What is the Best Laptop for Stock Trading?
In trading the financial markets, the three most important laptop qualities that are vital for a trader are reliability, display screen size and performance. Laptops have become ubiquitious among traders of the stock markets worldwide and the obvious trend is that many financial traders are switching from using conventional desktop computers to laptops and mobile workstations. In actual fact, most of the stock trading software currently available, do not require the fastest CPU nor do they need the most powerful graphics GPU designed specially for FPS gaming. The article How to choose a laptop for stock trading will give you a better idea on what laptop specifications are required for trading. The following laptops have been chosen primarily based on their balance of performance, cost and reliability for a stock trader:
Laptops Costing Under $1000
Most laptops in this category will have 14 or 15 inch screens and are powered by the slightly older Core 2 Duos and Pentium Dual Cores (T4200). We are also starting to see the newer Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs in some of these laptops. Some manufacturers also provide less expensive options like machines equipped with the AMD Turion 64 CPUs. Performance wise, there is little difference but the Intel CPUs combined with Intel's chipset and mobile connectivity options offer more efficient power consumption and thus much superior battery life.
In terms of build quality and reliability, the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 clearly shines in this category, however, it only has a 14" screen. The other good choices in this category include the Toshiba Satellite M500 and the HP Business Notebook 6730b. The HP has a slightly bigger 15" screen as compared to the T400 series but other than that almost the same features. The Toshiba Satellite M500 can be customized with the newer Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs and comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM for smoother multitasking. In terms of value for money, these Toshiba laptops are hard to beat. Also check out Newegg for other quality machines from respectable laptop manufacturers at discounted prices.
Laptops Costing from $1001 - $2000
At the lower end of the price range is the Lenovo ThinkPad T500 series, which is basically a T400 but with a bigger 15" screen, better dual-monitor capabilies with external monitors and now equipped with the newer Intel Core i5 CPU. Another great contender with the Core i5 chip is the Toshiba Tecra A11, which also boasts a crisp 15.6" display and a Shock Absorbing Design to safeguard the machine against falls. At the pricier end of this category are the Dell Mobile Precision M6400 and the HP EliteBook 8530w. The Precision M6400 and EliteBook 8530w are classified as higher performance mobile workstations, capable of RAID 0 or 1 solutions with the addition of an optional second hard drive. RAID 0 will give a trader greater speed and performance while operating with RAID 1 will ensure greater redundancy and real-time data backup. The M6400 comes with a 17" display and is correspondingly on the higher end of the price range while the T500 and 8530w sport 15" displays. All these models are equipped with either Displayport or HDMI ports for connecting external monitors, TVs or projectors at greater resolutions with better clarity than a normal VGA out or DVI. The graphics options on the HP EliteBook are better as you have a choice to go with either a discrete NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M or ATI Mobitilty FireGL V5700. The Dell only has the Nvidia Quadro option while the T500 has the less powerful Intel GMA 4500MHD or ATI Mobility Radeon 3470 option. The Tecra A11 can be equipped with either the integrated Intel GMA HD or the Nvidia NVS 2100M.
Laptops Costing Greater than $2000
The laptops in this category have reliability and performance that put many desktop computers to shame. The specifications and features may be overkill for normal trading applications but if you are a trader pulling in $1K to 2K per day, these are the machines for you. The HP EliteBook 8730w and Lenovo ThinkPad W700 have outstanding performance and reliability and they have been made without compromising quality. Both these machines are 17" models with the HP having a HDMI port out while the ThinkPad W700 has the Displayport option. Both have the capability to add a second hard drive for redundancy and recovering fast from unexpected hard drive failures.
An online stock trader needs tools like trading software and computer hardware to help him make money. This is the cost of doing business and eventually the success of the business will depend on how well these tools serve the master. A laptop is an indispensable tool for the modern day trader and quality should not be compromised in selecting the best laptop for your trading business.