The kind of computer needed to start day trading is not very complex. There is absolutely no way that you can start day trading unless you have a reliable computer. There are a lot of companies out there that try to sell fancy computers to day traders with flashing lights because people think they need it.
You don't need a computer that can power an entire company and you don't need a computer with the latest specs.
Most computers available on the market today will be compatible with most software platforms, they are also powerful enough to start day trading. Below are the specs of my current laptop that I trade from:
My Current Day Trading Laptop Specs:
- Dell Inspiron N7010
- Windows 7
- Intel Core I5 2.67 GHz Processor
- 580 GB Hard Drive
- 6 gigs of Ram
- Intel HD Graphics Card
- 17.5 inch screen
Recommended Day Trading Computer Specs:
- Desktop: I recommend Dell
- Laptop: Toshiba, Dell, Asus, IBM, Lenovo(Do Not Buy HP or Compaq)
- Processor: 1GHz or greater
- Windows 7 (others can be used but this will be the new benchmark)
- Memory: At least 4 gigs for Ram for Windows 7
- Hard drive: Minimum 3GB of Ram
Day Trading with a Laptop vs Desktop
The quick answer is yes, you can trade with a laptop . Many of the students that I have coached have always asked me if they can trade with a laptop. Ever since I started my travel blog and day trading around the world I have been better equipped to answer this question. This is especially true since I have been through 3 laptops in the last year. I remember I bought two top of the line laptops before I started traveling and I quickly had to sell them on eBay.
Never buy a laptop from HP or Compaq
I quickly learned that HP and Compaq (same company now) have a design flaw in their laptops. A close friend that worked for a computer tech company told me that since they have a design flaw they overheat very easily. I was having to manually reboot my computer two and three times a day. I now am running a Dell computer with the specs at the beginning of this post and it works beautifully. I would go with a minimum screen size of 15 inches, 18.5 inch laptops are way too big and anything under 15 is too small. I have found the 17.5 inch laptops to be just right.
Do You Need Two Monitors to Day Trade?
If you are traveling and day trading from a laptop like I do then no you don't need an extra screen. If you are trading from a desktop then I would recommend you get an extra screen because it does make your life easier. I personally had three screens for my first day trading office (check it out here) and just stuck with that. I honestly only used two of the screens but I liked the third monitor so I just kept it. I only bought 3 monitors to begin with because I thought you needed them.
The monitors that they are selling now a days are all widescreen. If you get a monitor that is 19 inches or larger then you could probably day trade with just one screen. The old adage that you need two screens to day trade just doesn't exist anymore with today's technology.
Can You Day Trade With An Apple Mac Computer?
Yes you can trade with an Apple Computer as long as you are running Microsoft Windows. Most day trading platforms only support windows so if you plan on using a Mac make sure that you can run windows on it.
If you would like to learn more about what you need to get started then click here to see my post about what you need to get started.