What’s The Best Trading Computer? A Desktop Or A Laptop?

What’s The Best Trading Computer?

Best Trading Computer - Image

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?

We will answer all these questions and more in this article.

What is a trading computer?

A “Trading Computer” is a superior, extremely fast computer that is specifically designed for traders. There are four key ingredients to a great Trading Computer:

1.) Speed,
2.) Reliability,
3.) Multiple monitors, and
4.) Service & Support

Before we talk about the best trading computer, let’s take a look at each of these criteria:

1. 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. 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 2 years old is usually fast enough to process all the data you need.

2. Reliability

This is a big one: Whether you are day trading or swing trading, you need a computer to make your trading decisions. Your trading computer needs to start when you switch it on. And it needs to keep running throughout the day when you need it.

One of the most common points of failure is overheating or hard drive failures. 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 SSD drive. SSD drives are a little bit more expensive, but DEFINITELY worth it!

3. Multiple Monitors

When trading, you should have multiple monitors. But you don’t need 6 or 8 monitors as some people try to tell you. 

Here’s a funny story: A friend of mine bought one of these fancy trading computers with 8 monitors. He was very excited about it, and he asked me to come over and check it out. When I got to his office, it definitely looked very impressive.

I asked him: “How do you like your trading computer?”

He said: “Well, I like it, but there’s a small problem.” 

I asked: “And 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!

4. Service & 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. 

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.

You don’t want to “ship your computer to a support center” and then wait 2-3 weeks until they fix it.

When your trading 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 24-48 hours!

Now that you know the main criteria, let’s talk about…

What is the best computer for trading stocks?

In my opinion, there’s no need to pay thousands of dollars for a specific “trading computer.” 

If you need a computer, go to Best Buy and ask for a “gaming computer.” Trust me: These gaming computers have enough power to satisfy all your needs. Go for a mid-range gaming computer. It should cost you anywhere between $600 – $1,000. 

How much RAM do I need to trade?

A general rule of thumb: The more RAM, the faster your computer will be. RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB), and built-in RAM will generally start at 4GB, but most traders should get at least 8GB of RAM. If you can afford it, go for 16GB. 

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.

Are Macs good for trading?

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 defeats the purpose of a Mac. 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.

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, Chrome or Firefox. So you can use the software on a PC, on a Mac, or even on your phone!

What is the best trading Laptop?

The good news: YES, you can use a laptop for your trading. Here are the pros and cons:

  • PRO: 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.
  • CON: Only 2 Monitors
    When using a laptop, you can only have 2 monitors: Your laptop monitor and one external monitor. But as I explained earlier: two monitors are perfect for 95% of traders, so you’re good. 
ASUS MB169+ Travel Monitor

And if you are looking for a great travel monitor, check out the ASUS MB169B+. It’s a 15.6” monitor that weighs less than 2 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 – $180, based on whether they have a special or not. I HIGHLY recommend this monitor if you plan to have a trading laptop.

In terms of technical specifications, look for the same as in a trading desktop:

  • At least 8GB of RAM – more is better.
  • Get a “Solid State Drive” (SSD), which helps to avoid overheating.
  • The laptop should be at least 15.6” so that you can actually see the charts!
  • Read the reviews and make sure that users don’t complain about overheating!

There you go! Now you know everything you need to know to find the best trading computer for you!

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

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