Day Trading Guide – Chapter 5: What You’ll Need to Get Started

Day Trading Computer

Before you can think of starting day trading, you will need to have all the necessary hardware. A powerful and reliable computer is essential for all day traders. You do not want to face a situation where you are in the middle of a trade and your computer fails. As such always get a branded computer to act as your work station.

Hardware Specifications for Computer:

The minimum recommended specifications for your computer should comprise of the following specs listed below:
Intel Pentium D 2.6GHz or better
512 MB RAM or higher
Windows XP Operating System
One 19-inch LCD monitor (Two 19-inch LCD preferred)

For those who are using multiple LCDs, you will need 2 output ports for your video adapter card. If your video adapter does not have this option, than you need to install an additional video adapter with ATI or nVidia video chipsets to accommodate the second LCD.

Software Requirements:

You will need special software for you to be able to trade effectively in day trading. With this software, you will be able to analyze currencies, commodities, stocks among others. You will also be using this software to place your orders to buy or sell. As this software is the backbone of your trading platform, it is crucial that the software used is branded and well accepted within the users’ community, which is among traders. It is essential that the software has the following functionality listed below:
Built-in Order entry
Level II (List of all the buy and sell orders in the market)
Portfolio tracker
Real time news feed
Real time streaming quotes and charts
Time and Sales listing of all transactions

Internet Connectivity:

Without internet connectivity, your connection to the financial market is cut off. You cannot receive the data or information which is critical for your trading decisions. In essence, your computer and trading software are just white elephants. As such ensure that you have either one of the following installed:
DSL broadband service
Cable internet
T1 internet line for those who require extremely high speed connectivity and reliability in terms of stability.

Antivirus Protection and Other System Protection

For a workstation that functions as your day trading platform, you cannot compromise on the integrity of your computer system. You should have reputable antivirus software like Norton Antivirus or McAfee VirusScan installed to protect your system from viruses or malware.


This type of software is used to prevent hackers from infiltration to your system. Normally you can download these online for free. Some antivirus software suite comes complete with firewall system as well.

Back Up System:

Murphy law’s states that if anything can go wrong than it will. As such, it is important that you also have a backup system to prevent any inadvertent failures to your trading platform. You should at least have the following:
56 Kbps dial up modem as a backup to your broadband internet
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) as backup power in case of power failure
External backup hard disk to backup your data after the close of everyday trading.