Computer set-up

Hey guys. I was wondering what kind of setups everyone has? Epic dual/triple display panic rooms, or simple laptop trading?

I’m looking to buy a new system to jump into things with a bigger degree of seriousness, but I’m stumped as to what angle to go for.

I don’t think I would need as big a rocket for forex trading as I would if I were just trading stocks, but I don’t want to be under powered either. Currently, I’m using a FXCM platform. I’m doing fine with one screen on an incredibly old laptop so frankly, anything will be better than what I’m using right now, but I wouldn’t mind some insight.

My budget isn’t very high (maybe a grand or so CAD). I can build my own desktop, or get a decent one through a vendor for that much, but to get a laptop with decent performance for that price is a bit more difficult.

Also, is dual display (or more) THAT essential if you’re day trading? I never hold a position for more than an hour, (rarely more than 20 minutes) so I mostly stare at graphs and numbers until I see the patterns I like.

Thanks alot for your input. :slight_smile:


Hey, GM

A couple of thoughts.

Taking your forex trading to the next level doesn’t happen when you upgrade your computer system. It happens when you make a quantum leap in your understanding of this market and your understanding of yourself. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about computers.

You’ve already let the cat out of the bag. You’re doing fine with a primitive computer system. You are proof that trading forex doesn’t require a gaming computer, or a room full of wide-screen monitors. But, those things can feed your ego, and impart bragging rights, when your friends drop by.

If you know how to trade this market, you can make a ton of money with a single-core processor, 1GB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and one 17" monitor. Or, in your case, a primitive laptop.

If you [B]don’t[/B] know how to trade this market, equipment upgrades won’t teach you to trade.

I would love to have dual quad-core processors, 6GB of memory, a 300GB 10,000rpm hard drive, XP64 OS, and three 24" LCD monitors. Boy, would my friends be impressed! But, since I’m not a gamer, movies in HD is about all that system would really be good for. It wouldn’t do a thing for my trading — in fact, the bells and whistles would probably be a distraction, and actually hurt my trading.

All that being said, [B]upgrading from one monitor to two monitors[/B] (even if they are relatively primitive monitors) will give you a lot of flexibility, and probably WILL improve your trading. Whatever system upgrades you have to make, in order to support two monitors, will have to be factored into your decision, and your choices.

It’s easy — and fun — to go overboard, when you’re shopping for computer stuff. Just be honest with yourself: the bells and whistles are necessary for your ego, not for your forex trading.


p.s. - If you don’t have to be mobile, a desk-top computer offers you more system for the dollar than a laptop. And if you want a big honkin’ array of monitors, you obviously will be desk-bound.

p.p.s. - If you like to drool over whiz-bang systems, here’s a fun site:

Trading Computers - Technology for High Performance People

Clint is right,
It’s the “ego” computer.:slight_smile:

I use a Vista laptop and have the Keyboard, Mouse and a 26" LCD TV connected to it.
why laptop? because I can take it with me, small footprint, almost noiseless and since it is one year newer then the desktop, it is even faster since it is newer. Tested with a movie clip, 5 minutes clip, from mpg to avi. Laptops are just as fast as desktops today.
Why LCD TV? I can have Picture in picture and watch the news at the same time right now while typing this. :smiley:
My only beef with laptop is the screen-size but hooked up to this one, it is great.
It is also on 24/7 without any problems.
For trading you don’t need anything fancy, except a good, reliable Internet connection.
Any ~$400 Laptop will do. Spend your money on DSL. :smiley:

I agree with this.

Getting the fastest broadband connection is the great single advance you can do in forex trading. :slight_smile: :wink:

Good posts, thanks everyone.

My internet connection is faster than Bruce Lee so I’m good in that department. When I say I’m using an old laptop, seriously, it’s ancient. I refuse to use a larger account balance with it bcause sometimes I hit snags when I open a position and miss out on pip movement quite frequently.

I’ll likely go with a desktop system, but a cheap one that still supports dual display. Frankly, I don’t need a Porche of a system, but dual displays I can see would yield a huge advantage.

Any laptop with a VGA out, and I think they all are today, is dual setup for screen.
Oh, with 26" no need for additional screen :smiley:

A few months ago, I posted a thing on another forum, comparing one of the Falcon desktop machines to a quad-core Dell. The bottom line was that the Dell essentially matched the Falcon in performance, and beat the crap out of it on price.

That comparison was based on a great limited-time sale price from Dell — I don’t know what they’re offering right now.

Just looked through a big stack of stuff and found the old Dell sale-flier:

Dell Inspiron 518
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 with 2.4GHz clock speed, 8MB L2 cache, and 1,066 MHz FSB
Vista Home Premium 64-bit, SP1
20" Widescreen, flat-panel monitor with webcam and microphone (SP2009W)
6GB memory
640GB hard-drive (7,200 rpm)
CD/DVD burner
Media card reader
$699. This sale was the middle of last December
(I don’t think keyboard, mouse or speakers were part of that deal. A second monitor was also not part of the deal, but for some reason I seem to recall that the video-card in this machine supports a second monitor, without requiring an upgrade.)

And, before anyone asks: No, I don’t work for Dell.

Have fun computer-shopping.


yeah, I took a look on just now and the mid level inspirons ($800ish) aren’t bad to upgrade. $80 gets you a videocard that supports dual display (a crappy videocard, but hey, good enough) and another $50 upgrades the monitor to a high-rez 21.5" monitor of better quality.

I seen a guy the other day closing a position on his blackberry. Anybody ever dabble with mobile forex applications at all?

Shure thing Clint, “you don’t work for Dell” hmm hmm :wink: :smiley:

Really good advice here.

If you’re intent on buying, then having dual monitors makes trading so convenient. Broadband internet is a must and connect by hardwire and not wireless.

All of these are great ideas. However this one consideration may save you some money and the headache down the road.

When you consider purchasing your computer you may want to think about
disaster recovery. There are multiple ways of performing this task.

One of the simplest ways that i know of to perform this task is to “ghost” image
your current hard drive just after you have completed your setup with all of the
patches installed and any software.

With this system you can either ghost your hard drive to DVD’s or to another hard drive. Using a duplicate Hard Drive will save time however there is the added cost of the drive. However with a second HDD installed you can simply unplug the second hard drive and if the original hard drive goes bad you then can reformat the primary hard drive and then re-ghost the original back to its beginning state. Most of my experience has been that the operating system gets corrupted and not the hard drive. Also using either an external USB or Firewire drive is supported and may suit your needs. In which case you can store this HDD off site.

You can also check to see the manufacturers spec to verify that this system supports “Raid” in which case you could initially install the second drive as a mirrored drive. There are quite a few Raid configurations.

Also when you get that new computer they usually don’t provide the recovery disks, however you can create them from within the operating system or purchase a set from the manufacturer. A purchased copy will cost from about $10-20 but will last.

There are quite a few disaster recovery techniques available, and it would be adviseable to look into the matter.

Also another idea would be to keep that old laptop around for the "Just in Case"
situation if needed. Wouldn’t want to have a computer down and be trying to scalp some pips at the same time.

One of the most frustrating things for me is to reinstall an operating system and all of the software back to the way that i like it, and that takes quite abit of time.

And make sure to use “Internet Security”!

Also on that new computer you will probably receive a trial of an “Internet Security” program. If you will look on the Internet you will find places that sell this type of software about 1/3 the cost. I have used one in particular several times and have saved almost $200 in the process. Also if you are a student you are also eligible to buy software at deeply discounted rates, however the caveat to this software is that you usually are not qualified for the upgrade price. That does not matter because you can repurchase the latest greatest for that same deeply discounted rate!:D:D:D

That is a great idea. I’ve spoken with a couple of traders myself that have had their house burn down (or a house fire) and lost some important trading information. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Oh yeah, you bet your booty i’ll be ghosting my entire HD image. I’m a big BIG fan of Norton Ghost. It’s the greatest invention since Hoegaarden.

I’m very familiar with maintaining a healthy computer environment, but I do thank everyone for the concerns. It’s all good stuff.

Does anyone have good monitor suggestions?

Also, to reprise a question I had earlier: Has anyone dabbled with mobile platforms for forex trading? iphone, blackberry etc.

Get a CPU which has dual or 3 monitors - if you are trading multiple systems.

Watching the price screen might be boring, and you might want to surf babypips while price has not reach your target, so getting more than one monitor solves the boredom.~

I know of something better, use vmware. Computer within computer.

I could be wrong, but I think all you need is a video card that has 2 monitor outlets. Get this for your desktop and I think you’ll be set (assumming you have 2 monitors).


Thanks for your sharing


also when you do have your fast internet connection keep it dedicated to forex no skype,or other trading platforms ect ect.

Thanks for the suggestion, I wish it had worked.

credit auto

I think you should go for a very best quality monitor, even if it is a bit smaller.

For example, 3000 DPI.

This beats the pants off a lower quality version and you will reap the rewards always as you watch a high quality image.

Better resolution, bettter everything.
Don’t buy rubbish.