Many investors tend to think that they have to get a powerful day trading computer to be successful day traders. The truth of the matter is that they only need a computer that meets the minimum system requirements for day trading.
A laptop is one of the best trading computers to have because of its portability therefore day trading can be done from whichever location you’re at.
Some of the basics include having high internet speed, lots of Ram, multiple screens for charting, and at least a dual-core processor though a quad-core is most preferred.
Without any doubt, most traders want to be able to trade from the comfort of their living rooms or their cars but that can only work with a laptop set up especially for beginner retail traders.
Let’s look at what the best day trading computer setup needs to have. You will be astounded to see that you can save up to 50% of the cost of setting up a trading computer.
In this review, we will look at some of the best day trading computers with an in-depth overview of the costs, facts, suggestions, and comparisons without having to trade that with performance and quality.
About Day Trading Computer Setups
To have the right day trading computer setup, you need to have all the components in place as indicated above in this review.
Let’s look at some of their benefits and weaknesses.
Pros and Cons of a Day Trading Computer
- Your trading computer setup can be done however it fits your trading style. This can be through a customized laptop or a trading desktop computer with multiple monitors.
- Fast internal processing speed helping your programs run smoothly.
- You can now multitask by using multiple monitors to save you time.
- A custom trading computer is definitely not cheap and can take up more room to set up.
- You may run into problems when searching for parts for a custom computer setup
- All that tech will not make you any better trader at the stock market.
- Without high internet speed, the day trading computer setup becomes ineffective.
Best Day Trading Computers
You will be surprised to hear that many of the trading software out there are compatible with simple desktop computers and laptops.
However, as you advance in trading you have to consider which trading program is best and how many monitors you will need to have the right day trading setup.
Why do you need a good computer setup? Because proper working tools are very important for this kind of work.
To run conventional trading software, you need to have premium tools to succeed in making money trading alerts.
Let’s look at some of the day trading computer setup requirements below here.
Day Trading Computer Requirements
1. Trading Monitor
When it comes to trading monitors, it is best to have a high-resolution screen 1080p being the lowest.
You can also have additional monitors to make your trading easier and there are lots of options out there 4k, curved, gaming, etc.
2. Random Access Memory
Simply put, this is the computer’s short-term memory that keeps your multiple windows running like a charm.
Being a trader you and your trading computer will be to do calculations and run various programs while multitasking which is why you will need more ram.
So how much ram do I need? A day trading computer setup needs to have a minimum of 8GB of RAM however if running multiple programs, trading monitors, or even a mobile monitor, 16GB RAM or more will suffice.
A central processing unit is the brain of the computer and this is the main component responsible for executing and interpreting most of the commands from your trading software.
The clock speed of a processor is measured in GHz (gigahertz) so the higher it is the better for the trader with the minimum being 2.8GHz.
A dual-core processor will run data twice as much as a single core would. A quad-core will as well double the dual-processor speed.
We recommend a tower or laptop with a quad-core processor such as Intel i7
4. Hard Drives
A computer’s hard drive is where all data is stored by the trading computer however the size of storage will depend on what you are using the computer for.
For stocks trading, you don’t really need much space since most of the business is done online. However, if you have to store other items such as documents, photos, and music files then you will need more space.
A solid state drive (SSD) boots a lot faster and runs much cooler than an old spin drive.
There are hybrid hard drives with half HDD and half SSD however we recommend that you go with the SSD for day trading because it is the fastest.
It will be more than enough to have a 500GB SSD drive purely for trading but not for general use.
5. Graphics Card
This is what is responsible for processing graphics and putting them on your screens. How many monitors do you want to have?
Always note that to use multiple monitors you must have a more powerful graphics card with at least 4GB space like Nvidia if you intend to run more external monitors.
You will also need mini display port adapters and HDMI cables. Other cables needed include a mini DP to DP and a DP to VGA.
A laptop with a built-in graphics card is more than enough for running charting software.
Is that all you need for day trading? High-speed internet is very important to have.
Why do you need high-speed internet?
It is a no-brainer that stock trading uses high-speed trading computers that operate on fiber-optic networks which cost a fortune to access. This is to help them get their orders showing on the traders’ screens.
But what will a retail trader need for day trading? You will need to have the very best internet speeds available in the market to ensure that an order goes through from your computer to the order book within an instant.
Other than just sending orders through, day traders need to have the most current feeds from the stock market to be able to make instant decisions.
This means that you can see every movement of the candlestick chart. Slow internet lags the moving averages and candlestick charts which could make you lose money while trading.
As you look around for high internet speeds to day trade, ensure that the internet plan you go for can be handled by your trading computer.
Note that a wired connection is usually faster than a wireless one therefore go for the one that fits your personal preference.
Computer Setup Speed Requirements for Day Trading
You need to have 4 Mbps of download speed on your trading laptop at the very least which is still considered to be slow.
If you are constantly trading, you need to have at least more than 15 Mbs of download speed.
A minimum of 5 MB upload speed is enough to day trade however the more the merrier. At this minimum, you might still experience downtime hence an order execution delay.
Broadband cable internet is what we recommend for the best trading experience, not a DSL.
If you can get access to the coax or the fiber optic cable, it would be even better. You may also need to know that internet speeds can fluctuate especially there’s a big number of people around you using the same internet.
Therefore, connect the best speeds to your trading desktop so as not to experience a total slow down of the internet service.
Which is Better: Self Assembled or a Prebuilt Trading computer
Hedge funds and other trading institutions definitely need top-of-the-range trading platforms to implement their trading strategies.
However, do retail traders need to have such a trading desktop setup?
Retail investors wish to spend as little as they can on a day trading computer setup therefore let’s look at the basic requirements for a computer setup.
To begin with, the computer setup should be able to last for a minimum of 3 years with the following minimum requirements.
- SSD 256GB hard drive
- 16 GB RAM
- Intel i7 CPU (6 core)
- Extra silent power supply fans
- Support for more monitors (at least 4)
Now that we have covered the bare minimums, is a pre-built PC better than a self-assembled one?
First, let us look at what they are.
A pre-built PC is an off-the-shelf trading computer ready for use therefore you won’t need to customize anything.
A self-assembled trading computer is one where you buy all the parts individually and assemble them yourself after receiving their shipment.
A pre-built trading computer setup is more convenient as you only need to buy and set it up without getting extra additions.
At the same time, a self-assembled trading desktop is cheaper than the pre-built one however both work the same way, and it’s, therefore, a matter of preference.
Avant-Garde Trading Desktops
Here we will list some of the best trading desktop computers both preconfigured and self-assembled. The trading computers include;
- trading computers.com
- Self-assembled computers
The configuration that comes with the Trader X100 is good enough however you will need to add silent components as well as the option to have 4 monitors.
The total price should come to about $1,780 but the problem is the company – Orbital Computers as they don’t mention the product type and brand name of the parts they have used to assemble this computer.
Just like Orbital Computers above, the Trader 8000 Elite trading station works like a charm however you will need to spend a little more on upgrades like the silent component.
At least Bleu Aura computers are more candid about the product they offer as they have provided details of all components in the computer.
Their buyers’ guide explains the brands they have used for the components which is a huge plus.
Despite Trading Computers being among the most seen vendors in Google results pages, tey offer the least appealing trading desktops.
They are cheap and you will be tempted to buy however they provide absolutely no details regarding the parts used in creating their trading workstations.
You basically buy a black box with absolutely no details about it which is of no worth.
We recommend that you don’t consider such an offer despite their nice-looking website with beautiful pictures.
It will be a big loss to discover that the computer components are of low quality or a big plus if they come from credited manufacturers but are you willing to take a gamble?
Self Assembled Computers
Within a few clicks of the mouse, you can put together a trading desktop saving you tons of money at pcpartpicker.com.
Suppose you visit the website and pick only high-quality computer components to construct 3 different desktop workstation configurations.
Assuming the first configuration components you pick to include a G.Skill Ram, Fractal Design case, SeaSonic power supply (silent platinum), an ASUS motherboard, GTX 1060 Nvidia GeForce video card that supports 4 monitors, Cursial 250GB SSD hard drive, and silent components. You end up paying a total of $1,486 for a premium machine.
If you go for components from less known brands with less power, you end up saving up to $300 with the second configuration going at $1,144 for the whole setup.
The quality, in this case, is decently high and you will easily carry out your stock trading business.
For the third configuration, we assume that you don’t have a computer yet and are only interested in swing trading. A lower-cost computer will work just as well and may fetch up to $580 at pcpartpicker.com.
It’s amazing how there are so many options for the self-assembled trading station at the price that fits your pockets.
Other than pcpartpicker.com, you could also order these parts from a computer store near you if you live in a bigger town or city.
Is a Gaming Computer Good for Day Trading?
Absolutely. They are very fit for anyone with the need for day trading however the machines are designed with a focus on gamers and traders.
Computer components such as graphic cards are built for much higher performance rendering but not for day trading activities.
At the same time, it is a great trading platform in as much as you won’t need all that power
Important Considerations When Configuring a Trading Computer
Whether you like to assemble your own by buying parts and assembling it or you’re the type of person that goes for the preconfigured one, It all depends on you.
Regardless, are important things you have to know in order to have the best trading computer.
1. Excellent video card with support for more monitors
With a good video card, you can connect your computer to more than one monitor depending on the needs you have.
You could even use it as a games computer if you so wish in your spare time.
If you also see yourself using it as a gamer, be careful when choosing the video card because some are not compatible.
2. Use SSD hard drives
SSD is the way to go when it comes to primary hard drives on your day trading computer setup. Don’t go for the old-school hard drives.
These can only be used for saving files that have a few terabytes however the solid state disk is a very fast computer that boots up within seconds.
With SSD you have higher chances of saving your data in case the hard drives crash. Data protection is not so great with the old-school hard drive.
3. Power supply, fans, and silent case to avoid living in a power plant.
With an efficient power supply, less heat will be dissipated meaning the system will be quiet thanks to the fans
A silent case computer means you get less airflow enhancing the performance of your computer by sound damping, therefore, performing quiet operations.
Without these, you will be living in an airport or a powerplant within your house.
4. Premium brand names
To have the best trading computer, brand names are very crucial.
Not only because of their names because of system upgrade functionalities, compatibility, and the good feeling of having the best trading computer for your investment and trading activities.
Good brand names give you the confidence of knowing that you will hardly run into a situation such as a system outage.
Trading Platform Budget
I know it feels good to invest in a $1,800 trading computer to mark the debut of your trading journey.
Assuming you are starting off with an investment capital of $10,000, why would you want to commit 18% of it to a day trading computer setup?
It would take you about two years to have a return on investment if you put the money on a long-term investment vehicle.
Don’t go for trading laptops or computers if you don’t have a lot of capital.
Additional Expenses to Your Trading Computer Setup.
Your trading computer setup cannot be complete without a few other crucial components to have.
These include a mouse, keyboard, an optical drive, and cables. It won’t hurt for you to get things that rhyme with your trading style.
A trading keyboard though not cheap but it is very handy as it comes with keystrokes and shortcuts.
The final component is the monitors which be expensive to purchase.
Trading Monitors and Screens
With more than one trading monitor, you can run multiple programs concurrently which greatly enhances your trading strategies.
You can start with two monitors in the beginning and with the correct video card, you can add other monitors without modifying any hardware parts.
There really aren’t any requirements for having trading monitors therefore ensure you get good value for the price you purchase at.
24″ to 32″ monitors are good to start with and you don’t have to get 4k monitors as they have very small fonts that ay may require you to adjust.
With $500 or thereabout, you have enough to buy and mount the monitors. You can upgrade to better monitors after making money trading stocks.
Those with laptops for day trading can get themselves mobile monitor stands for their mobile monitor to prevent it from falling off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Would I require a separate computer for investing?
No, you don’t need an extra computer for investing as your current desktop or laptop is sufficient for the day trading.
The better the computer the better your chances of improving past performance.
Which is the best trading computer?
After going through this review, you realize that there is no general answer to this question and therefore depends on the trader’s needs. This review guide will help you choose the best trading computer for yourself.
Which is the best for trading? PC or MAC
PCs are compatible with almost all trading software out there however the MAC sometimes has trouble working with some of these tools.
Running Windows on your MAC makes it even more complicated therefore go for the PC. You could also run into issues when using more than 4 monitors.
How many monitors do I need for day trading?
Many traders out there like to use multiple screens however one is just enough. The trader with a low budget does not have to break the bank as a single laptop will do the trick.
Which is the best processor for day trading?
As indicated earlier, a processor’s clock speed is measured in GHz and the higher it is the better for your trading activities.
Processors have different cores however a day trader should have the minimum of a dual-core processor. A quad-core one will make things even better.
I believe you have now learned a thing or two about day trading computers and that you can set one up by yourself instead of purchasing a preconfigured one.
Whichever is your personal choice however before making all this investment, ensure that you have taken some day trading education classes so that you don’t blindly lose all your money.
Too many monitors for watching stocks can actually make you lose focus and hurt the way you trade so don’t make it too busy.
Trading is more about having the correct mindset and following simple patterns so don’t complicate the process by watching every single move being made.
Whichever device you choose to go for, note that you must have a brokerage account that fits with your trading needs.
Hoping that you have enjoyed reading this review, I recommend you go out there and get yourself a computer that fits your trading needs.
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Author: J Maver
Passionate in tech, software and gadgets. I enjoy reviewing and comparing products & services, uncovering new trends and digging up little known products that deserve an audience.