One of our long time clients has delved into currency trading and is using a proprietary monitoring and graphing application for the various world currencies being watched and traded.
Their current system is a high performance system we put together for them six years ago.
That system was based on a P4 with HyperThreading, Windows XP Pro and 1GB of RAM. We had our client bring the system here to the shop to run various process monitoring utilities on the PC while the proprietary application was up and running.
We were looking for a couple of specific things:
- How many simultaneous threads was the app capable of tossing towards the CPU.
- How many threads were involved in generating a new graph and what happens during the graph generation.
What we discovered was an application that is capable of taking advantage of as many “cores” as possible.
The last test we ran was the generation of a new graph with everything else going on in the background. The new graph being generated pegged one of the “cores” on the system, so that particular process was single threaded . . . maybe.
Now that we had a pretty good overview of how the application performed, we now knew some key performance needs:
- The ability to bin a core or multiple cores up for a demanding process was critical.
- The ability to handle more than 4 simultaneous threads was also a priority due to the way the software operated.
- The more RAM we had in the system, the better.
- We need the ability to drive 8 monitors.
- We need to eliminate the disk I/O bottleneck.
So, the configuration we have come up with for the system to be built to meet our client’s needs will be as follows:
- Dual Intel Xeon Processor W5580 or W5590
- Intel Workstation Board S5520SC
- 24GB Kingston Registered ECC RAM (6x 4GB Intel Tested)
- Intel RS2BL080 PCI-E 8x RAID Controller and Battery Backup
- 320GB (4x 160GB Intel 2nd Gen SSD) RAID 10
- Intel SC5650WS Workstation Chassis
- 6 Bay Hot Swap Option
- Dual ATI FirePro 2450 PCI-E Multi-View
- Up to 8 24” Wide Screen LCD Monitors
- ErgoTron Multi-Monitor Stands
- Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition
We expect the ability of each of the Xeon Processors to bin one or two cores upwards to gain the needed extra performance will make this rig fit our client’s needs perfectly.
Using the second generation Intel Solid-State Drives plus a second generation Intel RAID controller aught to help us virtually eliminate any disk subsystem bottlenecks.
The extra RAM and the 64bit capabilities of Windows 7 Ultimate round out the setup.
The workstation board S5520SC has a Trusted Platform Module version 1.2. Since we are installing Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition on this setup and due to the sensitivity of the tasks being accomplished by the user we will be encrypting the contents of any partition created with BitLocker.
In the end, the system should provide our client with exactly the responsiveness they are looking for in a system and also protect everything on the system via encryption.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book