Appro announces overclocked server for high finance

High-performance computing specialist Appro has unveiled an overclocked dual-processor server targeted at companies that use major computing resources to exploit the financial markets
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

A server engineered for executing high-frequency financial trades has been unveiled by Appro.

On Tuesday, the high-performance computing services company introduced its HF1 Server, which can have up to two 4.2GHz overclocked six-core X5680 Intel Xeon processors and 48GB of overclocked dual in-line memory modules (DIMMS) running at 1440MHz each. It also features two on-board Gigabit Ethernet ports and seven Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen 2 slots.

"[Our] ideal customers are in the financial industry, especially the high-frequency and electronic trading, hedge funds and proprietary-trading firms," the company said in a statement. Industries that can take advantage of the high CPU clock frequency and overclocked memory will also benefit from this solution."

The types of company that Appro is targeting with this server already pick their datacentre on the basis of its latency to the local financial centre, according to financial datacentre specialists Interxion. The HF1 is designed to complement a low-latency location with a high on-board computing capacity, Appro said in the statement. By overclocking its two processors to 4.2GHz, a 3U rack can achieve 211 gigaflops per second, Appro said. One gigaflop is equal to a billion individual calculations per second.

Because of how high-frequency trading works, the computations must be made on CPUs rather than GPUs, a spokeswoman for Appro told ZDNet UK on Thursday. HP recently released a three-GPU blade server that could perform up to a teraflop (1,000 gigaflops) of calculations per second.

Overclocking requires heating the processor to a higher temperature than it has been certified for. This increases the number of potential calculations that the chip can do per second, but also places more stress upon its hardware. For this reason, Appro is offering only a one-year warranty on the server, as the overclocking of the processors voids Intel's own warranty.

Each server takes up three rack units of space, partly because of the water-cooling infrastructure, which is necessary to stop the overclocked hardware from overheating. Each server draws down 1200W of power. Pricing was not available at the time of writing.

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