The Ultimate Scalping Setup (HW&SW)

Discussion in 'Order Execution' started by laocoon, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. laocoon


    Hi there

    I realise that parts of the subject I want to discuss in this thread have already been covered elsewhere, but I've never seen a comprehensive thread that covers ALL aspects of the Ultimate Scalping Setup at once.

    I'm scalping the DAX from Europe using IB (I'm a Home-Based Trader) and I want to optimise every part of my HW/SW Setup to get the fastest execution speed possible.

    Here's my Setup:
    -Toshiba Satellite Laptop with Pentium 4 / 2.80 Mhz & 512 MB RAM
    -D-Link DI 713P Wireless Gateway
    -2 Mbit ADSL connection

    -Windows XP Pro
    -PC Cilin Antivirus
    -Ad-Aware Antispyware
    -Ping Plotter

    Trading Applications:
    -Ninja Trader

    I run virus/spyware etc, scans every day and defragment my Harddisk once a week. I increased the Paging File size to 2.5 times the initial setting in XP (from 768 MB to roughly 2000 MB). I never run any other application on my system while trading.

    By switching from Norton Internet Security to PC Cilin I considerably increased execution speed because PC Cilin found & destroyed a few viruses on my system that Norton overlooked. The increase in Paging File size also improved system performance a little. I compared execution speed using Wi-Fi & wireline connections and found no notable difference.

    I'm obviously aware that trading from a Prop Shop would be the single-most effective way to increase execution speed, but I recently went to visit one and compared their setup/speed with mine and found out that while they obviously had an edge it was smaller than I thought.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.

    PS: I'd be specifically interested in any Windows XP tweaking/fine-tuning tricks to increase overall system performance
  2. Ditch IB for Velocity if scalping DAX. Much better intraday haircut and use of MD Trader. A laptop is not optimal, but you're going to use what you have. Get a redundant BB connection, cable with DSL backup. Otheriwse, you look like you know what you're doing. I am sure you'll get some advice on system performance tweaks.
  3. FredBloggs

    FredBloggs Guest

    pretty much agree.

    youre gunna need rock bottom costs and a super fast connection as i expect you know.

    remember that youre 2mb connection will be no faster than a 0.5mb as this deals with how much (width) you can fit down the pipe, not how fast it goes.

    is there latency by having a front end to your ib platform?

    why use a lap top - get a desk top. with lap tops, everything is squeezed in - especially the keys and the mouse making fat fingers mistakes more likely.

    personally id leave it alone altogether and go for longer term stuff like 5m bars. trading is tuff enuff as it is without putting yourself at the back of the queue with the wrong tools.

    good luck
  4. laocoon


    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I know that there's a broad consensus among many pro traders that the ultimate scalping setup is MD Trader for execution & CQG for charting, but I tested both a few months ago and I must say that while it looked very good it wasn't so much better as to justify the switch (and the extra costs associated with it)

    I get a ping of 60-100 ms with IB, while with Velocity it was around 40-80, depending on time of the day, etc. Considering that the average time it takes for a trader to pull the trigger is probably around 500 ms(depending on the number of espressos he's having for breakfast), those few extra ms are to be put into perspective in my opinion.

    What's more, I'm currently having an automated scalping system developed using one of IB's APIs and there also seems to be a consensus that TT's API is a lot less user-friendly than IB's. (My developer confirmed this).

    Finally, since Ninja was one of the first front-end developers to sign a technology licensing deal with TT, I expect their platform to look more and more like MD Trader anyway. And while I've only heard good things about Velocity, I still have more trust in a big, established broker like IB when it comes to financial stability & protection of funds.
  5. laocoon


    Thanks for your comments. There's negligible latency when using a front-end with IB which is more than compensated by the much quicker order entry & modification it provides.

    I've been successfully scalping the DAX full-time for over 2 years now (averaging a hit rate decent enough to make a living) so I don't think that I have the wrong tools at all, I just want to improve their efficiency even more...
  6. lakka



    seems you like you have got most things covered, except for using a laptop. Disk IO is probably the single most important factor performance wise and most laptops still use slower performing 5400rpms hard disks.

    So since you want to discuss the ultimate setup , the best thing would be to use a good speced pc with extra focus on the disk io.
    Using 15K spin SCSI disks connected to a raid controller with a large cache. ( 2 x disks in Raid1)

    controller example:
    Disks example:,1081,657,00.html

    Back to the OS, you want to go trough each service running and disable those you do not need. Some tips here :

    Also since we still are discussing the ultimate setup.
    Consider using a PC for trading / charting only.
    No surfing or anything else.
    Do not install any virus /spyware program etc.
    this should enhance your performace
    Close all TCP ports in the OS
    Enable only the ports used for IB and Esignal
    Cleanest setup you can have. Very low security risk.
  7. What's a ping blotter?

  8. lakka


  9. chud


    How do you measure execution speed? And what did you use to measure the prop shop's speed to yours? Just ping times?
  10. I'm not a scapler, but I have used wireless briefly for trading. I would suggest you ditch it.

    Perhaps it's more of a localized problem with my building, but I always get momentary disconnections from my network. Also, wireless gives hackers a way in if they're determined enough.

    I still use wireless for my laptop so I can be mobile around the house. But for my data server and main desktop, I stay with a hard connection. A wired connection can be faster than wireless (depending on the wireless version) but the main thing is security and reliability.
    #10     Sep 11, 2005