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Intel Core i7-3930K vs Xeon E5-2630 For Long-duration Financial Calculations


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#1 daverty

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:31 PM

Hello,

I wonder if you can help me to build the perfect PC setup for the following task:

I am going to perform daily financial market analysis on multiple instruments using Excel (large workbooks around 300 and 500 mbs), Matlab and Automation software. The price will be loaded into Excel, the results would be fed into Matlab to create charts (this sequence will be repeated many times). I plan to sell the resultant analysis at my website for a set monthly subscription so this can be considered a production workstation. The total process would take 5-7 hours daily. I need this process to run as error-free as possible absolutely predictably on autopilot. So I am not planning to over-clock the CPU.

I am deciding between a workstation built on Intel Core i7-3930K or the one built on single Intel Xeon E5-2630. These CPUs are roughly the same in price (same number of cores, different speed though) with the I7 being much faster one. But I am more concerned with reliability and stability of this setup. Do you think the ECC memory can help eliminate system crashes when the analysis job is running? I need to be able to connect this PC remotely to initiate the analysis jobs as well. I am also thinking of Intel Core i7-3930K which is very fast but not sure about its stability for long-duration number crunching sessions (it can overheat if run at full speed for many hours?).

Please let me know what you think,

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#2 daverty

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

I am just concerned if i7 will be able to run the continuous number crunching session lasting MONTHS ? I might not power-off the computer for months! you think XEON can handle such workload? and I7?

#3 the_patriot11

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

I dont know much about the differences between the XEON and the i7, other then the XEON was designed more for servers in mind, while the I7 was desigened more for graphical stuff like Auto-CAD. I imagine, either chip would do what you need it to without any problem at all, the question I would be looking at is price, which is cheaper, and which is cheaper to find motherboards for etc?

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#4 daverty

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:03 AM

thank you for your interesting reply.....well I have 50 currency pairs to analyse daily - 4 time frames each - each time frame shoudl be analyzed using a few different large excel files (5 or so) - around 300 mbs on average....meaning on average the 300 mbs excel file would need to be recalculated 5*4*50=1000 times including getting the data into it and outputting to Matlab that would need to be recalculated 1000 times as well per day....

do you think this process can be speeded up if I break each of the 4 time frames into different virtual machines and place the analysis pipeline into them?.....you think a 4 core E3 1275 V2 might be enough for it???

#5 rotor123

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

In general, In the past workstations are better built than desktops. Since they are both workstations, in theory both will perform. If name brand workstations? Dell, HP than no worries, if from some build to order, well...........

I have seen Xeon workstations from both brands using dual Xeon processors and ECC memory. Just being a I7 should not rule out ECC memory, I have a low end Server, I3 with ECC memory.

Since you say you want reliability, I say go Xeon and ECC. There are reasons you will find Xeon and ECC in better workstations and servers.

You asked

Do you think the ECC memory can help eliminate system crashes when the analysis job is running?

ECC will not prevent crashes due to software problems. It is intended to prevent memory errors from bringing the system down. This may Help explain it better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECC_memory
ECC memory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Error-correcting code memory (ECC memory) is a type of computer data storage that can detect and correct the more common kinds of internal data corruption. ECC memory is used in most computers where data corruption cannot be tolerated under any circumstances, such as for scientific or financial computing.

ECC memory maintains a memory system effectively free from single-bit errors: the data that is read from each word is always the same as the data that had been written to it, even if a single bit actually stored, or more in some cases, has been flipped to the wrong state. Some non-ECC memory with parity support allows errors to be detected, but not corrected; otherwise errors that may occur are not detected


Notice the part I bolded.

Good Luck, Hope this helps
Roger

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#6 daverty

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

In general, In the past workstations are better built than desktops. Since they are both workstations, in theory both will perform. If name brand workstations? Dell, HP than no worries, if from some build to order, well...........

I have seen Xeon workstations from both brands using dual Xeon processors and ECC memory. Just being a I7 should not rule out ECC memory, I have a low end Server, I3 with ECC memory.

Since you say you want reliability, I say go Xeon and ECC. There are reasons you will find Xeon and ECC in better workstations and servers.

You asked

Do you think the ECC memory can help eliminate system crashes when the analysis job is running?

ECC will not prevent crashes due to software problems. It is intended to prevent memory errors from bringing the system down. This may Help explain it better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECC_memory
ECC memory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Error-correcting code memory (ECC memory) is a type of computer data storage that can detect and correct the more common kinds of internal data corruption. ECC memory is used in most computers where data corruption cannot be tolerated under any circumstances, such as for scientific or financial computing.

ECC memory maintains a memory system effectively free from single-bit errors: the data that is read from each word is always the same as the data that had been written to it, even if a single bit actually stored, or more in some cases, has been flipped to the wrong state. Some non-ECC memory with parity support allows errors to be detected, but not corrected; otherwise errors that may occur are not detected


Notice the part I bolded.

Good Luck, Hope this helps
Roger


thank you for your helpful reply....yes I guess xeon and ecc have their pluses.....that might be more than just what is seen on surface....

#7 daverty

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

do you think that XEON E3 1275 V2 with 4 cores at 3,5 ghZ CAN PULL OF 4 VIRTUAL MACHINES EACH RUNNING EXCEL 2007 AND MATLAB on autopilot??

#8 rotor123

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:42 AM

I would suspect so, however not knowing the requirements for matlab it is hard to say. You would need a fair amount of memory for 4 VMs and the actual VM itself will need some CPU power too. Does it have to be in VMs?

Why not read theUser reviews here

They look OK to me.

Good Luck
Roger

Edited by rotor123, 26 November 2012 - 10:43 AM.
oops

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#9 daverty

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:06 PM

thank you for your reply...I need 4 VMs to each analyse its own time frame of the 50 currency pairs....the analysis will be performed identically for each time frame of the 50 currency pairs....so to analyse it all in parallel I am thinking of breaking the whole pipeline into 4 parallel sub pipelines each working on its own time-frame....what do you think?

#10 rotor123

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

I'm afraid I do not have a answer. It will depend on the software. I suspect that you can assign each VM its own core. I have no way to gauge how much memory you will need. Just curious how to you intend to get the right data to the right VM?

You have now moved into a software question. I would suggest posting with your proposed software and hardware in a software forum such as
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum78.html
This one

Unread forum
Business Applications
Discuss and ask questions about Word Processors, Spreadsheets, Databases, or other business applications.

or maybe

All Other Applications

For all those useful applications that don't quite fit in.

Probably the first one.

Good Luck
Roger

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167 @ June 2015


#11 Baltboy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

If you intend on running multiple virtual machines remember each virtual machine needs its own dedicated memory sufficent to do the task. This is in addition to what the OS running the actual computer needs. So one quad core with say 32 GB of memory trying to run four virtual machines doing lots of cpu intensive math and an OS is probably going to be really taxed and quite slow. What you would be better off with is a mid level workstation or low end server with two quad cores processors and a minimum of 64 GB of memory. Hard drive access in that type of setup will probably become the limiting factor so a decent raid five array will give you a good balance of speed and redundancy. Depending on the size of data and the need for redundancy another good setup would be individual smaller SSD drives for each virtual machine which would remove any IO bottlenecks from the different virtual machines hitting the same drive (or array) at the same time.
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#12 daverty

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:09 AM

If you intend on running multiple virtual machines remember each virtual machine needs its own dedicated memory sufficent to do the task. This is in addition to what the OS running the actual computer needs. So one quad core with say 32 GB of memory trying to run four virtual machines doing lots of cpu intensive math and an OS is probably going to be really taxed and quite slow. What you would be better off with is a mid level workstation or low end server with two quad cores processors and a minimum of 64 GB of memory. Hard drive access in that type of setup will probably become the limiting factor so a decent raid five array will give you a good balance of speed and redundancy. Depending on the size of data and the need for redundancy another good setup would be individual smaller SSD drives for each virtual machine which would remove any IO bottlenecks from the different virtual machines hitting the same drive (or array) at the same time.



thank you for your reply.....I will think more about adding the VMS - with excel 2003 each running in one WinXP VM - this can be really fast to parallelize....I will combine the analytics from the separate VMS in the host machine.....the individual analysis could be done in excel 2003 but aggregating analysis and post-production woudl be done in excel 2010 which allows much more than the 2 gb of memory...software errors are likely but mos dependent on excel and matlab and vmware...I will test this setup and if it is suitable for daily work will stick with it - if no - will do all in sequence on the host machine...I am stuck with excel for now as taking it to an executable code would add a year to the project....do you think EXCEL 2010 on 4 cores will run faster than EXCEL 2003 on one core?

#13 daverty

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

I wonder if you have tried running your i73930k for long periods of time..like 10 hours at the maximum load....I wonder how it behaved? lets say for 8-10 hours in a row....at 95% (no over-clocking) - did you see any hints of instability in its performance?
Thanks!

#14 daverty

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:29 PM

I wonder if any one with i7 3930K or XEON E3 127V2 can comment on the multi-threading boost to EXCEL 2010 or EXCEL 2007 performance???? I need this to make the final decision between these two setups...do you think the multi-threaded EXCEL 2010 in the case of i7 3930K or XEON E3 127V2 can be significantly faster than the single threaded EXCEL 2003?
thanks a lot!)

#15 daverty

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

I think I have finally nailed a very attractive offer that might well suit my needs perfectly....well nearly perfectly....
I have found a workstation by HP which features the much coveted Intel Xeon E5-1650 processor!!!!!!! and its price is within the constraints

that I have -

HP Workstation Z420 - Xeon E5-1650 3.2 GHz

take a look here - http://www.amazon.com/HP-Workstation-Z420-Xeon-E5-1650/dp/B007TMY6OS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_pc_6

I am slightly weary of building my own custom build so this one looks very attractive....it features the e5-1650 as well as the 8 gbs of ram

and is all factory packed and of course ecc and everythign super fail proof I guess...please let me know what you think!!!!!)




I have a couple of more questions...do you think it might be possibel to add more 8GBs of Ram and a video card without voiding the warranty?
thanks!!
feel so close to the final step!)




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