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OmniTrader 2018 General Discussion
HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Last Activity 10/25/2018 4:20 AM
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SteveJ

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Subject : HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 5:41 AM
Post #44502

I wonder if hardware experts out there could help.

I want to buy a new computer (preferably a laptop) capable of outputting to 2 or more screens principally to run Omnitrader with ATM and autotrade.

I'm looking for the best performance I can get with Omnitrader, particularly for testing / optimising experiments with ATM, but without wasting money on things I don't need.

Guidance on the ideal specification and suggestions as to appropriate machines would be much appreciated.

Steve

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Jim Dean

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 7:41 AM
Post #44503 - In reply to #44502

Almost any modern computer these days will do. OT doesn’t use a lot of RAM, nor does it do a lot of disk IO or take up a lot of disk space. Most modern computers support two screens - and if not you can buy a second-screen usb dongle for about $80. OT is not like gaming or watching movies or doing photoshop so graphics card doesn’t matter much.

I’d suggest an i7 for speedier calcs. An SSD drive is not essential but boots windows faster. Maybe 256G or so.

HOWever, if you want to run multiple instances at once via VMware, then more ram and a very good processor are important. I have provision for that on my Dell precision, with 32G RAM and a Xeon chip - but it costs in the $3k-$4k range.
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jpb

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 8:17 AM
Post #44504 - In reply to #44502

With OT being a 32-bit app and not designed for parallel processing, just about any modern laptop will work. I agree with Jim to go with an i7. My preference would be to go with the current gen of the CPU (Gen 7 or Gen 8 as of today). It may be hard to find a Gen 8 yet.

Gen 9 of the i7 will have the Meltdown fixes incorporated but it won't be out until late 2018 with the first laptops probably coming Spring 2019.

I'd also go with a 256 GB SSD. OT does a good job moving most things to memory, but I've observed differences between my HDD based systems and my SSD based systems. SSD will shave a few minutes off a 15 minute run.

A good base set of memory for today is 8GB. You can certainly get away with 4GB if you don't plan to virtualize any instances of OT with something like VMware or Virtualbox. I've run OT in up to 3 virtual machines under VirtualBox (www.virtualbox.org) with each VM defined with 2GB ram on an HP Spectre:
i7-5500U (5th Gen)
8 GB Ram
256 GB SSD

The limitation here is both RAM and cores - this CPU is a 2 Core CPU with 2 threads per core, giving it 4 logical cores. For virtualization cores and threads matter. But if you are only going to run one instance of OT, then it won't matter much.

As for monitors, another option in addition to what Jim mentioned with the USB adapter, certain monitors permit chaining. So, you connect your laptop to the first monitor (commonly with HDMI or Mini-Display port -- 2 of the newer output ports instead of the old VGA) and then you connect the first monitor to the second monitor with another pair of cables. The monitors have to support this chaining of course.

Taking a quick look at dell.com, you could take a Dell XPS 15 and tweak it to have an i7 vs an i5 and upgrade the Windows to Windows Pro for about $1,460. Or a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 with a tweak to the OS to Windows Pro for about $760 (note that this one has an i5 8th Gen CPU - to get the i7, you'd need to move to the Gaming version with more memory for about $1,050). The gaming machine would be a monster for what you said you were looking for (but not quite the monster Jim described his system to be).

[Edited by jpb on 4/17/2018 8:39 AM]

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SteveJ

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 3:02 PM
Post #44509 - In reply to #44502

Thanks both, that really is very helpful.

At the moment, for various reasons, I'm limited to using a Microsoft Surface Pro, i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM. If I were to 'upgrade' to, say, a Dell gaming machine would I see much performance increase in OT? I'm hoping to see it whizzing through ATM tests and optimisations but it sounds as though I might be disappointed!

Steve


[Edited by SteveJ on 4/17/2018 3:17 PM]

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jpb

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 3:55 PM
Post #44510 - In reply to #44509

You'd be disappointed.

I'm willing to bet that you could host a VM on that Surface using something like Virtualbox and run testing in it along with what you have in place now. That would allow you to test 2 things at once, doubling your testing vs one instance of OT on your Surface.
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SteveJ

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 4/17/2018 3:59 PM
Post #44511 - In reply to #44502

Once again, thanks!
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SteveJ

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/15/2018 4:32 AM
Post #44684 - In reply to #44511

jpb & Jim

I've been reading up about VMs but I'm not very bright when it comes to computers.

I think I now understand the general principles but I'd appreciate a bit of advice about the following if you have the time.

1. Is there a good idiots guide to VMs that will explain things like linking, updating Windows, updating OT etc?

2. I realise I must buy a new Windows licence to set up a new VM but if I clone a VM to run say 4 instances of OT do I need a separate Windows licence for each clone?

Steve

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Steve Luerman

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/15/2018 9:24 AM
Post #44685 - In reply to #44684

Hi, SteveJ.

I wrote a "How to setup a VM" post in Jim Dean's TradeTight.org forum. This will answer some of your questions.

http://tradetight.org/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1382&posts=16&start=1

The answer to your license question is that it will work, but only if you don't connect those clones to the internet. You won't be able to update windows, or OT, or get data. But, you could update the original Virtual Machine (VM) with Windows updates, OT updates and data, and then create new clones from that updated original. So, this is a way to do testing on a static set of data.


[Edited by Steve Luerman on 5/15/2018 9:28 AM]

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Jim Dean

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/15/2018 9:38 AM
Post #44686 - In reply to #44685

Steve is an expert on this. 😁

One more thot for this thread - if your intent is to do heavy numeric calc testing of OT as he described- for example several simultaneously-running Strategy Wizard studies, then I *highly* recommend machines with single or dual Xeon chips rather than i7’s or comparable. Xeons are tried and true server CPU’s - they will not have overheating problems that i7’s likely could run in to for calcs like this.

Xeon chips for typical user machines are usually dual or quad core. Check out Dell Precision desktops. They even sell Laptops now with these configurations!

If you have a single four core Xeon chip (8 virtual cores), you can easily run four simultaneous balls to the wall SW tasks (or other combo of OT related things) with 16G ram total (2 vote cores and 4G ram apiece). If you want to reserve one for general use and might have a few computational or memory intensive task in that instance at once, then dedicate 4 virt cores and 8G to the main instance and 2vc+4G apiece to two other instances. (You probably could get away with just 3G per OT-instance btw)

Xeon chips for typical user machines are usually dual or quad core. Check out Dell Precision towers. They even sell Laptops now with these configurations!

And if you have dual Xeons each with four cores - with 32G Ram - you are ready for anything. But it’s not an inexpensive machine. 😉

[Edited by Jim Dean on 5/15/2018 9:59 AM]

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jpb

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/15/2018 10:04 AM
Post #44687 - In reply to #44686

I don't question the value of Xeons. I will say though, that the i7's haven't caused me any problem with heat. My bottleneck tends not to be CPU, but rather IO. Each VM, running its own OS instance and processes like AntiVirus and updates does generate IO. It isn't bad when you have RAID 0 or 10 but if you are simply running with RAID 1, you'll see the difference (assuming spinning HDDs). Shifting to SSD, I've seen RAM to be the bottleneck as to how many I can run simultaneously.

One other note on Licensing. In addition to Windows licensing, you'll run into OT licensing. Nirvana is gracious enough to allow us to run 3 (or maybe 5) instances, but beyond that, if you connect to the license server, you'll end up calling Nirvana Support to get your keys reset or you'll be prompted to get your license keys with each startup. By not allowing a linked clone to access the internet you avoid this. It works for running tests against static data.

On the topic of Windows Licensing, I've noticed that Windows 10 will say it isn't activated. To activate it, acquire a license. In reading, I've found that it limits your ability to change certain privacy settings and get rid of some annoying ads, but I haven't yet seen that it stops functioning. I haven't read through the license to know if Microsoft intends this to be a way of keeping Windows in front of people who don't want to purchase temporary Windows instances or if it is their response to squash piracy. I'm not saying to steal Windows, but perhaps Microsoft is being a little more friendly in its quest to conquer the world.
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SteveJ

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/16/2018 3:13 AM
Post #44689 - In reply to #44502

Thank you all.

A final, I hope, question - having cloned the original VM how does one prevent the clone accessing the internet?
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Steve Luerman

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/16/2018 7:50 AM
Post #44690 - In reply to #44689

In VMware Workstation (Pro or Player), you can modify the VM "Network Adapter" settings to NOT "Connect at power on". And/Or, I think you can also set the "Network Adapter" to "Host-only: A private network shared with the host". I would make both changes.

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jpb

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/16/2018 7:51 AM
Post #44691 - In reply to #44689

Deactivate the network adapter of the VM or disconnect the network adapter from within the VM.

If using VirtualBox, there is a little network icon at the bottom right of the VM window (typically just below the network icon of the Windows Guest image). Right click that and uncheck the Connect Network Adapter.

With VirtualBox, you can also use the VirtualBox Manager to enable or disable the network by going into the Network Settings of the VM and change the Attach To: Not attached.

The first method does it against a running VM, the second will also work against a running VM.

If you are using VMware Workstation Player you can Edit VM Settings and then change the Network from NAT to none. Sorry, I can't give any more detail on VMware Workstation Player since it's been too many years since I used it.

Another method from within Windows 10 is to put it into Airplane mode or deactive the network adapter. You run the risk that Windows reached out but so far the worst that I've seen is it switches you from an activated instance of Windows to a Need to Activate instance. Since your clone is just temporary and you will blow it away, you probably don't care about this - your base VM you used for cloning will be just fine. So you can make your network change in the clone and then launch OT. Just make your network change before launching OT.

By the way, I use VirtualBox for another reason -- Shared Folders. Shared Folders options of VirtualBox doesn't use the network and allows you to move files into and out of the VM. You need to have the VirtualBox Guest Additions installed on the guest OS and the "Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack" installed. I think VMware has something similar.

[Edited by jpb on 5/16/2018 7:52 AM]

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SteveJ

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Subject : RE: HARDWARE FOR OMNITRADER
Posted : 5/16/2018 8:24 AM
Post #44692 - In reply to #44502

Brilliant!

Thank you both so much for the assistance
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