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Day Trading Computer Setup

Cory Russell

Apr 22, 2022 16:52


I didn't have a trading computer when I first began day trading roughly 20 years ago. "What is the best trading computer?" and "How to Build a Day Trading Computer?" were never questions I asked myself. I didn't see the need to purchase a computer specifically for day trading.

I was studying at the time, and my finances were poor, so I traded from one of the university's PCs, a standard personal computer with a monitor.

Years later, though, I entirely altered my mind.

If you're a trader, your workstation serves as your trading platform. Thus it should be as simple to use as feasible. When you begin trading, setting up your screen and computer correctly will allow you to utilize the information available to you entirely. A well-prepared trader with a successful day trading setup is an essential aspect of trading that may spell the difference between success and failure.

In the next post, I'll explain why I changed my view and what I believe about computer trading now.

As a bonus, I'll show you six great trading machines and give you a thorough comparison with expenses, statistics, and recommendations.

You'll discover how simple it is to save up to 50% when purchasing a trading computer just by choosing the proper hardware and software without sacrificing quality or performance.

It's All About Efficiency

PC innovation is so rapid that you could purchase a new one every three years for the same price as your old one and get twice the power quickly. However, your 3-year-old trading computer's residual worth will be roughly 30% of its initial price.

When day trading, your goal is to earn a lot of money in a short period, but it does not imply you should risk your money based on that assumption.

Your internal warning system should be triggered if a trading PC loses 70% of its value. Whether you are a novice trader or a seasoned investor, you need to assess the trading computer carefully you should purchase.

Upgread To A New Computer

Most modern PCs have built-in dual monitor capability, needing just the installation of a second monitor, which is a vital tool for day traders.

A DVI connection as a second monitor adapter is standard on new PCs, and your new monitor should arrive with the necessary attachment. You can quickly get a cheap converter at your local computer store or online if you can't plug it in because you don't have the proper extension.

Another advantage for busy day traders who trade forex, CFDs, options, or futures is that the new PC will be free of needless software. If at all feasible, only utilize your new PC for day trading.

As a result, your PC will remain clean and fast, and you will be able to start and reboot quickly.

Nothing is more annoying than having your computer crash in the middle of a trading day, having to restart it, and then having to wait an age for it to boot up again.

The Benefits And Drawbacks of Using A Custom Trading Computer

Let's take a look at the benefits of using a trading computer.

  • Working in a quiet atmosphere

  • Internal PC operations that are quick

  • There's a lot of room and clarity for your trading tools.

  • An excellent foundation for automatic trading.

  • It may also be used for other purposes.

Looking at the benefits alone, you could conclude that a trading computer is one of the most significant components of your home day trading setup. But be cautious; don't ignore the drawbacks.

Even the most advanced trading machines have drawbacks.

  • No assurance having a high-tech computer would make you a better trader or investor.

  • When working with a limited budget, the return on investment (ROI) is quite low.

  • When purchasing pre-configured equipment, exclusivity comes at a hefty price.

  • There are a lot of great trading programs out there with extremely minimal system requirements (so no need for high tech)

  • Even the greatest trading PC is worthless when your internet connection is a mess.


Computer Search Terms are traded.

It won't be the first time you pay money for trade instruction, such as taking a trading course or attending an on-site trading workshop, only to get an email or brochure after the approach promising excellent promotion.

"Buy a trading computer in the following phase, and the gains will arrive automatically," the alluring leaflet would say.

As a result, you're probably looking for:


  • trading desktop

  • trading computers

  • best trading computer

  • best day trading computers

  • day trading computer setup

  • trading monitors

The majority of them have the same mindset, leading you to believe that in order to obtain the most significant trading outcomes, you need the most OK trading computer.

Is this, however, the case?


My Favorite Trading Machines

At the outset, I used university PCs for day trading and investing 20 years ago. However, the reason behind it was not at all what you would imagine.

Within the student residence, there was no LAN or WLAN. Day trading from my little flat would have been hard. That is no longer the case, and it is no longer a significant hindrance.

When I got my first regular job, I purchased my first trading computer. Guys, I earned money almost every single day! And, believe it or not, it was the trading computer that allowed me to make that much money.

I had a fast PC that could run my brokerage trading program, stock screener, and Internet Explorer all at the same time without experiencing any performance issues.

I had a fantastic, high-resolution monitor with a huge 19-inch screen, and this machine was the greatest bang for my money at the time.

Purchasing a trading computer was unquestionably the correct move at the appropriate moment. One PC with one display once again. It wasn't anything special, but it was the finest choice I'd ever made at the moment.

I spent money on CPU improvements and better internet connections throughout the years.

Then, around ten years ago, there was a significant change.

When I initially began creating my NinjaTrader trading systems and building my Trade Ideas stock screeners, I realized that one monitor wouldn't be enough to keep me productive.

So I bought four 24-inch monitors and installed them to four monitor mounts connected to the wall with separately adjustable jib-arms. Everything worked well once I connected my graphic card through HDMI.

I had more than 60 charts open simultaneously on my wildest days as a day trader to see my automatic trading performance and manage my orders (this was really crazy, and I do not recommend doing this on your own).

Things altered again a few years later. My emphasis shifted from manually executed buy and sell orders to completely automated trading utilizing Trade Ideas inside my Brokerage Account as I became more reasonable in day trading the stock market.

One API connection, automatic buy and sell orders, and a strong emphasis on trading strategy building and trade management. As a result, I lowered the number of monitors and replaced them with much larger ones with 4k resolution and a trading laptop, iPad, and mobile device. And that's where I'm at right now.

As you can see, I adjusted my trading computer environment to suit my trading style and budget. I am sure that the proper information technology infrastructure, such as trading PCs, trading laptops, and monitor arrays, can help any day trader or investor improve their performance. However, it must be tailored to your specific requirements and budget.

One thing was always definite whenever I purchased a trade machine. I had to choose every major component, personalize it, and construct it myself.

I've never purchased a pre-configured trading computer. Never!

The first PC was a little challenging, but I developed some fantastic computer tinkering abilities and never had to rely on a third party.

In the next part, I'll explain why putting up your trading desktop is still the best option. In addition, if you don't have time to develop your own high-performance / low-cost trading desktop setup, I'll show you the finest option.

Comparison of Trading Computers (pre-build vs. self-assembly)

There is no question that you need high-end trading computers as an institution. The issue remains if there is a need for it, particularly among retail dealers.

Your budget is tight, so it's normal that you'd want to save as much money as possible on your trading PC setup.

Let's go through the fundamental specifications for the trading machine we're searching for. First and foremost, our trading computer of choice should be capable of performing well for at least three years and have the following minimal configuration:


  • CPU: Intel i9 

  • Hard drive: SSD 2TB

  • Power Supply Fans: extra silent

  • RAM: 32 GB

  • Multi-Monitor Support: 4 monitors or more

My Personal Setup

I began with three Lenovo laptops for my day trading PC, each with a solid-state drive and 16GB of RAM. The Lenovo I used was the Y50, which is a gaming PC.

In general, I recognized that any gaming machine would be ideally suited for day trading since it would have plenty of RAM and excellent graphics cards.

Personally, I prefer laptops over desktop computers, but that is mostly because I work 12-14 hour days and want to be able to roam about the home while working. Laptops are often more costly and are more difficult to update over time, so you may need to replace them in a few years.


Choosing the Best CPU

A good day trading computer should be able to handle a large amount of data quickly.

You may require numerous windows open at the same time, each streaming a tremendous quantity of real-time data, all while performing lightning-fast transactions where every second (or less) matters.

Your computer's central processing unit, or CPU, determines its capacity to handle all of this data. The performance of your CPU, also known as clock speed, is a measurement of how rapidly it can complete tasks and is expressed in gigahertz (GHz).

Some CPUs have many cores that enable them to handle various tasks independently, outperforming single-core day trading machines significantly.

A quad-core CPU with a clock speed of at least 2.8 GHz is required for day trading. However, a frequency of 3.3 GHz or greater is preferred. This is one of our preferred Intel processors for day trading, although other, more costly choices could be better.


Hard Disk Drives

Because of the relatively recent arrival of solid-state drives, or SSDs, hard drives are now another area where you may improve the speed of your day trading computer.

The data on your computer is saved on hard drives.

While a conventional hard drive will provide plenty of data storage space for day trading, an SSD offers greater overall performance and considerably quicker startup times, which may save your life in the case of an unintentional shutdown.



Random-access memory is your computer's short-term memory, allowing it to execute many tasks simultaneously.

Your day trading computer's RAM should obviously be on the upper end. The size of a computer's memory is measured in gigabytes, or GB. Your day trading computer should have at least 8 GB of RAM. However, 16 GB is the best option.


Graphics Cards

The number of displays you use simultaneously determines the best graphic card for your day trading PC.

While someday traders get by with only one or a few monitors, each with several windows or split screens, most successful day traders ultimately move to a high number of displays to successfully watch many stocks at once.

GPU, or graphics processing unit, your graphic card used to process visuals. On your day trading machine, you should install a graphic card with at least 4 GB of GPU.


The Monitors 

The amount of displays you'll need for your day trading PC is a personal decision you'll make based on your own personal experience with what works best for you. You may select from a broad range of wall mounts and desk mounts to have your monitors set up just the way you want them.

On the other hand, your monitor selection does important in terms of resolution. The monitor's resolution determines the quality and clarity of any visuals shown.

Your displays for your day trading PC should show sharp, high-quality pictures so that you can swiftly digest the vast quantity of real-time data on them.

Your day trading computer displays should have a resolution of 1080p, which will provide you with some of the finest visuals possible on a retail monitor. Fortunately, high-quality displays are often affordable, so acquiring the optimal monitor setup for your day trading techniques won't break the budget.

I have two Asus 24" monitors linked through HDMI cables, and they are reasonably priced at about $200 apiece.

I believe you'll be OK as long as you use HDMI-enabled monitors that can be mounted. For our purposes, they're all very much the same.


USB to HDMI Converters

People often inquire as to how I manage to control so many external monitors with just a laptop. I use Diamond USB to HDMI converters, which cost about $50 apiece.

They may be found on Amazon and NewEgg. Each monitor is a bit more expensive, but it makes things easier for me.

Video card adapters are required to operate external displays on either a laptop or a desktop computer, and I'm OK with using USB-style adapters.

Because most computers don't have eight USB ports, I use a USB Ports Hub to connect up to ten USB devices. You'll need one of these, which costs about $15.00.


Racks for Monitors

I don't receive many inquiries about it, but it's significant. Many of the less expensive monitor racks consist of two large arms that can hold six monitors, three on each arm. The difficulty is that these arms usually have a little bent, which means they may be up to 6 feet long from end to end.

Because I don't enjoy having my displays spread out across 6 feet, I find this tough to utilize. My Left and Right arrays are tilted toward the center, so monitors encircle me.

This implies you'll want to look for a monitor rack with ELBOWS! The Elbows enable you to bring the monitors on the left and right closer to you, and this is something I strongly suggest. After purchasing the conventional type, I replaced it with an elbow-style rack.


Putting Everything Together

Because gaming PCs share many of the requirements that constitute a successful day trading computer, putting up a high-quality system should be inexpensive and straightforward.

Take your time to browse around, and keep in mind that buying your day trading computer in its component bits and putting it together yourself or paying a local computer professional to do it for you may save you hundreds of dollars.

Buying a Trading Computer: What to Look For

The characteristics of your computer determine the speed at which you can conduct transactions and the types of applications you can run. Let's look at some of the most significant factors to consider before making a purchase.

  • RAM (random access memory) is a kind of memory that enables your computer to store information. When buying a trading computer, seek models with at least 8GB of RAM.

  • Processor Speed: Faster processors help your computer to do processes faster, but they cost more. You'll want to look for a CPU with at least 4 to 6 cores (like the i5 Intel Processor).

  • Look for a trading computer that has a solid-state drive (SSD) as the main hard disk. These hard drives are more dependable when it comes to accessing data rapidly.

  • If you're a skilled trader or need to watch many software alternatives at once, you may want to consider a computer with dual-screen monitor capabilities.

  • Battery Life: Keep an eye on your battery life. The finest trading laptops have at least an 8-hour battery life.