In the guide, we’ll walk you through step by step to help you pick out the best components that go in a trading computer. Computer technology changes rapidly, if you are reading another article written a year ago (or longer) then the information is outdated. This guide is for components going into 2020 and we’ll keep it updated as components change over time.
It’s important that you seek advice from professionals that have experience building, testing and configuring thousands of trading computers.
We sell trading computers with the components listed below 100% plug and play – ready to use. We’ll take the headaches out of assembling and testing all the components. We’ve sold thousands of trading computers to customers for over 16 years. Click here to see all the trading computer systems we offer.
Now, let’s get to the components!
Every trading computer in 2020 should have one of the newest 9th generation Intel Core processor. Most Core i7 & i9 chips have Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost to give it a little extra speed when needed.
Blue Aura Computers is now offering AMD Ryzen 5, 7 & 9 processors in our trading computers!
There are a lot of great processors to pick from this year. The best overall pick for speed, price and overall performance is the Intel Core i9 9900K. The 9900K is 3.6GHz eight core and goes up to 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost & Hyper-Threading supported.
Runner ups would be the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3800X. The 3900X is comparable to the 9900K in cost and performance.
The first thing we would like to do is clear up a little confusion with motherboard sockets. The socket is the place you put the processor on the motherboard. The type of socket has to match the processor. The socket type on our Trader 8000 Series trading computers is LGA 1151, or commonly referred to as simply socket 1151.
So why is knowing the socket type so important? Because that will dictate what “Chipset” you get on the motherboard. This can seem a little confusing at first but basically if the chipset on the motherboard is compatible with the socket on your processor then you can use that motherboard. Of course, you want the newest chipset so you get the best performance with your processor.
There are really only 2 motherboard sizes to talk about: ATX – normal sized motherboard with more connectors onboard – more usb, hard drive sata connectors, video card slots, etc. MicroATX – much smaller than standard ATX. Usually only 2 video card slots, less usb ports and sata ports. We recommend buying a computer with a normal sized ATX motherboard, the MicroATX boards strip away too many board slots and other features.
We’ve been using ASUS Prime boards in the majority of our trading computers for many years. The TUF model does have integrated WiFi but only has 2 video card slots. Most customers only use 2 cards but with the Prime board you will have the option for adding a 3rd.
Important – only use ASUS brand motherboards. We do not recommend any other brand! ASUS is the largest motherboard manufacturer in the world – they have the best designs and their boards provide the fastest performance for Intel & AMD chipsets and processors!
If you’ve owned a lot of computers in your life, you’re probably familiar with computer RAM. These are the sticks that get installed on the motherboard.
How much RAM do you need? 16GB would be the minimum amount, if you are on a tight budget you can get by with 8GB but we wouldn’t recommend going that low.
What brand of memory is best? Do not use Corsair memory! We have had such bad luck with Corsair sticks in the past that we can’t recommend that brand. The top brand has always been and always will be Kingston & Crucial. Their RAM is priced slightly (not much) higher than others but it is well worth it, it’s rock solid and rarely goes bad. We really love Crucial brand memory and have been using it for years.
You can install up to 64GB on our systems right now by using multiple 16GB sticks. We recommend going with a full 32GB kit, you won’t regret it!
The hard drive is where everything is stored – your operating system, files, music, etc…
There are 2 types of hard drives – mechanical and solid state. Mechanical drives offer more space for less cost, but are slower. Solid state hard drives (also known as SSDs) are more expensive per GB but are much, much faster.
In our opinion, speed is more important that size. Any trading computer built or purchased in 2020 should have an SSD drive as the primary boot drive. If you need additional storage, adding a 2nd hard drive to the system such as a 1TB Western Digital is common.
What brands are the best? Kingston and Samsung are the only 2 manufacturers we recommend. We don’t recommend Corsair SSDs. Kingston provides the best price/value and they are very dependable drives. Samsung is the current king of speed in the SSD market, and their drives are also known for very high reliability.
There is a new type of SSD called an M.2 SSD. It is a type of SSD that looks like a stick of RAM and is installed in a special slot on the motherboard. This is the future of SSD technology. Most of the new motherboards now have two of these special slots so you can install two M.2 drives.
250GB or 500GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus. These drives are amazingly fast, our customers have been very happy with them. The 970 EVO Plus series are a much better bang for the buck vs the 970 PRO series and the speed difference is minimal.
First off, you don’t need an expensive gaming card for a trading computer. There will be no benefit to using one and you’ll end up just wasting money.
If you are confused about the ports on the back of the computer read this article: Trading Computer Video Card Ports Explained
DVI and HDMI are entirely interchangeable. They output the same digital signal and can be converted between each other with adapters so it doesn’t matter if the video card has DVI or HDMI – you can use a DVI or HDMI connector on the monitor with the right adapter. Keep in mind the new version of HDMI supports 4k resolutions, DVI only goes up to 2560×1600.
Common Adapters & Cables
The trading computers we sell to our customers we include all adapters needed to get you up and running!
There are hundreds of computer cases on the market by dozens of manufacturers. There are more manufacturers than we care to list. Only 4 manufacturers are worth mentioning – Phanteks, Cooler Master, Fractal Design and Corsair.
Cooler Master is by far the biggest name in computer cases. We’ve stuck with them for our custom computers because of their outstanding build quality. Cooler Master has thick steel so their cases don’t feel cheap or flimsy.
We’ve been using Fractal Design cases for about 5 years now. Our favorite case is the Fractal Design Define R6. It has removable fan filters, a front fan speed controller switch and it supports 140mm fans where most cases only support 120mm. This is our #1 case we recommend to customers.
Power supplies have become very standardized with the different outputs. So as far as compatibility, you don’t really need to worry about that. The motherboard has a 24-pin power connector and an 8-pin for the CPU and on a microATX motherboard its 4 pin for the CPU. The connectors for the hard drives are standard SATA power connectors and the case fans are 4 pin power connectors.
Brand? There is one and ONLY one brand to consider – SeaSonic. We could spend an hour telling you all the benefits, but we’ll keep it brief! SeaSonic is an actual manufacturer, most of the other brands are not – they don’t actually build them, they have another company do it for them.
We wouldn’t go less than a 650w unit, you won’t save much money so why bother going with less wattage? The 650W SeaSonic is the power supply we use in most of our systems.
This seems like a no-brainer – Microsoft Windows. We know some are still nervous about switching to Windows 10. We are convinced that Windows 10 is the most stable, robust and easy to use operating system Microsoft has ever created. Not to mention it has proper support for multiple monitors with separate task bars on each screen which Windows 7 doesn’t.
Home vs Professional? Professional has support for connecting to a network domain and it also has a useful tool called Bitlocker Encryption.
In order to properly test our trading computers we have monitors from every size, brand and resolution in our testing stations. We’re very familiar with all the different manufacturers.
We recommend sticking with only the major brand names. If we were to narrow it down to one brand it would be ASUS. They offer the best “bang for the buck” when it comes to monitors.
Most 27″ monitors are 1920×1080 resolution, which is a perfect resolution for a screen of this size. There are 27″ monitors with 2560×1440 resolution but they are usually much more expensive and setting your screen to this high of a resolution would cause everything to be very small, increasing the scaling in Windows would be the only way to make things more readable. 4K 27″ monitors are also now sold at 4K 3840 x 2160 resolutions, these monitors are extremely expensive and only worth the money if you are into gaming.
If you’re using from 1 to 3 monitors in your setup we would just use the stands that come with the monitors. With four monitors we would us a quad stand, 6 monitors a hex stand. 8 monitors we would use two quad stands and 12 monitors two hex stands.
Free standing monitor stands are the best type – these rest on their own base. The other type use a clamp to secure it to your desk. The stands we sell on our site are all free standing. We have dual, quad and hex stands that support up to 27″ screen sizes.
We’ve been selling Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic Keyboard for over 10 years now. This is our overall favorite keyboard! The keys are slightly split in the middle to provide a more natural position for your hands. There is a cushioned palm rest and contoured keys.
The best mouse is our corded Logitech M500 model. Corded is better than wireless, no batteries to ever change and the mouse will always operate flawlessly since it has a direct wired usb connection. The Logitech M500 is the perfect size, it’s fits like a glove in your hand. We do offer wireless keyboard and mouse combos too for customers that want that option.
During a storm all it takes is for the power to go out for a split second and you’ll lose whatever was actively running on your computer. A good battery backup helps with this, it will give you enough runtime power to allow the safe closure of open files and shut down of Windows. Also, it prevents power surges and keeps your pc safe. We always recommend CyberPower brand, they are sold in different wattages, the largest will give you more time during a power outage. Keep in mind if you plug in more than just your computer tower it will cut into how long the battery will last, if you have an array of monitors hooked up you won’t get too long on backup power.
Want to purchase a trading computer with the components listed in this article? Check out our Trader 8000 Extreme or Trader 9000 Elite trading computer. Blue Aura Computers sells custom desktop trading computers built exactly the way you want it! Our systems are plug-n-play, ready to go right out of the box. Clean installation guaranteed – no junk software.