Ahhh trading computers. People often believe they need heavy machines to do good research in trading but the truth is that most retail traders do not need big machines to do big data mining or coding. You will need to think about the future when you are picking a computer though. That is why cost to some degree should be irrelevant, because you must think about the long term. If you choose a good computer with decent power made by a good company then you should be ok for 5-10 years.
Although I worked for Apple for about a year in there technology department, I find that Apple hardware through the years hold up the best. I have the original IMAC and it still works. However, its processor cannot be upgraded at all. In my opinion you should go the Apple way in terms of choosing a laptop or desktop as the hardware is quality grade. This may change over time but you really cant beat it.
This is how I would setup my computer. You need a laptop or a desktop with…
-At least 16GB of ram.
You need at least 16GB of ram and 4 cores in your computer because you want to be able to run multiple things quickly.
-At least 1 terabytes of storage.
-Discretionary CD Drive. Or a detached CD drive (Optional).
-You want the latest and greatest USB ports. Right now in 2016 it is USB 3. This is because it allows up to a gigabyte of a data transfer.
-If you choose a desktop, I would say at least two screens or one big ass screen.
-VM -Ware Fusion or Parallels
The reason we want crossover software like (Parallels) is because we want the ability to isolate our operating systems. So even if you choose to get a P.C. you should use OS X or Linux as your main operating system and then install Windows as a virtual machine. The reasons is because you want to keep your trading side of your computer void of viruses and other garbage in your trading environment. Also this protects your main computer from viruses leaking through. If the windows side ever got infected you could just destroy the virtual machine and then not lose your main desktop. I currently use a Mac Pro (not a mac book pro) as my main computer. I installed VM Ware Fusion with Windows 7 and I use Tradestation as my main broker/platform. The beauty of computers is you can use any operating system and you can isolate those systems. So on the windows side I do nothing but trading stuff, coding, and testing. On the OS X side I have my personal items and visual effects . Below are my recommendations of builds for Apple Computers with the necessary software. Remember think long-term. If you paid 1500-2000 for something that will last 5-10 years it is worth its weight in gold. At the end I will show my specs of my computer. But remember I do a lot of intensive research and data mining so I need a powerful machine for now and the future.
The other part of the equation is you want the ability to also replace or buy parts (I.E. Ram and install some of that stuff yourself if you want too.). Although Apple may recommend a certain amount of “Max Ram” you can actually go higher. If you visit…. (Click Here). You will be able to see how many slots a computer has for Ram and the actual max ram. I also upgrade my ram past the max ram because I want to take as much weight off the core as possible. Another thing to note is, that if you are a student or you have a son or daughter in college or even a grad student you can get a discount via the apple store. Also apple provides refurbished products …. (Click Here). These computers are just as good and come with the same entitlement as new and shiny products. =)
Recommendation for A Laptop: Click Here
Recommendation For A Desktop: Click Here
As you can see with the desktop you get a nice screen and a lot more bang for your buck. With the Apple laptop computers, they have really screwed the consumer in many ways. They took away the Ethernet port and the disc drive. Also, they only give you a choice of PCI-Hardrive which is expensive technology. Overtime it will come down, but I think the consumer should be able to choose between PCI, SSD, and Serial ATA . PCI storage is lightening fast but people would be just ok with the standard Solid State Drive(SSD). Serial ATA over time will break because it has moving parts but they still last 3-5 years. So keep that in mind when choosing an Apple laptop. Its so expensive because the consumer is paying for the PCI Storage. Maybe even finding an older Macbook pro and then upgrading everything would be better. For Example I have a 15in Macbook Pro 2012 (Late) edition. It has 16GB of Ram and a Solid State Drive, which I add myself. That would probably cost $1,500 to do now. There are tons of YouTube videos about how to replace parts of your computer, so you can really do it yourself.
In terms of monitors, I would say just use Asus and make sure they have a refresh rate that is good.
Here Is My Set Up: Click Here
Image Of My Setup: Click Here