Success in the world of high-frequency trading (HFT) is dependent on the speed and efficiency of technology, and firms must continually find ways to modernize their IT in order to execute trades faster than the competition.
This constant need for faster trade processing has created a technology “arms race” to see who can achieve the fastest performance in terms of connectivity, data access, computation, and real-time analytics. High performance computing (HPC) architectures are helping traders shave milliseconds off trade speeds and minimize latency between their workstations and exchanges.
Overclocking is the practice of running hardware at faster speeds than the manufacturer-specified clock frequency. In HFT, overclocking can allow traders to improve the performance and speed of their equipment in order to gain a higher trade frequency, reduce system latency, and ingest greater amounts of trading data in shorter amounts of time.
There are risks to overclocking particularly for HFT firms operating on legacy infrastructures. Pushing the system to its limits in terms of speed can leading to overheating as well as heavily tax individual system components. There’s also a chance that an overclocked device may become unreliable or fail completely if additional steps to cool the device aren’t taken or if power delivery components cannot support the increased power requirements.
HPC server solutions are widely available now for the financial services industry that are more prepared to tolerate overclocking and can help traders process trades faster, increase their competitive advantage, and control IT spend. The purpose-built HPE Apollo 2000 system features dense x86 servers powered by Intel® Xeon® E5-1680 v3 processors and includes special configuration tools that enable overclocking for faster HFT order execution. Free of charge, HPE customers can now have access to a custom BIOS and program which will allow them to overclock the CPUs above the intended Intel® frequency, up to 4.6 GHz.
In the lightning-fast world of HFT, fractions of a millisecond matter when it comes to executing trade orders. HFT firms must find ways to compete more intelligently through the use of a high performance computing infrastructure. With the right hardware, overclocking can be a key differentiator and a central component of a high-frequency trading strategy.
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