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Built my own trading PC!

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Built my own trading PC!

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  #1 (permalink)
Vancouver, BC
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NT
Trading: CL
Posts: 1 since Feb 2015
Thanks: 1 given, 1 received

Thought I would pass on a few observations on my recent computer build...maybe this can help someone down the road.
First, to be clear, I am an aspiring trader in the OneUp Trader (excellent company BTW) program and only have an hour or two to trade the openings. Primary markets are RTY and CL with a combination of time and non time based charts using NT8. So my time frames are pretty quick. Hold periods range between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
I was trading on a 2017 Dell Inspiron Laptop with an i5 CPU benchmark score of about 3500 (cpubenchmark.net) and 16gb of RAM. On busy openings, I could notice lag between charts and the DOM especially in data intense markets like ES, RTY and NQ. So I started out doing some research on what I would need to build a decent desktop.
I was on a pretty tight budget so I wanted to build the most efficient machine possible that would get the job done. I read somewhere that you want at least a 12,000 CPU benchmark score to avoid lag / slippage so I looked and was happy to see you don't need to break the bank to get that. With the help of pcpartpicker.com I picked a 10th generation i5, 10400 intel CPU. It comes with a heatsink and was on a good sale so I went with Intel.
I paired it with a ASUS b4640 motherboard, 16 GB of the cheapest RAM I could find, an ASUS GT710 graphics card with 4 HDMI outs, a 256gb Nvme hard drive, a 500WT power supply and a cheap case.
With the help of youtube I put it all together, and lo and behold it worked straight out of the gate! It is SOOO MUCH FASTER than my laptop, you actually have change the way you think to use it! Everything, all in cost was about $800 CDN. Figured I saved about 30% over going store bought. Some key observations in no particular order:

1-If you aren't profitable before you build a nice computer, you won't magically become profitable thereafter.
2-The shorter your timeframe, the faster, more up to date your computer should be. If you are swing trading, you could probably do it from a Commodore 64
3-By building your own machine you will understand what's in it and most likely have an upgrade path ahead of you.
4-Time is money...the faster things load/process, the better. It does make a difference.
5-DON'T BLOW THE BUDGET ON A GRAPHICS CARD. In most trading software you are just rendering simple 2D graphics so you don't need a gaming card. The one I mentioned above is working fantastic with NT8. The one exception which you should research is if you want to run 4K monitors...then you may need some more fire power.
6-Buying a cheap case will save you money but will be harder to build in...you get what you pay for.
7-I went with a micro ATX motherboard (to save money), but it being smaller, will be harder to build...especially if you have big hands.

Anyway, hope this helps anyone considering building their own machine. Feel free to critique / comment and I will follow up.


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  #2 (permalink)
Legendary Elite_Member
Wiltshire, United Kingdom
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Jigsaw daytradr
Trading: US Equity Index Futures
matthew28's Avatar
Posts: 985 since Sep 2013
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I built my own PC too, and like you, I reckon doing so saved me 30% or so on something of a similar spec. I got an idea of the sort of spec I wanted by looking at a couple of Trading Computers websites.

I also watched a couple of You Tube videos, with my main takeaways being:
1. Wear an anti-static wristband when putting it together.
2. Be careful to order your motherboard with the correct socket to accept your chosen CPU.
3. Apply the CPU fan mounting paste correctly, applying it as a small pea shape on the fan base plate, and not spreading it out thinly as that can result in air bubbles with uneven cooling which at its worst can destroy the chip.
CPU core temperatures can be checked with https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html
4. Choose the appropriate size power supply, too large is inefficient.
I used https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator but I think CPUs these days tend to give recommended power supply sizes anyway.

The main differences in my build compared to yours was that I used a full size Motherboard as I had a full size case, and because at that time the range of micro size boards was much more limited.
I also used two hard drives. A the time everybody was taking about how much better Solid State Drives were because of the quicker access to data so your computer so your computer worked more quickly. So my operating system is on a Samsung Evo 250GB SSD, and the My Documents/Pictures/Videos/Music folders are on a standard 500GB hard drive. In retrospect the SSD is larger than I needed as my Windows 10 operating system and the usual selection of programs only uses about 100GB or so but I think at that time there wasn't a smaller option. If there was a 150GB version available now I would choose that.

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