Custom Trading Computers, Inc.

Custom Trading Computers, Inc.
Superior Technology for Superior Results

Friday, March 7, 2014

How big of a disk drive do I need

This is another component that is nearly always overlooked but is extremely important to the performance and reliability of a trading computer. Most traders believe that they should get the highest capacity drive they can because they will be getting more for their money. The fact is that most traders don’t use more than 50GB of drive capacity, so what would be the point in getting a system with a 1TB hard drive. Similar to the memory/RAM is the quality over quantity approach. It isn’t how much capacity that is important, but the speed. When you access a file or write data to the drive, each drive has specific timings, in other words how fast it will do the task. Trading applications are constantly writing to the RAM and to the drive, so it is important to keep up with the demand. I recommend Solid State Drives over Hard Disks as they are both faster and more reliable. You want to definitely stay with the latest interface technology called SATA III (serial ATA). I would not recommend looking into a SAS route, as the benefit to traders isn’t enough to justify the overwhelming cost. So again, you should think quality, not quantity. If you do indeed need storage space, you can always have an external large capacity hard drive or large capacity “secondary” internal hard drive for backing up and storing files that don’t get used often.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Much Memory/RAM Do I Need

One of the most important components of a trading computer is the system memory (RAM). Many traders believe that they need as much RAM as possible to gain an advantage. This is only partially true. It is always wise to have more RAM than needed, but more important is the quality of RAM being used. Processor technology moves much quicker than any other technology in computers so many times “high-end” systems get bottle-necked by having slow RAM. There is no sense in having a processor that is so fast that it has to wait on the other components of the computer. For starters, traders shouldn’t have less than 8GB of system memory of any type of RAM. More important however is the speed of the RAM being used. There are $50 sticks of RAM and $150 sticks of RAM, with important reasons for the difference. When RAM leaves the manufacturing plant, each stick is tested and rated. Depending on the rating, it will be placed into specific categories of which the higher-end better rated RAM is more expensive. The reason is simple: there is a lot less “high rated” RAM in a batch than low performing RAM. Nearly all major computer manufacturers use the generic or low performance RAM in their systems to save on costs and keep their prices low to the end-user.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Engine

There is a need to examine some of the hidden parts of your trading computer system. This will influence what you should be looking for when researching and creating the perfect computer for your trading needs.


Chances are that unless you already know a lot about the actual different hardware components in a computer, you’ll never really need to do research on motherboards. The motherboard (main board) is the piece of the puzzle that connects everything together. It is the single most important factor of the computer, because like the other components, every motherboard is not created equal. The motherboard needs to be compliant with the other components. Thus the motherboard  should be the first component you select. One processor may work on one motherboard but not on another. And the same is true for the video cards, and RAM.


The two major processor manufacturers are Intel and AMD. Technology has come a long way. We now have multi-core processors which are extremely useful for traders. Multi-core technology is very similar to SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processor) AKA multi-processor technology in that you have multiple cores to work with on one single slab of silicon. Multiple -core processors are extremely useful for multi-tasking, which is why they should be in your scopes for your trading computer. Intel’s highest end multi-core processor product line is called the i7 while AMD’s is called the A10. Currently Intel’s i7 is the highest-end processor, outweighing the AMD A10 in nearly all categories and benchmarks but comes with a little premium in price.