PC Hardware Requirements for an End-of-Day Trading System
**Check out Best Computer for Stock Trading for an update to what is available.
The End-of-Day (EOD) option requires relatively little computer resources as stock, futures and other financial data is downloaded from the data vendor like Esignal or ProphetFinance, to your PC. The data is then viewed using a 3rd party frontend trading charting software like Metastock to carry out technical analysis. Any entry level laptop or PC with 512MB or more of computer memory (RAM) & 40Gb Hard drive will suffice. A low-end cable or DSL connection or even mobile internet like 3G and EDGE will be sufficient if you just need to download end-of-day financial data to your PC's hard drive.
The place where you should spend slightly more for better quality components are the LCD monitor and video graphic card. This is because you are going to spend a considerable time looking at stock and futures charts so the quality of the display and the VGA card pumping out the graphics should be your No. 1 priority.
LCD Display Monitors
You can either use Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) or Flat Panel Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), it does not matter but with prices of LCD monitors at such low levels, for the sake of your eyes, choose a LCD monitor (read LCDs vs CRTs for Trading Computer Systems for more information). Whichever type of monitor you eventually choose, the next important thing to note is that the screen size should be at least 17 inches or more to provide a decent usable viewing area for all your charts. Ideally, you should set your screen resolution to at least 1024x768 or higher. For LCDs, you have a choice of either digital or analog monitors and if budget is not a constraint, it is strongly recommended that you go with the digital or as they call it, DVI. The other important thing to note about LCDs is that each model has its own native resolution and if an LCD is run at other resolutions, the display will not be as crisp and appear blurry. Another factor to consider is the refresh rate of the monitor. This primarily applies to CRTs because in order to greatly reduce eyestrain when constantly looking at charts for long periods, you should ensure that the monitor you choose can support refresh rates of at least 70Hz at the screen resolution you will be using.
Video Graphic Adapters
Most modern systems have PCIe graphic slots so you should ideally get an PCIe graphics adapter with at least 64MB or more onboard RAM. Unless you also play the latest 3D games on your PC, go with graphics adapters that are traditionally designed for business use and have excellent 2D graphics. Matrox makes excellent 2D cards optimized for business use, like the Matrox Parhelia series. The older generation video cards based on the AGP and PCI bus can also be considered like the Matrox G400 and G550 series VGA cards, which come in dual-head and even quad-head versions. You can also get multi-head cards from most other graphics card manufacturers like nVidia and ATI which will enable you to connect multiple monitors to your PC. If you already have a single head card, don't despair as you can add an older technology PCI based graphics card to achieve the same effect without greatly compromising on system performance.