What Are Trading Computers?
Trading computers are the bread and butter of everyone. It’s the one thing institutional investors, retail traders, and algos have in common. You need a computer to trade. And you need onw that’s fast, up to date, and even portable. As a result, we look at a few trading computers to consider.
What Computer Should I Buy for Trading?
When it comes to selecting the best trading computers, there are quite a few different criteria to keep in mind. Albeit a few less than managing your portfolio. Traders need a machine that can handle demanding programs like ThinkorSwim. As well as multiple trading platforms, monitors, and maybe even some background music depending on your style.
If you prefer to maintain your freedom, then investing in a mobile solution like a laptop can be a great option. While you might initially sacrifice the ability to have a multiple monitor setup, there are workarounds for that as well.
Before jumping in and deciding which computer is best for you, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions so you can make a more informed decision.
- Will the computer be dedicated solely to trading or will you want to use it for other things as well? (Gaming, streaming, coding, etc)
- Do you need a mobile solution? Do you travel a lot and need a computer that you can take with you?
- How many monitors do you want in your setup?
Answering these questions can give you a good insight into what exactly you need. Computers offer a wide range of options and performance standards so it’s important to understand how you plan on using it before settling on a specific one.
Trading platforms and programs can be pretty demanding on computation resources and the choices below take this into account. While these aren’t top-of-the-line gaming computers, they certainly incorporate a good amount of performance that can handle a wide variety of programs and tasks.
Trading Computers That Are Mobile: Apple MacBook Pro
There’s a reason why Apple has a market cap of over $2 trillion. And its high-end, reliable technology certainly has a big part to play in that. Apple has spent decades creating an ecosystem of interconnected apps, operating systems, and servers to make the Apple experience as user-friendly as possible.
While a Macbook isn’t our first go-to choice, it’s an excellent choice for those who already own other Apple devices. The interconnected platforms of Apple are just too convenient and beneficial to disregard.
For this reason, the MacBook Pro is a top choice in the mobile solution category. The MacBook Pro packs a lot of great technology into a small and portable chassis. It even has an amazing battery life of over 20 hours. So this is one of the great trading computers.
The MacBook Pro comes with 8GB of RAM and an 8-core CPU. This can handle multiple trading platforms with ease. The integrated graphics aren’t anything to write home about. But it should provide a decent amount of performance for those that may want to dabble in gaming.
The MacBook Pro comes with a few different options for hard drive sizes. However, bigger tends to be better in this case because it can save a lot of time and hassle later on. The 512GB SSD choice is a great start for those that might not have a ton of files or programs to store. But going higher might be advisable if you plan on storing media like pictures and videos.
While Apple undoubtedly sells reliable and high-end technology, their desire to keep everything within the Apple ecosystem can make things difficult when trying to incorporate or work with non-Apple devices.
This is especially the case when trying to use exterior monitors with the MacBook Pro. In order to connect to monitors that require a VGA or HDMI connection, you have to purchase a USB-C Adapter or an HDTV to Thunderbolt 3 cable. This not only adds more cost to the setup but also complicates things. And it can add clutter to your workspace.
The number of monitors you can connect to is based on how many Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) connections the MacBook has. While this means you can connect to several monitors at a time, it can limit the number of other USB devices you may want to connect to.
The Dell XPS 13 Laptop
The Dell XPS 13 Laptop is a great choice for both beginner and advanced traders alike. It’s a great balance of performance, price, and flexibility.
While it lacks a dedicated graphics card, the integrated Iris series can cover a wide range of uses. And if you aren’t planning on using it for gaming or graphics design then there shouldn’t be any worries.
The laptop also comes with two Thunderbolt 3/DisplayPort connections. This can provide a quick and easy multiple monitor setup. Thanks to Windows 10, a single DisplayPort can be used to daisy chain multiple monitors together.
Therefore, you only need to have a single dedicated port for monitors. Trading computers like this are great when both beginners and advanced traders can benefit from it.
The XPS 13 comes with an 11th generation quad-core Intel processor and 16GB of RAM. This’ll provide more than enough performance to handle programs like ThinkorSwim. While also running other platforms and monitoring charts. It also comes with a 512GB SSD hard drive that should take care of any storage requirements you should have.
If you don’t think those hardware specs are enough, you can also upgrade to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD hard drive for a little bit more. While 32GB of RAM is a little overkill, it can provide good insurance that your laptop will handle whatever you can possibly throw at it.
The lack of an integrated graphics card is certainly a downside. But for those only using it as a trading computer then it really shouldn’t make a difference. While the slim form factor of the laptop can be really useful, it also limits the number of ports and connections it offers.
With only two Thunderbolt 3 connections and a microSD card reader, this laptop can seriously limit the number of devices connected to it at one time. This means that your options may be pretty limited to wireless peripherals and other devices.
Best All Around Desktop Trading Computers: Dell XPS 8940
Another Dell makes the list. And this time it’s a tower that comes loaded with features. This definitely won’t serve you well as a mobile solution. However, it more than makes up for that with an 8-core processor and a 1TB SSD right off the bat.
Desktops are really about providing you with the best features and performance without limiting themselves with size or battery life. This allows manufacturers to really pack in good hardware and accessibility without compromise.
In essence, it’s not just about the best trading computers. But the best hardware helps too. If your tower is old and slow, then your new fast computer isn’t going to be working up to it’s potential.
Therefore, you’ll want a tower that matches the speed or your computer. This will be fore desktops and not laptops. I don’t think you’d want to be carrying around a tower to set up with your laptop if you’re at Starbucks trying to trade.
The Dell XPS 8940 has a lot of great hardware that’ll provide phenomenal performance for a variety of uses. The 10th generation octa-core Intel processor ensures that the calculations and performance measures used by trading platforms will be processed instantaneously. The 32GB of RAM provides ample memory. As a result, your computer can handle countless charts and programs running at the same time.
It also comes with a 1TB SSD drive that’ll provide users with plenty of storage for programs, media, and much more. The desktop also comes with a total of 10 different USB connections so you won’t run out of USB ports.
For monitor support, there’s an HDMI and a DisplayPort. So if you’re looking for more than two monitors then you can daisy chain multiple monitors together with the DisplayPort. If your monitors only offer an HDMI connection then you can purchase a display hub and branch out from there.
Desktops come with a lot of different features, but the big one lacking here is a graphics card. This can be a limiting factor if you are looking to use the computer for more than just trading. As integrated graphics just can’t provide the same performance as a dedicated graphics card.
The lack of a video card also plays into the minimal amount of display options. If you’re looking for a multiple monitor setup then you’re somewhat limited with options. That is, unless you daisy chain monitors or purchase an additional display hub.
Best Performing Desktop Trading Computers ZOTAC Gaming MEK1
No computer list would be complete without some kind of high-end gaming option, so here it is. The ZOTAC MEK1 combines excellent performance with a sleek and flashy aesthetic.
This gaming tower will cover all of your trading needs with plenty of performance to spare. And it even comes with a dedicated graphics card.
So if you’re a gamer or planned to use your purchase for more than just trading, then this may be the choice for you.
Not only does it provide excellent performance for all manner of activities, but it also comes with built-in RGB lights that can really add to the look and feel of your office. We know a lot of gamers trade. So if you need to talk someone into this, then show them the best trading computers so they can see this is apart of that list.
The MEK1 comes with a 9th generation six-core Intel processor and 16GB of RAM. This provides plenty of resources to handle all manner of programs and a multi-monitor setup. The setup also includes a 240GB SSD hard drive along with a 1TB HDD. You won’t have to worry about running out of space very quickly.
The dedicated RTX 2060 graphics card provides 3 DisplayPorts and an HDMI port. You can have up to 4 monitors without having to purchase a display hub or daisy chain your monitors. The dedicated graphics card also means that this desktop is prime for gaming, graphics design, and even a little cryptocurrency mining.
The tower also comes with 7 different USB ports and an audio optical output connection. Overall this is a great choice that provides plenty of performance to accomplish a range of tasks and activities beyond trading.
The MEK1 is a well-rounded device that doesn’t have too many downsides; other than the price. The six-core processor provides good performance. Although it’s a little older than the rest of the options on this list.
For those using monitors with HDMI ports, the single port will require the purchase of a display hub unless the DisplayPorts can be utilized.
Making the Right Trading Computers Choice
Selecting the right option really comes down to how you would like to use the device. If you are an avid Apple user that likes to travel or remain flexible, then the MacBook Pro is probably the best choice for you. If you’re looking for a permanent office setup that will allow you to trade during market hours and then game or program after hours, then the MEK1 might be perfect for you.
No matter what you choose, all of these options provide more than enough resources to run the programs you need to be a successful trader. So whether you are looking for a large multi-monitor setup or something lightweight and simple, these products will have you covered.
How Do I Set Up Multiple Monitors for Trading?
Having multiple monitors is a pretty big part of trading nowadays as it allows traders to view multiple charts all at once, incorporate a news feed, and pretty much show anything of relevance without having to swap between programs. Unfortunately, there can be limiting factors such as the number of connections a computer might have or just not having the correct port.
Luckily, there are a few different ways around this issue that can allow you to run the multi-monitor setup of your dreams.
DisplayPort for Trading Computers
It was mentioned a few times in the article, but in case you missed it, monitors with a DisplayPort can be daisy-chained together. This means that you can run a single DisplayPort cable from your computer and then interconnect your monitors with that single input. This can only work with Windows 10 though, and it does have some minor performance impacts although these probably won’t be evident unless you are really pushing your machine to the max.
HDMI Display Hub
HDMI was one of the most popular formats for display ports for quite a while, so there are a wide range of monitors and TVs that incorporate it. Unfortunately, as new technology develops, these become less common to include on newer systems.
However, the solution to having multiple HDMI monitors is pretty simple as it just requires the use of a display hub like the j5create USB-C to 4 Port HDMI Adapter Hub- Multi Monitor Splitter. This allows multiple HDMI monitors to be connected even without a built-in HDMI port.
We hope these trading computers we covered will be of help to you. The better your computer is, the faster your trades will be. And if you’ve ever had a slow computer or even internet, it can be scary. Therefore, when you have a great computer, your mind is at ease.