Computer Hardware Guide for Trading Stocks, Futures, Forex and Options
This article aims to consolidate and organize all the various discussions available on this site which aim to help a trader set up a reliable computer system for trading the global financial markets. If you are new to the markets, read the Online Stock Trading Guide, which gives a good overview on how to trade stocks and shares. This will aid you in making an informed decision on what kind of trading you want to pursue, be it fast paced daytrading or longer time frame swing trading. Also make sure you are familiar with some of the best stock trading software which will allow you to perform real-time technical analysis or even identify patterns, using neural networks and artificial intelligence, within any financial trading instrument like stocks, futures, forex etc. These background reads should equip you with sufficient knowledge to help you in your search to identify a cost effective, reliable and stable computer system.
How to Choose Computer Hardware To Suit your Trading Requirements
Nowadays, you have a choice whether to trade with a conventional desktop computer or go for the mobile option using laptops and mobile workstaions. As laptops become more powerful and reliable, more and more traders find that the mobile workstation approach works well for them, without compromising on functionality and reliability.
Desktop Computers / Workstations
The article How to Choose a Stock Trading Computer discusses the most important specifications and features which are critical for a reliable trading computer system. This is followed by a focused review of one of the Best Computers for Stock Trading, which is a very popular choice among stock traders and finance professionals. These articles will also help you understand the pros and cons of buying off-the-shelf systems from reputable manufacturers versus building your own custom desktop system, as this may directly affect the smooth and uninterrupted functioning of your trading business.
Laptops / Notebooks and Mobile Workstations
Laptops sales are projected to overtake desktops by 2011 (click to read BBC article) and this comes as no surprise as laptops, notebooks and mobile workstations become more powerful, reliable and cheaper. Go to How to Choose a Stock Trading Laptop to learn the critical specifications that a trader should consider in a mobile trading device. A list of Best Stock Trading Laptops categorized within the various price ranges will give you an idea of what systems are available from reputable manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Lenovo. Next, find out if the latest generation of Intel Atom based ultra mobile devices called Netbooks or UMPCs, are suitable to be used for trading in the article Netbooks for Trading.
LCD Monitors and Multi-Monitor Setups
A committed stock trader spends long hours in front of the screen analyzing technical analysis charts, trying to spot trends and money making opportunities. The LCD monitor is therefore one of the most important components to ensure the success of the trader's business. This is where the rubber meets the road. Read How to Choose an LCD Monitor for a detailed look at the important features and specifications, which will allow you to make a more informed choice when buying a new LCD monitor. Traders normally run two or more monitors on their trading PCs so Multi-Monitors for Desktops and Multi-Monitors for Laptops will show you what is available and how you can implement a multi-monitor solution in your current or new PC.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
One of the most effective ways to quickly give your old PC a new lease of life and jumpstart it's performance is by adding more RAM. Find out what type of RAM and how much do you require in the Choosing RAM article. Many trading applications, especially those designed for analytical and algorhythmic trading, consume loads of RAM through the course of the trading day, so it is always a good idea to install as much RAM as possible as your budget, computer motherboard and operating system allow.
Operating Systems (OS)
Microsoft Windows remains as the OS of choice for the majority of traders. Although Vista severely dented Microsoft's reputation to the extent that many traders insisted on downgrades to Windows XP on their new machines, the problem seems to be resolved with the release of Vista SP2 and Windows 7. Find out if you should Upgrade to Windows 7 for Stock Trading? Although the latest versions of Linux are very user friendly and maintain their legendary robustness, security and stability, learn Why Traders don't use Linux for Trading. For those who insist on using Linux, also find out how you can achieve this by using virtualization technology on the latest generation of powerful Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Extreme PCs.
Securing your Computer System
Finally, anything of value has to be protected as hackers and phishers with malicious intent try to gain access to your system to get their hands on your sensitive data. Securing your Stock Trading PC will show you what actions you need to take immediately to protect yourself from becoming a victim on the internet. Both hardware and software solutions to the internet security problem are discussed.
Have a profitable trading career!