Re: speed performances / hardware / cpu

Nigel Wade <>
Thu, 16 Nov 2006 12:31:19 +0000
antoine wrote:


I'm developing / supporting a java "client" application (running on PCs
with XP pro, jre 1.5) which is a high performance trading client. it
receives market updates, displays them on screen (swing), does a serie
of computation, and performs several actions based on computated values
(order sending, cancelation, etc...). it is designed to run for 8 hours
straight without interruption, does not access any database, only uses
socket-based I/O, and is correctly multi-threaded.

I'm looking at upgrading our workstations, to hopefully get a speed
increase. currently, our "base computation" routine takes around 5ms
average, and I'm looking at reducing this number (I'm also looking at
improving CODE performances, but this post is about hardware).

currently we're running on dual CPU intel Xeon 2.8GHz, roughly 3 years
old, with 1GB RAM. virtual memory usage is around 128MB, so I believe
RAM is not an issue.

which kind of upgrade would sound smart to you ? I've seen technologies
- all the "dual core" family
- 64-bit architecture (although no JVM for intel on XP pro 64-bit)
- simply pushing the frequency to 3.6GHz...

does 64-bit make sense ? or is it only for memory intensive application
(we're more concerned with execution speed) ?

any insight or link to any informative page would be most welcome !



Firstly I'd verify that the code is really taking advantage of dual CPUs and is
not wasting CPU cycles by having threads waiting on locks, or cache thrashing
due to each thread/CPU modifying the same data concurrently. Secondly, you need
to determine what is the major bottleneck in the current system. Is it CPU,
memory bandwidth, PCI/graphics latency, network latency etc. Until you know
this you have no idea where to spend your money effectively.

The only way to really know what is best is to actually run your code on various
systems. It's not just about pure raw CPU cycles, GHz etc. It's also about the
support chipsets, how well the motherboard is put together, how well the multi
processors can manage cache coherency, and other very esoteric hardware issues.

Nigel Wade, System Administrator, Space Plasma Physics Group,
            University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
E-mail :
Phone : +44 (0)116 2523548, Fax : +44 (0)116 2523555

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