Ed’s Trading Station
I have been asked a few questions about how I have my station set up because it is a little different than most traders. Everything is powered by laptops. I think I did a post several months back on my set up at the time but I have substantially upgraded. I started with 2 laptops, then 1 laptop and 3 small monitors, then to 1 laptop and 2 larger monitors, then 2 laptops and 2 large monitors, then to what I have now; 1 laptop powering 4 large monitors for charting and platform and 1 laptop and 2 monitors for chat and social media. I found it easier to be able to watch all of the tickers on my watch list on individual monitors versus continuously switching screens back in forth to monitor them. As you have read, I have tried different configurations to try and find my comfort zone. I am happy with what I have finally come up with.
So to answer the main question I get; why a laptop? Simply, I want portability. I like to change scenery. Sometimes I like looking out of the front window, sometimes out the back, and sometimes I like sitting on my front porch. I even like to roll my desk out on the patio on a pretty day. I wanted to be able to trade anywhere. So I started out finding a desk that was light, sturdy, and had wheels.
A lot of people have said that I shouldn’t use a laptop for a trading station and that I need more power. Now I’m not a computer wizard or a professional anything with computers, but I’m an engineer and I believe that I can understand information and data and make a well educated decision on just about anything technical. I also like to simply everything and look at it as if I were a child so that’s is what I did in this case. The reality I came to is this, the trading platforms and charting software don’t need anywhere near the power that these PC gaming systems need, but a lot of people seem to connect the two and say you need these high power gaming computers to be successful. In a way I set out to prove them wrong, but in the end I just wanted something that I liked and felt comfortable using.
The first thing I ran in to was that a laptop video card is limited, so hooking more than 1 or 2 monitors to the laptop video card can overwork/overheat it which will eventually lead to premature failure. However, most laptops today have at least one USB 3.0 port, which can transfer up to 4800 Mbps or 4.8 Gbps. Contrary to popular belief, they work great for extra monitors. All you will need is a USB 3.0 to VGA or HDMI adapter. These work as “mini” graphics cards. The VGA works pretty good but if you have HD monitors the HDMI adapter allows you to take advantage of the HD capabilities. It is recommended that you hook only 2 monitors up per USB port, but I found that if you get a self powered USB 3.0 hub you can hook up to 4 monitors up to a single 3.0 port on your laptop without losing any data transfer speed to the monitors.
I experienced no lag or video issues with any of the trading platforms I use. My laptop does not get hot and it runs all day. I would’t recommend this setup if you are trying to set up a PC gaming system. I didn’t design it or research it for that.
Now lets look at my laptop specs. I have an ASUS – 17.3″ Laptop – 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6700HQ (2.60 GHz)- 16GB Memory – 1TB HDD. To make this work I figured I needed a fast processor and a large memory. But I have found it will work with 1/2 of this just as well. My second laptop that I use for chat and social media has an Intel Core i5 4200U (1.60GHz) with 4GB Memory 750GB HDD. Just to satisfy my curiosity I hooked it up to my trading station and I have run it for 2 weeks with no problems at all. No lag on the charts or platforms. No noticeable change in the speed that orders go through or anything. If I didn’t know any better I wouldn’t know the difference between the computers.
Like I said earlier, I needed at least a 5 port, 3.0 USB hub. It needed to be self powered because I didn’t want it to rob power from the computer. Then I needed 3.0 USB to VGA or HDMI monitors. I started using all VGA adapters because I started out with traditional flat VGA monitors. I did not have any problems when I used that setup but i figure if I have HD capability now why not use it. I use the j5 create brand but I believe this will be a personal preference. Because my charts works so well with these 2.0 VGA adapters initially that further proved to me that I didn’t need a $2500 trading or gaming computer to be successful at trading.
I have 3, ASUS VS247H-P Black 23.6″ 2ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitors that I use to chart the tickers I am watching, (6 max) and an ASUS VE278Q – 27″ Widescreen Flat-Panel LED-LCD HD Monitor – Black on top that I run my scans from.
This is the monitor stand that I use:
This is what my top monitor looks like during the trading day. This runs all of the Warrior Trading Trade Ideas scans as well as my personal scans.
My two screens that chart my watch list looks like this. I only watch a max of 4 tickers at a time, with one always being the SPY. The large chart is the 5 minute chart, which I use to manage my trades. Then I have the 2 minute, the 30 minute, and the 60 minute charts. for reference. Once I switch over to looking for reversals I will add those tickers and remove the morning watches if I feel they are not tradeable any more.
My social media laptop and monitors are on a separate lap top roll cart that I modified to hold the 2 extra monitors. This also has wheels so I can move my setup anywhere in the house, even the bathroom! Lol! The specs for this computer were given earlier and these are just 21″ widescreen HD monitors that I hook up using the same USB to HDMI adapters. Nothing special about it. It has my chat and other social media running all day. This is also my travel trading station now. When I go out of town all I have to do is unhook the laptop and monitors. A couple twists of a knob and the cart is in 2 pieces. The cables stay attached to the cart so it breaks down and assembles in less than 5 minutes. It works great. This is actually the setup I traded with at work for the last month or so I was there so I am very comfortable trading with this setup. It forces me to pick a couple of tickers that offer the best setups and only focus on them.
Last but not least I needed to get the fasted internet that I could possibly get. A lot of people who have problems with their charts lagging have them not because of their computer, but because their internet download rate is too slow. I had the lagging problem when I first started but when I got the fastest internet I could get in my home, my problems were solved. Also, I do not use WiFi. My laptops are hardwired to a dedicated ASUS high speed modem.
Well this is my trading station at a glance. Hope it answered all of the questions. Another thing to note is that it took me several months to buy everything. I take a % of my profits to invest in the business. You never know when a computer or a monitor will take a crap and leave you hanging.