How do I Choose the Best Day Trading Computer?

Ron Davis
Ron Davis
Many traders like using a large computer screen that features graphics and charts.
Many traders like using a large computer screen that features graphics and charts.

The best day trading computer will have several desirable attributes. First and foremost, a day trading computer must have a reliable, fast Internet connection to the markets. A high quality video card is also key. Many day traders prefer a large screen size to track various charts, and some prefer a smaller screen for more focus. The computer should also have amount of processing memory.

Hard drive size is not generally an issue for a day trading computer.
Hard drive size is not generally an issue for a day trading computer.

A day trader needs to acquire price information timely, have his orders submitted to the market quickly, and for these tasks he needs an Internet connection that is reliable. Nothing destroys a day trader’s equanimity as much as having his connection go down just as he is submitting an important order. Likewise, nothing destroys a trading account balance as quickly as an angry, frustrated trader.

A computer without a strong and consistent internet connection can be frustrating for a day trader.
A computer without a strong and consistent internet connection can be frustrating for a day trader.

Individual traders will typically use price pattern or price pattern related algorithms. Therefore, a high quality video card should be next on the list for determining the best day trading computer. A trader’s first reaction is likely to be that the fastest, most capable card is best, but in fact, the best video card for gaming is a waste of money for a trader because while the trader needs speed, there is no reason for him to pay for the highest speed, three-dimensional vector graphics capability for his two dimensional rasterized charts.

Screen size is an important consideration in choosing a day trading computer. Some traders find that a 17 inch (43 cm) laptop is just the right size to keep them focused for trading a short time frame on a single market. Other traders prefer more screens and more size. A day trader working on a 30 minute time frame might prefer three or even six 24 inch (61cm) screens to track several markets. Comfort is important, and if a trader cannot see clearly the charts he is using for trading, he will make avoidable mistakes.

The last important element is the central processing unit (CPU), or brain, and its random access memory (RAM). Individuals choosing the best day trading computer for themselves will not need the newest, the fastest, or the most core count for their CPU. Two or more cores processing at 3 GHz or better with 2GB of RAM per core will provide very adequate speed, because these components are working in concert with a high quality video card. Permanent memory is not an issue for a day trader, because all current hard drives have more than adequate size and speed.

Possibly the most under-appreciated aspect of choosing the best day trading computer is the trader himself. If he believes his computer is too slow, the trader will change the way he trades. Small changes in trading can bring large changes in results. If the trader is confident that his computer is adequate, that confidence will lead to better trading. To choose the best day trading computer, the trader must know a little about computers and a lot about himself.

Discussion Comments

thomasgalvin

Good guidelines to remember while purchasing the trading computers. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Many traders like using a large computer screen that features graphics and charts.
      By: NAN
      Many traders like using a large computer screen that features graphics and charts.
    • Hard drive size is not generally an issue for a day trading computer.
      By: merydolla
      Hard drive size is not generally an issue for a day trading computer.
    • A computer without a strong and consistent internet connection can be frustrating for a day trader.
      By: lichtmeister
      A computer without a strong and consistent internet connection can be frustrating for a day trader.