If there is one tool every trader needs to invest efficiently, it is a good trading computer. A dependable, flexible machine that can support multiple monitors and stream charts galore is critical for success.
Unfortunately, most trading computers are ridiculously over priced or are not constructed with investors in mind. Having built half a dozen computers over the years, I can hand craft my own rigs with the best brands and parts purchased over the web at discounted prices. However, I've realized that 99.9% of investors don't have this ability, and it's frustrating.
So, I decided to do something about it.
I called up well-known gaming computer manufacturer iBUYPOWER, and after telling them about my quest to help build the ultimate value trading rig, they were excited to help out. After some back and forth emails, one call with an engineer, and some spec tweaking, we ended up with a fantastic rig.
A solid trading computer meets three key criteria: reliability, multi-monitor support, and speed. This three legged chair is dependable on each area, and if one slacks, it is a wobbly experience to say the least.
The first decision was to go with iBUYPOWER's Professional Series. With the Professional series, each machine is built to last, using only name brand manufacturer products. For tech junkies, this means brands like ASUS, Corsair, AMD, and Intel, to name a few.
By using top of the line component manufacturers, you not only receive a machine built for extensive use, but also have double coverage. All individual parts are covered by the original manufacturer warranties, then there is the warranty on the system itself from iBUYPOWER, guaranteeing their work.
Each machine comes with three years of iBUYPOWER support which is first class. My brother's iBUYPOWER machine once had an issue and wouldn't turn on. We called support, diagnosed the problem as a bad power supply, and within a week a new one was at our home, upgraded to handle more power. This was completely free of charge and no questions asked.
It is because of these kinds of experiences that I have recommended iBUYPOWER machines to numerous family members throughout the years over building them myself. This rig is the first one I've personally owned that is not custom built by myself, and that's A-ok with me.
Every trader should be able to run atleast two monitors. Since I personally use three 24" LED monitors, I had the rig by default support up to three monitors with the capability of supporting up to 6 monitors or more.
The Graphics card that comes with this setup is the AMD Radeon HD 7770 - 1GB. The card has one DVI slot, one HDMI, and one Display port slot. Using three monitors means using all ports, naturally. My only piece of advice, make sure you by the right adapter for the Display port, it has to be "active", not "passive". See this guide for further info.
What I really love about all the AMD graphics cards in the Professional Series lineup is that they are the AMD brand. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. There is no point to purchase white labeled from another provider when you can have the card directly from the original manufacturer.
The motherboard is an ASUS P8Z77-V LX which supports up to four graphics cards running at once, if you take advantage of the two PCIe x16 slots alongside the two PCIe x1 slots. CrossfireX ready also allows you to bridge multiple cards together for maxed resolution gaming sessions.
Speed & Quietness
This computer is crazy quick thanks to the 3rd generation Intel Quad Core i7-3770 Processor (4x 3.40GHz), 120 GB ADATA SSD, and the 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM.
With the Solid State Drive (SSD), the computer boots up from a cold start in less than 20 seconds.
What's even more impressive is how quiet it is. This rig has the iBUYPOWER Harmony SRS Sound Reduction System upgrade, which means noise reducing foam and upgraded Harmony SRS fans. The fans in the computer are professional grade to ensure maximum air flow without the loud humming noise most computers have.
Here is a picture of the side panel with the sound reduction foam and one of the Harmony SRS fans,
To show some of the features of this computer, I made a short video using my new iPhone 5 (Email subscribers you will need to visit the site to view the video). The stock broker platforms you will see being used are thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade alongside MarketSmith.
One of the aspects I really love about all iBUYPOWER machines is that they never come bundled with bloatware software. Each computer is completely clean and only has the necessary programs installed to operate.
Below is a picture of the installed programs list which I took after first booting up the computer. Even the desktop had only one icon on it, the trash bin, which is just icing on the cake.
The only nuisance I have run into thus far is the side panel, which can be tough to slide back into place once taken off. I realized I had bent one of the slide pins, and with a small tweak was good to go. Also, the PCI slot covers in the back are not screw-less like some high end cases, but again it is tough to be picky over such minor drawbacks.
For Windows enthusiasts, here are the Windows Experience Test results which are absolutely fantastic considering this setup costs only $1,207. This performance is up there with $2,000+ rigs, no joke. (Note, the max score you can achieve for any category is 7.9).
Full Spec Sheet & Ordering
If you'd like to purchase the exact same trading computer with all the customizations I went with, which includes the 3 year warranty from iBUYPOWER, I have provided quick links to do so below. I've also included the spec sheet for those who like to order the parts "a la carte" and build their own computers.
Note, no monitors come with this rig, it is just the base PC. I personally use three 24" ASUS LED monitors. To get the same monitors I have, here is the link to order them on Amazon.com.
- Case - 1 x NZXT Source 210 Mid Tower Case-Black
- iBUYPOWER Labs - Noise Reduction 1 x Basic - iBUYPOWER Harmony SRS Sound Reduction System-Reduce System Noise
- iBUYPOWER Labs - Internal Expansion 0 x None-
- Processor - 1 x Intel® Core™ i7-3770 Processor (4x 3.40GHz/8MB L3 Cache)-
- Processor Cooling - 1 x Asetek 550LC Liquid CPU Cooling System (Intel)-ARC Dual Silent High Perfornamce Fan Upgrade (Push-Pull Airflow)
- Memory - 1 x 8 GB [4 GB X2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module-Corsair Vengeance
- Video Card - 1 x AMD Radeon HD 7770 - 1GB-Single Card
- Motherboard - 1 x ASUS P8Z77-V LX-
- Power Supply - 1 x 500 Watt - Corsair CX500 V2-
- RAID Card - 0 x None-
- Primary Hard Drive - 1 x 120 GB ADATA S510 SSD-Single Drive
- Data Hard Drive - 0 x None-
- Optical Drive - 1 x 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive-Black
- 2nd Optical Drive - 0 x None-
- Flash Media Reader / Writer - 1 x 12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer-Black
- Meter Display - 0 x None-
- Sound Card - 1 x 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard-
- Network Card - 1 x Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)-
- Operating System - 1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Professional + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel)-64-bit
- Keyboard - 1 x iBUYPOWER Standard Gaming Keyboard-
- Mouse - 1 x iBUYPOWER Standard Gaming Mouse-Blood Red
- Monitor - 0 x None-
- 2nd Monitor - 0 x None-
- Speaker System - 0 x None-
- Video Camera - 0 x None-
- Warranty - 1 x 3 Year Standard Warranty Service-
- Rush Service - 1 x Rush Service Fee (not shipping fee)-No Rush Service, Estimate Ship Out in 5~10 Business Days
- Subtotal* - $1207.00 (plus tax & shipping)
Here are pictures I took during the unboxing. Click any image to view the full size:
I am extremely impressed with what iBUYPOWER helped me put together. This new trading computer is the ultimate value build and I couldn't be more happy.
While iBUYPOWER is known for building gaming rigs, they should not be overlooked for your needs as an investor or full-time trader. If you want to spend $2,000 - $3,000, or more, for a trading rig from a so called "trading computer specialist" website, by all means go ahead. But I can tell you that you are throwing away money unnecessarily.
What computer setup do you use for trading online? Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments area below.
Important Note: iBUYPOWER was kind enough to donate engineer time and build this computer at a discounted price for me as a contribution towards this review.