 7,1 may be the last of the workstation grade machines Apple ever releases.

Last edited by Tesselator; Feb 22, 2013 at 05:15 PM.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 05:29 PM   #24
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I can't believe people are trying to talk you into a mini here
No one is trying to talk anyone into a mini. The comment was that even the mini can handle the workload. That's not a recommendation to use one.
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Originally Posted by Tesselator View Post
Also that list of "tune-up" performance enhancements that GGJ listed is best ignored! About the first half of that list is just dumb - and potentially dangerous too.
That is absolute nonsense. First, the tips are not for "tuning" a system. They are practical tips to improve performance and are not dangerous at all.
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If you're familiar with Windows it's akin to suggesting a user open the Registry and start ripping **** they don't know or want out.
Also nonsense. You can delete everything from those library locations and it won't cause any kernel panics or system problems. The worst that might happen is some app features may not launch automatically. It is in no way comparable to playing around in the Windows Registry, which can turn a PC into a paperweight if done improperly.
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Sorry GGJ but you really should take that list off-line and learn the proper way to tune and trim a system.
Your criticism of that list indicates a noticeable lack of understanding about such things. I know exactly what I'm doing and what those tips will do. They have helped countless people in this forum.
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how can i look up the stats on a Macpro3,1 or any other macproX,X model? Is there a good website that list this info?
You can find specs on all Apple products:
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 05:41 PM   #25
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No, you might be in love with your little list there but most of it is really bad advice - period.

Sorry bro, it just is. And not for a lack of understanding on my part for sure.
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