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August 29, 2016

Overclocking for Higher Trade Frequency

Suresh Aswani

In the fast-paced world of high-frequency trading (HFT), shaving milliseconds off response times can yield millions of dollars in revenue. Today, computers are executing thousands of calculations per second, easily surpassing human capabilities. Financial institutions have a need for speed, deploying the fastest available hardware to mitigate latency between trader workstations and exchanges and to reach the highest possible clock speeds.

Methods for accelerating trades are aggressively sought after by high-frequency traders looking to dominate the marketplace. The greatest challenge is finding innovative and cost-effective ways to outpace the competition.

Overclocking allows computer processors to exceed their official speed specifications, which enables traders to run more operations simultaneously, digest vast quantities of financial data in real-time, and rapidly convert data into strategic insight. High-performance computing (HPC) has made advanced processing capabilities available to firms across the industry, including the ability to detect emergent trends and capitalize on data-driven decision-making.

To harness the full potential of overclocking, financial institutions are investing in HPC solutions with the density, flexibility, and reliability to complete fast and efficient trades. Certain high-capacity server platforms offer traders the option to overclock the processor in order to optimize the speed and volume of these transactions. In addition to increased processing speeds, investing in the right hardware offers the following advantages:

  • Cost efficiencies throughout the trading process to improve ROI
  • Streamlined trader operations
  • Built-in resiliency technologies in high-performance servers to support overclocking
  • Eliminating memory bandwidth sharing to avoid over-provisioning
  • Efficient, density-optimized platform and flexible infrastructure to accommodate data growth
  • Optimized applications with improved performance and lower core count
  • Significant revenue growth due to higher-frequency trades


However, there are issues associated with overclocking. Demanding more computing power than processors are designed to handle can tax the system, causing potential heat damage and shortening the hardware’s lifespan. Financial institutions operating on legacy systems are specifically at risk as their trading tools become increasingly unpredictable.

To address these concerns, HPE and Mellanox have developed a series of HFT innovations to provide the highest bandwidth, the lowest latency, and, ultimately, the greatest ROI of any trade and match server family. While the “backbone” network of the firm might be beyond the trader’s control, IT departments are ensuring that reliable servers are actively driving performance and competitive advantage. As the benchmarks show, delivering a powerful and scalable infrastructure is key to promoting workload optimization, increasing trade frequency, and reaping greater financial returns.

Overclocking is a matter of enhancing the computing system as a whole and eliminating bottlenecks, not just pushing one component to its limit. Cutting-edge infrastructures and Big Data solutions for financial services are revolutionizing the performance and agility of HFT. Implementing the fastest possible overclocked system will allow financial institutions to stay one step ahead of the competition.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of HFT, milliseconds matter. Leveraging an efficient, density-optimized platform to accommodate trader workloads is vital to meet the rising demands of the financial services industry, achieve higher levels of performance, and ensure long-term success.