Day Traders: What Type of Computer Should You Use

If you have a business enterprise, having the proper equipment to do the job is one of the most important aspects. Day trading is certainly no exception. Since you were searching for day trading equipment, then it’s probably safe to assume that you are aware of the existence of server farms in both Connecticut and New York. Don’t expect this to be an architecture document for building a new data center: it’s not. That would take far too long to explain and would likely still just leave you with more questions. Instead, let’s go over the basic equipment that you’ll need to get started day trading. Some of these things may seem like common sense, but hopefully you’ll finish the entire article and this will give you some direction regarding what you need to buy.
Remember, your equipment needs are just as important as your approach to day trading. Without both, you’re bound to be lost and to lose money. Here’s why having the right computer is so important: day trading means making quick decisions. There will be times when you are involved in a trade for as little as 10 seconds. That means you need a day trading computer that is powerful enough to handle those demands. A decent starting place might be a Pentium i3, but don’t be afraid to get the best, a Pentium i7 is a great piece so hardware that will make sure you’ve got the processing power need to make trades in real time. For memory, anything less than 2 gigabytes is just asking for trouble.
The next thing that you need to consider is your monitors. Different day traders prefer different setups, but having at least 4 monitors allows trading of different stocks and technical indicators all very quickly. Some might even say this is a personal preference; in fact there are day traders that use 12 or even more monitors, as they have different ideas of what should be used where.
Video cards are going to be the next most important factor in your multi-monitor day trading computer. Of all the brands available, ATI and Matrox both produce quality and budget graphics cards that you can use to setup your computer. Remember, however, cheapest is not always best. In the computer business, you often get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to spend a bit extra here to get the quality that you really want. A couple of other hints that should help you are:
1. When you pick out your monitors, make sure that you get a monitor with excellent resolution.
2. Keep your brightness set to low so that you strain your eyes less.
3. Remember that if you set your monitors up correctly when you buy them, it will save you the trouble of headaches from looking at them all day in the long run.
Another important factor for your day trading computer system is your internet connection. An ultra fast connection is an absolute must. Using a dial-up or even the budget cable/DSL internet connection will mean that you could miss out on opportunities to trade. Don’t let saving a few bucks prevent you from crushing it with your new career.
Some other rules to live by are:
1. Don’t trade at public places. The library is a bad, bad idea. Their networks are slow, unreliable and often times they aren’t even secure.
2. Another no-no is trading at Starbucks or other coffee shops. Go there to relax, drink your coffee, catch up on the day’s news, but don’t show off your day trading job. You’ll end up answering lots of ridiculous questions from curious onlookers, but probably won’t be able to focus.
3. Don’t try to trade with a 3G service, tethered or otherwise. This simply isn’t fast enough- 3G is the equivalent of a budget DSL connection. It simply won’t work for what you’re trying to do.
Your next factor to consider is having an appropriate data feed. Day traders need real time data, not the 10 minute lag you get through or other free feeds. You can purchase this feed from your broker. The fees vary from broker to broker, but for a Level 2 information real time feed, expect to pay $100 a month.
Another important consideration should be to have a back up computer with the trading software and anything else you may need ready to go. In the event of a computer crash, the last thing you want is to risk thousands of dollars (or much more) because you didn’t have a backup plan. A little common sense can go a long way in this department. Don’t find yourself in a bind because you didn’t think ahead. A back up internet connect isn’t a bad idea either. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more up front, but compared to the thousands you risk losing in the event that your connect goes down, this seems like a rather small price to pay.
Software on your day trading computer should be kept to a minimum. Don’t load extra applications on this computer- just load the applications that you absolutely need. You can add MS Office and your choice of anti-virus software, but otherwise, keep your computer void.
Your day trading system should be well thought out and designed with the ideas mentioned above in mind. You never want to deal with unexpected surprises, such as your machine locking up at 9:30 AM breakout, but
in the event that that happens, you want to be prepared. You want to have the right number of screens, set up correctly, so that you can easily view and process the necessary information.
If you need more information on building a custom multi-monitor day trading computer, check out They are an excellent trusted resource regarding multiple monitor computers. They’ve also put together some key systems that day traders will likely find useful. Check out their page for day traders to get started.
Hopefully you found this article on day trading computer useful, and more importantly, you learned a thing or two. Your career as a day trader will be prosperous one if you heed the above advice and prepare yourself both mentally and with the equipment that you choose.