My Trading computer

I figured I might as well update an old blog post about my trading computer. Now, when it comes to trading, having a fast computer is a lot like having a big penis when it comes to sex: sure it is nice, but knowing how to use it matters much more, and the most important thing is just having a tool that is adequate.


First, the most visible part: I have 8 monitors, with the bottom center two monitors being the same ones from 7 years ago; the rest of the monitors are 22″ to 24″ monitors of various makes. Frankly, monitor quality doesn’t matter for trading so a cheap monitor of decent quality is fine. My monitor stands are a hodge-podge and if I did this over again I would make the monitors all the same and put more thought into proper monitor stands. I have Ergotron quad-monitor stands holding the four bottom monitors. Each of the upper-row monitors is held by its own Atdec monitor pole.

Besides the monitors, the most important part of my computer (not shown) is the APC Pro 1000 UPS — If I lose power I want to be able to have enough time to close out day-trade positions. I have only two monitors and the CPU on the UPS. I have a separate UPS for my internet router and wifi access point.

As to the guts of the computer, I just upgraded to something that is insanely overpowered. Keep in mind that I do some things that are very CPU-intensive that most other traders never do. Here are the specs:

ASRock X99 Extreme4 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (one of the cheaper LGA 2011-3 motherboards)
Intel Xeon E5-2680V4 Broadwell 2.4 GHz 14 x 256KB L2 Cache 35MB L3 Cache LGA 2011-3 120W BX80660E52680V4 Server Processor
64GB Kingston HyperX Fury (4 x 16G) DDR4 2133 Desktop Memory DIMM (288-Pin) RAM HX421C14FBK4/64
SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V5P512BW (I strongly recommend NVME M.2 solid state drives over other SSDs or hard drives — they are so much faster)
eVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 SC+ ACX 2.0+ (I have two of these; they are about one year old but I saw no need to upgrade)

The most expensive parts of the computer by far are the CPU which has 14 cores and cost $1700 and the two video cards (each with 4 monitor outputs) that cost $300 each. I could easily get similar performance by overclocking a high-end desktop processor but that generates extra heat (already a problem for me in my office in the summer) and risks making the computer less stable. While none of the programs I run require a super-fast processor, I run a lot of programs so having many cores is useful. However, almost any other trader would be fine with a quad-core Skylake processor and 95% of the time my prior six-core processor was fine for me in the past (but I will be requiring a lot more of my CPU presently).

Disclaimer. I have positions in some of the stocks that are shown on my screen and I may close or add to those positions at any time. I subscribe to all the chatrooms and news services shown on my monitor. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.







13 thoughts on “My Trading computer”

  1. Michael,

    I’m dmilmagic in and you referred me to this blog post via internal message this morning. I want to share with you what I bought for myself to trade from.

    I hope to have it in a week or so. It will support up to 8 monitors I beleive but I don’t see myself ever needing that many.

    I know it isnt necessary to have such a powerful machine but I wanted to maximize my speed and efficiency. If it can keep me from losing out on a trade or two due to not having the proper setup, then it will pay for itself pretty quickly. I am also using Samsung curved 37″ LED monitors (one to start with) and thanks to your blog, I am going to get an APC. I didnt even think about that until you suggested it.

    What trading platform do you recommend? I currently use e*Trade and I subscribed to Stocks to Trade but I’m not impressed with it to be honest with you. I just signed up with Interactive Brokers from Tim Sykes recomendation and waiting for the account to be funded so I can try it out. I came across a platform that looks really nice called TC2000. Are you familiar with this one?

    One last thing, I signed up to be one of Tim’s Millionare Challenge students. I read that you help him with this program. I hope I get to work with you at some point in the future.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Dave Miller

  2. I have heard of TC2000 and have run across some successful traders who use it. Other than that I can’t say much. Interactive Brokers’ trading platforms are great (with the exception of OTC stocks, for which they have bad quotes that cannot be relied upon). I do still give monthly webinars for the Challenge and answer questions via email.

  3. Do you find IB stock loan team is more reliable than others with regards buy-ins on borrow pulls?
    What brokers do you like for OTC?


  4. I use Dell workstation laptops (M6700 & M7710) with customized part to high end. Using them I could drop UPS. Graphic cards I selected can support up to 4 monitors. I use Dell’s docking stations with all cables attached to it. So I can take laptop away just by pushing a button or putting it back in place with a just a single push and have all cables connected.

  5. Hey Michael, i am thinking of buying a desktop by Lenovo with following requirements. I am focussing more on the processor, RAM and the graphic card. I plan on having three screens to start.
    My current laptop is dying if i have STT, TS and Trade platform open.
    What do you think about these requirements?
    Up to 6th Gen Intel® Core i7 processor
    Windows 10 Home
    Up to 16 GB DDR4 memory
    Up to 2 TB HDD with 256 GB SSD storage
    802.11 AC (2×2) WiFi + Bluetooth® 4.0
    Up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 8 GB graphics
    Rear Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0, Giga LAN, HDMI / VGA /DVI, 6 audio jack with SPDIF (7.1 Surround Sound), PS/2 combo
    Front Ports: 7-in-1 card Reader (SD / SDHC / SDXC / MMC plus / MMC / MS / MS_Pro), 2 x USB2.0 x USB 3.0 (1st port support always on USB charging), 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 audio / microphone jack

    1. Make sure the CPU you get has 4 cores (at least). Definitely get 16gb memory. The graphics card will be more than enough although make sure there are enough video out ports (DVI / HDMI) for the monitors you want.

  6. Hey Michael, question regarding connecting four monitor to a desktop? The desktop i am considering to buy, has 1 HDMI / 1 VGA / 1 DVI. Does it mean that i can hook only 3 monitors to it? I really don’t care about the great resolution that you can get from HDMI. How many ports do you have in your PC that allows you to connect 8 screens? Are you using any splitter?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Ajmal — Really I would recommend using a VGA output — the quality is noticeably inferior. So in this case you would only be able to connect two monitors. I have two graphics cards in my computer, each with 4 monitor outputs (2 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 Displayport each).

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