How to choose a day trading laptop

Spark Global Limited reports:

When you’re looking for a new day trading laptop, it’s important to be realistic about your budget and needs. If money is no object and you’re just looking for the best laptop, we have some tips for you.

Obviously, most of you are looking for a balance between cost and performance/functionality. With a limited budget, you have to narrow down the most important components you need and work your way back from there.

Laptops have different uses; Gaming laptops don’t take traders into account, just as chromebooks for students don’t take gamers into account.

Identify the component requirements for your trading laptop
A computer is a collection of different parts, each with a specific function.

Building a powerful computer means getting a powerful set of components, but when you have the budget, it makes sense to focus on the most important components for everyday needs before optimizing anything else.

The basic building blocks of a computer are:


CPU: central processing unit. This is the brain of your computer. It processes all the instructions you give it and produces an output. When you tell your computer to do something like “open Google Chrome,” the CPU performs the task.
GPU: graphics processing unit. Gpus are like cpus that perform graphics tasks, such as drawing 3D animations or rendering video games.
Hard drive: A hard drive is like a filing cabinet. It has a lot of information, but it’s slow to sort and find what you need.
RAM: Random access memory. RAM temporarily stores memory that a computer needs to access quickly. RAM is like taking information you often need to access from a hard drive and putting it on a desk where it can be accessed quickly. There is less space on the table, but the items on it can be found quickly. RAM is critical for running multiple processes at the same time, essentially giving your computer short-term memory.

Most trading software uses a lot of CPU and/or RAM, making expensive Gpus less important.

To determine whether your trading computer should be centered on CPU or RAM, simply open up all the trading software you use and start interacting with it. Also, use Windows Task Manager (or system monitor on a Linux computer) to see which resources are most stressed.

With some exceptions, most standard charting platforms are RAM intensive, which means you should focus on maximizing your laptop’s RAM rather than other components.

With a few exceptions, you can skip an aftermarket GPU for your trading laptop. And since laptops come preloaded by the manufacturer, it’s hard to replace the motherboard.

So, in essence, your search boils down to finding a laptop with enough CPU, enough RAM, and enough hard disk storage.

On most laptops, replacing a hard drive is easy and cheap, so this is one thing you can compromise and replace at a later date. However, don’t expect to replace the CPU. There are some technical details here, but assume that you are tied to the CPU that comes with your laptop.

RAM is also easy to replace, but your laptop needs to have slots to expand it, because RAM is like a stick that you can put in a computer slot, and a laptop motherboard usually has a limited RAM slot.