Forex and the Importance of the Tradestation - Recommended Hardware for Trading
Forex Hardware is as Important as Forex Software
In forex trading, the majority of emphasis is placed on learning different forms of analysis, keeping up with forex related reports, fundamentals, and the learning associated with currency markets. But not often is the hardware associated with currency trading placed under the lens. Forex trading computers, multiple monitors, trader workstations, aren't as prominent in the websites claiming they can teach you all you need to know.
Back in the olden days, traders used tickers to convey real time market data to the market floor. How's that for the pioneer of rss feeds? Pretty nifty eh?
Well thankfully, technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since these times. Modern PC's are incredibly powerful where up to date , down to the millisecond , realtime information is concerned.
Because technology moves so fast, your trade station could potentially be upgraded every few years. If you're trying to run 30 ea's and 3 monitors at once and your trading PC is starting to choke, it could be time for an upgrade.
Things To Consider for a Tradestation Upgrade
- It is recommended that your trading computer be just that. A trading computer, and only a trading computer.
Good reason for that. Software takes up hard drive space, and uses RAM, which affects your trade computers performance. When you're trading forex, you want all that performance for your currency trading and assorted antivirus software. What you don't want, is potential order execution speed being juiced by music playback software.
- Your trading PC should have the largest amount of RAM you can afford.
RAM controls how much can be done at once by your trade station. Lots of RAM enables more data to be loaded and utilized at the same time because it doesn't have to rummage through the CPU for info, as it is being stored in the Random Access Memory. Meaning it will run open forex software faster, this means more charts, more news, more everything, all at once. Even better is DDR-SDRAM. This is Double Data Rate RAM. It is the queen of multi tasking.
- Simply put, Processor = Speed.
Again, same deal. Fastest you can manage. The pentium 4 thingamajig in your computer is the Central Processing Unit and is responsible for running your hardware. If RAM is queen, then the processor is king. The processor speed is measured in Gigahertz, or GHz's for short. The more GHZ's, the faster the clockspeed, and the faster the clockspeed, the faster instructions get sent to RAM.
- As much as you think you need, and then some.
No point having a 20gig hard drive if you have 50 gig of software to run. That's a bit outlandish, but with more and more supporting software for forex trading being developed every day, there is potentially no limit to the amount you could amass on your drive from when you buy it. Computer performance becomes affected at about 60% capacity and can slow things down a little, so have in mind how much you will need.
- Resolution. The keyword is Resolution.
Resolution defines how many charts you can fit on your screen at once. Also, anything smaller than 17" will strain your eyes a little. With all the information associated with currency trading, 1 monitor to display everything seems a little counter productive. If you're thinking of trading multiple monitors, then a powerful graphics card is a must. The ATI HD 5890 can support up to 8 monitors at once! How's that for pure awesomeness! You could have your own bat cave hideout, surrounded by your tradestation multiple monitors, and possibly...bats. If your motherboard supports it, you can always install more than one graphics card, some of the more powerful video cards can be extremely pricey.
So What is the Best Computer?
Well that depends on the trader. If you're just dabbling in trading, any PC less than 2 years old probably has all you need already. Alienware is highly recommended because of it's flexibility with components, or buildability if you like. Upgrade is just a matter of switching out old component for new. There are companies that specialize in professional tradestation setups, such as elitetradingcomputers.com, but they are rather expensive for a home trader. Powernotebooks.com specialize in high power, top performance laptops and notebooks.
At the end of it all, you want a fast processor, a lot of RAM, and a big hard drive, with the capability to power multiple monitors, if needs be.
- 4 Gig RAM minimum
- 2.5 GHz or better
- As much hard drive as you need, and then some
- Graphics card 512mb minimum
These recommendations are overkill, but victory loves preparation. Having more than you need to start with, means the next upgrade might not have to be so soon.
PC trading is all done on your PC. That being said, it is definitely not a good idea to cut corners with your forex trading hardware. Tradestation capabilities should be part of your trading plan. They should be above your personal minimum requirements just in case. Your choice of hardware can streamline your trading system making it more productive. Multimonitor traders rarely go back to trading the 1 monitor. Just try to retain from building your own superhero hide out.
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