How to Choose the Right PC (or Laptop) When Engaging in Financial Market Trading

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that the global PC market was entering a period of decline.

After all, Gartner revealed that worldwide PC sales declined by a staggering 28.5% through Q4 2022 while falling by 16.2% over the course of the year. This included declines in both Windows and iOS devices, while the trend shows no sign of abating as the economic climate remains uncertain.

However, the good news is that the demand for PCs remains high among consumers with a specific purpose in mind, especially gaming or financial market trading.

But what are the key considerations when comparing the market or shopping for a trading PC, and should you even opt for a personal computer over a laptop? Let’s get into it!

The Key Considerations When Buying a Trading PC

To kick us off, we’re going to look at some of the key considerations when buying a PC for the purpose of financial market trading. These include:

#1. Fast Processing Speeds (CPU Capacity): Each PC has its own central processing unit (CPU), which is arguably the most crucial element of any trading device. This controls how quickly data is processed through the device, while it has a direct bearing on how many programs you can have open at all times and how easy it is to move between charts and different datasets. For forex, futures, and stock trading, a desktop PC should have a CPU capacity of at least 2.8 GHz, while you’ll want as powerful a CPU as possible when engaging in high volume and real-time strategies such as scalping.

#2. High-Speed RAM Capacity: RAM stands for Random Memory Access, while it’s a form of computer memory that also enables your device to perform tasks simultaneously without compromising on performance. A high RAM value translates into quicker processing speeds, with a marker of 16GB of RAM ideal for solid and consistent trading performance. Once again, however, you may want to look for devices with even more gigabytes of RAM if you execute a high volume of orders in relatively short periods of time.

#3. Your Display and Monitor Size: This may seem like a superficial consideration, but the size of your display is crucial regardless of whether you’re wagering using a desktop or laptop device. Make no mistake; the screen must be able to display multiple charts and graphics clearly and simultaneously, while it should also boast a minimum resolution of 1920p if you’re to review data and make effective, real-time decisions. Of course, you’ll need to tailor your requirements to suit your chosen device type and its location, but investing in as large a display as possible is highly recommended.

#4. The Operating System (OS): Interestingly, Windows is the overwhelming favourite among financial market and FX traders, with the best forex trading platform widely compatible and best used with this operating system. In fact, a number of the market-leading platforms are only compatible with Windows, creating a much broader range of choice when compared to Mac users. So, if you’re serious about trading and want to enjoy the best possible experience, you should definitely compare the market for a Windows PC.

Should You Trade Using a Desktop Device or Laptop?

Given these considerations and the fact that the best forex brokers are often exclusively available on Windows, you should at least have a clear idea of the most important selling points and your preferred operating system.

The question that remains, of course, is whether you should invest in a desktop or laptop device unless, of course, you have the budget to buy both and enjoy a completely flexible trading experience.

If not, you’ll first need to consider the role that trading plays in your life. If this is a full-time endeavor, for example, you should first invest in a PC for your home office, as this will create a dedicated workspace in which to trade while affording you increased processing power and display size.

Conversely, part-time traders may prefer laptop devices, as they’re considerably cheaper, portable, and can be used flexibly in line with the hours spent outside of the office. Also, a laptop is a must if you live as a digital nomad, which requires you to earn money while potentially moving from one location to another.

Ultimately, your choice of device will be governed by your budget and how you intend to trade, whether this is on a full or part-time basis. So, it’s important that you consider your circumstances in detail before making a purchasing decision, while we’d also recommend comparing the market for the best possible options according to your criteria.