3 monitor setup on the cheap (but still effective)
Recently went through some painful experiences upgrading hardware after my cpu (AMD A10-5700) started to overheat after 3 years of usage. Thought I would share some insights gained, and perhaps will save some of you time & $$$.
First of all, this applies to computer used solely for trading (not gaming, or 3D CAD, or anything else that's 3D intensive).
Secondly, I trade with 3 monitors (@ 1080p), no less, no more. I find it's the perfect balance for screen real estate.
Lastly, this is for folks who are looking to upgrade on the cheap, so Big Mike and his triple 4K displays do not apply.
Alright, now that the disclaimers are out of the way, here we go:
Tip #1: Go with Intel CPU, not AMD. It's cooler, quieter, faster for slightly more money. Well worth it. Plus it consumes less power. I get almost double the amount of time off the battery backup when I switched from AMD to Intel. More insurance, big bonus right there.
Tip #2: All 6th gen Skylake Intel cpu comes with a very solid onboard graphics chip (HD530), which, with the right mobo, will comfortably output to 3 monitors with plenty of headroom to spare. As a matter of fact, it probably runs faster than the discreet graphics card you have right now if it's more than 2-3 years old. Mind you, one of the outputs will be VGA, but for trading purposes, that's just fine.
Tip #3: if you are using a store bought pc with an OEM windows 7 license, and you've upgraded to windows 10 already; then don't change the mobo unless you have to. Because it will be flagged by microsoft as invalid and need to be reactivated again. You will need to either call microsoft and prove to them that your OEM license is valid (took me several calls and quite awhile on the phone to get this done); or downgrade to windows 7 first, then upgrade to windows 10 again (a tedious task).
As for myself, I'm now running a 6th gen Intel based system with NO graphics card and 3 monitors. It's running more smoothly than my 3 year old AMD setup with discreet graphics card, consumes less power, and is quieter. Apparently you CAN have your cake and eat it too. Just takes lots of time to prepare the cake.
Hopefully this has been helpful to some of you.
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Thanks for this thread. I'm not necessarily trying to build the cheapest PC, but trying to determine what is really necessary and what is nice to have. I was thinking of starting with 2 dell 27 inch monitors.
Is there a requirement for ninjatrader for example for the higher resolution ultrasharp ones (2560x1440) vs the 1920x1080 one?
Are there certain video cards I should lean towards? I see the Nvidia quaddro mentioned alot, but if I only run 2 monitors is this necessary?
Any tips are welcome. I will be doing paper trading for a long time on this PC as I learn. I am a software developer and may also use this PC for some development.
Any suggestions on buidling a PC from scratch (been a while since I have done this, getting lazier in my old age) or going with pre-build dell / hp?
More real estate is better meaning 2x27 inch with the resolution what you've mentioned above is a good choice.
I agree Intel proc is the way to go, I'd say a 4 core /i7 - with 8 logical proc/ would be my choice with 16 GB memory.
One has to pay attention because not all i7 are 4 core, see the link below:
I don't think a custom machine is really needed so a Dell would do it however you'd probably have to have a special for the graphics to achieve higher resolution and be able to attach 2 monitors. While I have quad cards in my "custom" PC they are older, like probably 5 years or so technology yet they work fine for live trading therefore there is no need in my experience for high end graphics especially if for now you just want to do sim trades and development.
hope this helps,
The following user says Thank You to atata for this post:
Can't answer your Q regarding NT since I don't use their platform.
It sounds like your needs right now are rather modest. For any setup with 3 monitors or less, you really don't even need a graphics card to trade, as my original post had already discussed.
As for build it yourself or buy one off shelf, I would suggest that you dust off the old screwdriver set and build your own system. For about the same amount of money (perhaps slightly more when you include the cost of Windows) than a mainstream brand, you will be getting much higher quality and more importantly, more expand-ability for the future. For now, just build one without a graphics card, and use it with a 2 or 3 monitor setup. In the future, should you get more serious about trading and need more monitor real estate, you can simply add a graphics card (one that can handle 6 or more outputs).
That's exactly what I did, and I'm no handyman. Just watch a couple of how to videos on youtube and you'll be all set. Took me half a day to setup the hardware, really wasn't that bad at all. Heck, it took more effort to get the whole windows upgrade mess sorted. You'll be very happy (and proud) with the DIY experience.
If you really want to buy a system, why not buy a business class laptop, and then plug in an external monitor and you've got yourself a two monitor setup, with built in battery backup in case of power outages.
Just my 2 cents of course.
The following user says Thank You to freestyler for this post: