What’s The Best Trading Computer? – Desktop or Laptop?


Do you need a special trading computer when trading? And if so, what is the best trading computer? Can you trade from a laptop or do you need a desktop? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this video. So stay tuned. So what is a trading computer? You see, a trading computer is a superior, extremely fast computer that is specifically designed for traders. And there are four key ingredients to a great trading computer. First, speed. Number two, reliability. Number three, multiple monitors. And number four, service and support. But before we talk about the best trading computer, let’s take a look at each of these criteria. Criteria number one, speed. You need a computer that is fast enough to keep up with the market data. And it needs to be fast enough to run your software to make the calculations that you need for trading. Nothing is worse than missing a trade because your computer “needed a moment” to calculate your criteria. To be honest, this was more important in the past than it is today. These days, many trading software packages like TradingView or PowerX Optimizer are cloud-based. This means that most of the calculations are done on powerful computers in the cloud and no longer on your computer. Based on my experience, any computer that is less than two years old is usually fast enough to process all the data you need. Criteria number two, reliability. Now, this is a big one. Whether you’re day trading or swing trading, you need a computer to make your trading decisions. And you’re trading computer needs to start when you switch it on. And it needs to keep running through the day when you need it. One of the most common points of failure is overheating, or hard drive failures. So it’s important that your computer has enough cooling so that it doesn’t shut down on you. And the best hard drive is a so-called solid-state drive, also known as an SSD drive. SSD drives are a little bit more expensive but definitely worth it. Criteria number three, multiple monitors. You see when trading, you should have multiple monitors. But you don’t need six or eight monitors at some people try to tell you. You see, here’s a funny story. A friend of mine bought one of these fancy trading computers with eight monitors and he was very excited about it, and he asked me to come over and check it out. So when I came to his office, it definitely looked very impressive. And I asked him, “How do you like your trading computer?” And he said, “Well, I really like it, but there’s a small problem.” And I asked him, “What is that?” And he said, “I have so many monitors, most of the time I’m trying to figure out where my mouse pointer is.” Anyhow, I recommend that you have at least two monitors, one monitor for your charting software and one monitor for your trading platform to enter your orders. For 95% of traders, two monitors are enough. Criteria number four, service and support. As a trader, you need your trading computer. After all, this is your main tool. You need your trading computer for your charting software, and you need it to enter your orders. And here’s the bad news: computers break. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a computer, at some point, there will be problems. And when you have a problem with your trading computer, you need awesome support. Because you don’t want to ship your computer to a support center and then wait two to three weeks until they fix it. When your computer breaks, you need a new one. And you need it now. So make sure that you have the best service and support agreement possible that allows you to get your computer repaired or replaced in 24 to 48 hours. Is this helpful thus far? If it is, hit like so that I know that this is useful for you. Anyhow, so now that you know the main criteria, let’s talk about what is the best computer for trading stocks. Now, in my opinion, there’s no need to pay thousands of dollars for a specific “trading” computer. You see, if you need a computer, just go to Best Buy and ask for a “gaming” computer. Yeah, strange enough, right? But trust me, these gaming computers have enough power to satisfy all your needs. Just go for a mid-range gaming computer, it should cost you anywhere between $600 and $1,000. Another question that I receive all the time is “How much ram do I need to trade?” See, as a general rule of thumb, the more RAM, the faster your computer will be. This so-called RAM is measured in gigabytes and built-in RAM will generally start at 4 gigabyte. But most traders should get at least 8 gigabyte of RAM, and if you can’t afford it go for 16 gigabyte. If I had a choice between more RAM and a slightly slower processor, or less RAM and a faster processor, I would definitely choose more RAM. Next question, “Are Macs any good for trading?” The short answer, no. These days, most trading software is developed for a PC. When using a Mac you need additional software like Bootcamp or Parallels which allow you to run a Windows operating system on your Mac. But that kind of defeats the purpose of a Mac, I mean, why would you run Windows on your Mac? So it’s better to buy a PC, as much as it hurts me to say this. Now, here’s the good news. More and more charting software packages are now web-based. As an example, in order to run the software PowerX Optimizer that I personally use for my trading, you only need a browser like Safari or Chrome or Firefox. So you can use this software on a PC, on a Mac or even on your phone. Now, in a moment, we’re going to talk about, can you use a laptop for your trading? But before we do this, do me a favor. If you find this video helpful hit the subscribe button and also the little notification bell, because this way you will be notified whenever I release a new video. All right, cool. So let’s continue. What is the best trading laptop? The good news? Yes, you can use a laptop for your trading. And here are the pros and cons. The pros: it is super portable. One of the advantages of being a trader is that you can “work” anywhere you want. I personally travel a lot and it’s really difficult to travel with a desktop computer. Fortunately, trading laptops are as powerful as trading desktops, so you should definitely get a trading laptop if you plan on traveling a lot. Now, the con is that you only can connect two monitors. See, when using a laptop you can only have two monitors, your laptop monitor and then one external monitor. But as I explained earlier, two monitors are perfect for 95% of traders so, you’re good. And if you’re looking for a great travel monitor, check out the ASUS MB 169B+. That’s a 15.6″ monitor that weighs less than two pounds and it’s completely USB powered so you don’t need any external power supplies. When you check it out on Amazon, you’ll find that it costs anywhere between $150 to $180 based on whether they have a special right now or not. And I highly recommend this monitor if you plan to have a trading laptop. In terms of technical specification look for the same as in a trading desktop. You want to have at least 8 gigabyte of RAM, more is better. And you want to get a solid-state drive, a so-called SSD, which helps to avoid overheating. Now the monitor on your laptop should be at least 15.6″ so that you can actually see the charts. Now, one more important tip. Read the reviews and make sure that users don’t complain about overheating when you look at the laptop. So, there you go. Leave a comment if you have any questions and make sure to subscribe to my channel and hit the little bell because this way you get notified whenever I release a new video.

7 thoughts on “What’s The Best Trading Computer? – Desktop or Laptop?

  1. Great info Markus. Another issue to read reviews about is fan noise. I have an old 8GB laptop that works great for swing trading. I use Power X Optimizer and Think or Swim. I know a desktop will be more powerful and fun to use, but with the laptop I know I can trade anywhere that I have power and a wi-fi connection (or cell service). I will definitely invest in a SSD drive for my next computer, 16 GB for sure, high resolution graphics (4K), and quad core. One last thing, I buy my computers at Costco, and their concierge service has been excellent. Shoppers at Costco will probably get the lowest price (Black Friday coming up) and they have a great return policy if you get a lemon.

  2. I use three 27“ 4K monitors. I prefer Intel processors since they seem to be more stable than my computers with AMD processor’s. If you run performance monitor I think you’ll find it’s pretty rare that people will use over 12 gig of RAM, when I load up all my software except the Adobe graphics suite I am nevermore than 12 GB of ram. Having less than 12 GB could be problematic and more than 16 GB is just a waste of money unless you use graphics software. If you are building a desktop get memory that’s at least PC 2700 . Fast cpu and fast memory with an SSD installed will get you a lightning fast computer. All the new computers have at least six core processors. If your software is optimized for multicore threads that will speed things up quite a bit. An m.2 SSD Will be the fastest and consume the least amount of energy so they are great for laptops. Most laptops with traditional hdd’s run at 5400 RPM so they are significantly slower. There are some pretty inexpensive solutions to run multiple monitors on a laptop.

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