Advice please - computer set-up

esegal

Newbie
6 0
I am unashamedly new. I've spent the past 1-2 years learning and watching the market, full time, placing only paper trades on a new high spec Mac Book Pro with an Interactive Brokers account. As I develop, this set-up is leaving me feeling increasingly claustrophobic. I feel a growing requirement for more screen space and not surprisingly, the computer is not coping with all the demands I am placing on it (IB TWS, lots of browsers, mail, etc., not to mention all other personal activities). I am developing a preference for trend and swing trading, I can't see myself as an intensive day trader, certainly not a scalper or anything in that area, I am a much slower, analytical and methodical thinker, so I don't see myself entering and exiting trades with such high frequency. However, I do watch the markets quite intensively, day and night (especially as a newbie) and am therefore pulling a lot of real time data and news onto the screen. I am also enjoying the free trial of e-signal right now as I just can't seem to get comfortable with IB's charts and have found e-signal to work for me far better than all the others I've tried. Of course I am running that via Parallels, which along with everything else running on the computer, is too much.

So I think I am ready to invest in a machine roughly dedicated to IB TWS and eSignal and then use the Macbook for most everything else. Budget is less important. Getting the right computer specification is - which means I am interested in getting a computer that will meet all my growing needs, but also one that doesn't include any specifications that I'll never need. I am really struggling to understand what that might look like.

I've attempted to research this on the Internet with very little success. I can't go to a any computer stores because they don't understand the needs of traders. I can't go to the specialists because they are biased and will try and persuade me that a specialist set-up is required (which I've read many aggressively mixed opinions about). I've asked some friends in big firms in the city, but they are generally not very knowledgable and/or don't take much interest in the technology (they generally take what they are offered by their technology people). I do have a personal preference for and am more comfortable with Apple (and perhaps the more powerful Mac Pro line might be suitable), but not if it will fail to serve it's purpose. Most importantly, I really want to avoid making an expensive and time consuming mistake, which is why I was hoping you might be willing to share some wisdom.
 

nunrgguy

Established member
656 118
There aren't really any specific, super duper, IT requirements for trading TBH.

What's imperative is a fast and reliable internet connection and some back-up if it goes down - i.e. another connection, whether that be another BB connection or mobile broadband on your Macbook, or data on your phone so you can in an emergency situation get into your account and move stops or close your positions.

W.r.t. the computer. If it's Mac, can't really advise you but I'd go for the most bang for the buck:

There's no sense in buying boxes for £350, running them for a year or two and then binning them (with PCs anyway), as an example I set up a box with a Q6600 when they first came out and am still running it now. Same with laptops get the most expensive one you can afford - I still use an 8 year old laptop for day to day computing and it's OK for trading too, Athlon 64 3200, which was around £1500 (£1500 quid!! for a laptop) at the time but on an aggregate basis worked out a far better value than what most people do which is buy the cheapest thing going and chuck it in the bin every other year.

PC - if it's purely a trading PC you aren't going to need terrabytes of storage or whizzbang 3D graphics processing capability so no need to fork out on a gaming card.

Your main things to look at would be motherboard that suits the processor you choose - get a good one, there's plenty of info on the web. A decent processor - i7. Plenty of RAM (if you're buying a pre-built box buy the one with less RAM in it then install your own as they charge through the nose for it).

Then you've got choice of OS - I'd go with a 64 bit OS as it allows more RAM usage. Then you've got Windows or Linux (or if you're geeking make a compatible box and make a Hackintosh).

Personally I use Linux on all my trading boxes, use MT4 for charting via Wine (used to do it through Virtual box running Tiny XP but that slows things up) and use brokers that have a web interface for order placement.

That way I'm far more secure, have more stability than Windows and don't have to mess around with AV etc. TBH I only use Windows on one PC and that's because for its purpose I have to...having said that Windows 7 is pretty good, not had any problems with it but you MUST run all the extra security stuff you're going to need. For God's sake don't run Norton system f&cker or any other cr@p you can get down PC W0rld. Avast or Eset I would recommend for AV.

If you're familiar with Mac, Linux isn't much different these days, MacOs being a BSD variant. It's now very easy to install and setup. Main thing to look out for with it is Wifi card compatability but there again you aren't going to be trading over a 54G Wifi connection are you?? Or if you are I'd really recommend going Wireless N or Homeplug...so upgrade your router to Wireless N if you're going Wifi.

Here there's a network that's essentially 3 rings, central router going via home plug to the upstairs and office area where there's a gig network switch feeding 3 PCs, a media data server and a Wireless N repeater to get the network to an area of the house where HP won't reach due to another breaker. Then downstairs there's another area with a Wireless N repeater which gives network access thoughout the grounds and allows me to trade from the summer-house when the fancy takes me - been there all summer this year and bliss it has been too:)

But I digress as I run a crazy amount of computers (err....about 8 I reckon), you don't need all of that for your needs with the one PC, but something to consider for the future.
 

x4x

Well-known member
465 61
I am unashamedly new. I've spent the past 1-2 years learning and watching the market, full time, placing only paper trades on a new high spec Mac Book Pro with an Interactive Brokers account. As I develop, this set-up is leaving me feeling increasingly claustrophobic. I feel a growing requirement for more screen space and not surprisingly, the computer is not coping with all the demands I am placing on it
I bought an F22 from these guys - Multiple Monitor Computers
and I'm very pleased with it. It was the top model and twice the price at the time - about 2 or 3 years ago. I bought 6 cheap 22" AOC monitors locally which have been fine.

Just remember to factor in the additional VAT you will have to pay upon delivery.
 

esegal

Newbie
6 0
Thank you both, that's really useful. However, if I could slightly rephrase the question to be more specific - setting Internet connection to the side (as I've got the fastest line available in my street and back-up) and just focusing on the hardware, if one is seeking the maximum specification, are you aware of where the ceiling is in terms of performance for traders? In other words, with regards to the main or important customised components of a computer that I think I understand matter for traders (to varying degrees depending on trading style) and have a very large impact on price, processor and memory, are the maximum specifications of any use for trading (i.e. the fastest and latest Xeon chips with 32GB or RAM)? Or is there a ceiling at which point the extra money spent is just wasted (and if so, what is that ceiling)?
 
L

Liquid validity

0 0
This is one of my PC's:
The 1000U

Looks cheap and cheerful right?
In truth its surprisingly well built,
Supports 2 monitors as standard (1xVGA and 1xDVI connections)
and its so quiet its hard to tell sometimes if its even switched on...

I only bought it to test whether or not a domestic server would be a better bet
than a remote dedicated server for automated trading (run PC, screens and network on a UPS).
Its currently as we speak running Ninja trader recording trade data
alongside trade management - CPU overhead is consistently less than 5%.

So far its exceeded my expectations given the very low price.
Downside is zero expansion potential for more screens etc.

For the cost of one bum trade I'm happy with it, does everything I need it to do :)
 
L

Liquid validity

0 0
Thank you both, that's really useful. However, if I could slightly rephrase the question to be more specific - setting Internet connection to the side (as I've got the fastest line available in my street and back-up) and just focusing on the hardware, if one is seeking the maximum specification, are you aware of where the ceiling is in terms of performance for traders? In other words, with regards to the main or important customised components of a computer that I think I understand matter for traders (to varying degrees depending on trading style) and have a very large impact on price, processor and memory, are the maximum specifications of any use for trading (i.e. the fastest and latest Xeon chips with 32GB or RAM)? Or is there a ceiling at which point the extra money spent is just wasted (and if so, what is that ceiling)?
Yeah there is a ceiling, its pretty low, see my other post, a cheap and nasty (or so I thought) experiment that has gone surprisingly well.

Unless you have loads of feeds, screens and / or need backtesting grunt coupled with loads of quant algos, the latest and greatest is just overkill.
 

nunrgguy

Established member
656 118
Thank you both, that's really useful. However, if I could slightly rephrase the question to be more specific - setting Internet connection to the side (as I've got the fastest line available in my street and back-up) and just focusing on the hardware, if one is seeking the maximum specification, are you aware of where the ceiling is in terms of performance for traders? In other words, with regards to the main or important customised components of a computer that I think I understand matter for traders (to varying degrees depending on trading style) and have a very large impact on price, processor and memory, are the maximum specifications of any use for trading (i.e. the fastest and latest Xeon chips with 32GB or RAM)? Or is there a ceiling at which point the extra money spent is just wasted (and if so, what is that ceiling)?

As I say, raw processing power for trading isn't really an issue. An old Athlon 64 is perfectly adequate on a properly set up system. Where your processing power will come in is in longevity of the system. Again with RAM, you aren't really doing anything THAT memory intensive are you? You're not rendering video, you not bouncing audio etc. 4GB is perfectly adequate. Where the ceiling is...I don't think anyone will be able to answer that question for you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: x4x

DonCardEst

Junior member
20 0
I think, besides desktop PC you need buy a VPS (VDS) - just in case - it will be some kind of safety equipment for force majeure - you should install there your trading platform (as standby system) and you can connect it from anywhere you are with your MacBook - it will cost you about $15-$30 per month (i cant you give a link - just use google for "cheap VPS")
 

esegal

Newbie
6 0
I think, besides desktop PC you need buy a VPS (VDS) - just in case - it will be some kind of safety equipment for force majeure - you should install there your trading platform (as standby system) and you can connect it from anywhere you are with your MacBook - it will cost you about $15-$30 per month (i cant you give a link - just use google for "cheap VPS")
Thanks everyone, very useful.

Not sure I understand the purpose of the VPS? If I understand, it's emergency back-up? If the connection goes down, I have IB installed on a 3G smartphone. My Internet provider also has hotspots all over the area if the connection loss is local and there is a local Internet cafe (and can use IB's webtrader). If the computer goes, I've got the wife's computer as back-up and soon I'll have a second computer. Un-related to trading (but perhaps related to the VPS?), I've also got cloud back-up service that is creating a mirror of the hard drive in real time. I feel fairly covered for the every day problems that can occur, especially as my trading will be less time sensitive than your intra-day trader. Am I missing something?
 

DonCardEst

Junior member
20 0
Thanks everyone, very useful.

Not sure I understand the purpose of the VPS? If I understand, it's emergency back-up? If the connection goes down, I have IB installed on a 3G smartphone. My Internet provider also has hotspots all over the area if the connection loss is local and there is a local Internet cafe (and can use IB's webtrader). If the computer goes, I've got the wife's computer as back-up and soon I'll have a second computer. Un-related to trading (but perhaps related to the VPS?), I've also got cloud back-up service that is creating a mirror of the hard drive in real time. I feel fairly covered for the every day problems that can occur, especially as my trading will be less time sensitive than your intra-day trader. Am I missing something?
well, in this case you don't need VPS. if you have such equipment - i think it will be enough for the beginning. I can add one only - if you use desktop PC with MT4 (for trailing stop for example) you should think about no-break power, as well as stable (and don't slow) internet connection.
 

esegal

Newbie
6 0
Having multiple monitors makes a huge difference
That is one of the key reasons for the upgrade. Are there any particular monitors that are better for trading or are the cheapest sufficient given that it is all 2D data?
 

paulbe

Newbie
6 0
id take a look at the bloomberg terminal as an idea of screens, if the pro traders can use dual screens, then it must be ok for the rest of us...they look like dual 19" monitors
 

Thrall

Junior member
22 1
I was using asus22" and now using acer24". For trading purpose, you don't need high quality monitors. Anything is ok as long as they support 1920*1080 resolution.
 

DonCardEst

Junior member
20 0
i use several notebooks + 2 monitors (23" and 15") - thats enough for me, besides there are 2 UPS (APC Smart) and two internet connections + 3G modem - i don't worry about smth unexpected with such equipment.
 

Similar threads


AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

But it's thanks to our sponsors that access to Trade2Win remains free for all. By viewing our ads you help us pay our bills, so please support the site and disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock