Episode 271: Technology for Traders

by robbooker on July 14, 2014

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Episode 271 of The Traders Podcast opens with a brief chat about “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which is currently playing in theaters. Jason highly recommends it. Then your host Rob Booker and the producer discuss an e-mail from Derek in the UK about the Chromebook. This leads Rob to discuss the various technology presently available for traders. And after spending some time talking about hardware, Rob talks a little about software. If you’re planning to do some computer shopping for your trading office, then this episode is for you.

Rob also reveals an exciting announcement about how we’re moving The Traders Podcast technology forward, so be sure to subscribe free in iTunes.

And remember, let us know in the comments for this episode what technology you’re using for your trading. Thanks for listening.

Links from this episode:

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Rob Booker.com

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Rob on Twitter: @RobBooker

The Traders Podcast on Twitter: @TradersPodcast

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Corporal Forex July 15, 2014 at 3:46 am

I run the MetaTrader 4 platform on an ASUS desktop computer with RAM maxed out. and for graphics, my card is an AMD Radeon 7850. but the OS is Ubuntu 14.04, and that’s where the plot thickens.

the first thing I had to do was to get a Forex trading demo account up and running on my desktop before I could even think about committing to any particular broker, since most platforms are designed to run on Microsoft Windows, and getting platforms to run can be very tedious.

WINE is the MS Windows emulator that I use to run the trading platform—which works OK by itself—but I found that installing MetaTrader 4 through PlayOnLinux worked better. POL is basically a GUI for Wine geared for gaming, which brings in many more configuration options.

besides the low volatility in Forex this year, I have been happy with the MT4 platform.

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ryan, the lover of technology July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

I trade with a few multiple devices. I hate a windows 7 laptop for y web content such as youtube, facebok, etc… I use a windows 8 laptop with an extra monitor for my trading with think or swim, nadex, and fxcm. One monitor for my charts and one monitor for my order screen. I also have an android 8″ tablet because sometimes while im working, i will want to turn on CNBC with the sound off just to watch the screen. I do this because sometimes if there is a spike in the market from nowhere, i will just look and see if that crazy loud man in the pits is losing his head. And last of all, I have an android phone that I watch my trades from if I am away from my desk. It sounds like a lot but not really. Most days though, i just have the 2 laptps running, as to not overwhelm myself with trader porn.

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Dave Vaughan July 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

Trading hardware:
3, all Win7; would not touch Win8………..
Kitchen: 8yr old E4048; P4 HT; 2gB DDR2. Still works!!!
Trading desk: 3yr old self-build; AMD Phenom 6core; 3gB Ram
Bedroom: Dell Inspiron laptop, wired to 32″ TV
Platform: Metatrader 4…awaiting Trifecta 3…short-term trader.
Regards, Dave

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Kevin House July 17, 2014 at 2:05 am

Great Podcast guys, looking forward to getting the app for iPhone

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RichardHK July 18, 2014 at 1:42 am

Just one Windows 7 PC, recently updated with Intel Core i7-4770K CPU, ASUS mobo, and 16GB RAM. Runs very well driving 2x Dell 22″ monitors. Also running monitors direct off built-in Intel graphics drivers and it works very well indeed. So quiet. No noisy and hot graphics card needed. Have all trading screens on one monitor in readiness for when I move to using a notebook or tablet as backup or when travelling.

Not a forex trader, although did start on forex with FXCM. Been trading the Emini S&P500 (ES) for last 18 months using NinjaTrader with IB broker. Moved to Ninja from TradeStation to add order flow analysis tools to supplement my price action trading style.

Enjoyed this podcast, especially with Rob giving the latest MS Surface Pro a thumbs up. I have been considering the Surface as a possible tablet cum PC for back up trading, and it seems the technology is about there now. Nice to hear good words for Windoze stuff from an obviously happy Mac head like Rob. Fits Rob’s wonderful candid and honest delivery that makes the Traders Podcasts so enjoyable, and unmissable.

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Brian F. July 19, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I hate clutter, and need desk space to think, so I keep my desk top uncluttered. My computer desktop is the same. I put most of my money into the video card, and added four 27″ monitors so I never run out out real estate.

Blue Aura made me the following Trader 9000 Pro (cut and paste from the invoice). I don’t know this guy, but he’s a one man business and he builds quality machines at great prices. Lifetime warranty, his, not yours. I highly recommend him.

– Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX LGA 2011 Motherboard (MILITARY GRADE!)
– Processor: Intel Core i7 3820 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) Quad Core Sandy Bridge-E
– CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO (Dual Ultra Quiet 120mm Fans + Direct Contact Heat Pipes)
– System Memory: 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3 1600MHz KINGSTON (four 8gb sticks)
– Power Supply: 620 Watt SeaSonic Bronze – 80 PLUS Certified with Active PFC – ULTRA QUIET!
– Video Card: 2x NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 2GB (6 Monitor Support)
– Case: COOLER MASTER CM690 II (Mid-Tower – NEW DESIGN! Front Panel USB 3.0 Ports)
– Primary Hard Drive: 120GB – Intel 520 Series MLC Internal Solid State SSD (SATA III 6Gb/s)
– Additional Hard Drive: 500GB SATA III 6Gb/s 7,200RPM Hard Drive
– Sound Card: Realtek 8-Channel High Definition Audio
– Optical Drive #1: Lite-On 24X DVD/CD Burner SATA
– Network: Onboard 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit LAN Port
– Case Fans: Quiet Case Fans (at least 4 fans, 120mm or higher depending on case)
– Accessories: CyberPower 600W UPS Power Backup + Surge Protection

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octrader July 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hey guys

I’m a software engineer/computer scientist, born and raised in Silicon Valley but living in Orange County the last 20-ish years. I do discretionary trading as well as automated trading so I’ll split them out without too many details.

Manual/Discretionary trading
—————————————
PC Desktop, home-made (built with my son to teach him about computers), about 1yr old
Core i5 processor
16GB RAM – I’m of the opinion you can never have too much RAM
a 250 GB SSD drive and and 2 TB hard standard hard drive
Nice video card (can’t remember brand, I don’t care)
Two 24″ HD monitors

I also do a lot of my trading research and backtesting on my 15.4″ HP Envy laptop, Core i7, 8GB RAM, 750GB Hybrid drive, 1080p screen, etc. It’s Mac-y, ie, backlit Chicklet keyboard, light weight, battery lasts long, yada yada.

I trade stocks and options through thinkorswim and Interactive Brokers TWS, both of which can run on Windows or Mac.

I use mostly Windows 8.1 for trading because Ninjatrader requires Windows and I use Windows a lot for for other business needs. It’s pretty great, but I also like Macs, especially for content creation, but I just don’t use it for trading, but they are good too. I don’t like running Windows on the Mac, at least in a virtual machine. I beat the snot out of my hardware pretty good and I want to be as close to the metal as possible. Also, my Macbook Pro is only 13″ and I need at least 15″ and 1080p or higher resolution so it’s not really suited for that unless I connect it to an external monitor. I use it mainly for iOS development. It has a 500GB SSD drive and 16GB of Crucial RAM.

As far as Apple vs Windows, it just kinda depends on what you’re needs are. I’m interested to hear about your forays with a Surface Pro 3 if you go that route. I think that’s a pretty compelling option.

As far as mobile trading, I have made a handful of trades on my iPad 2 or iPhone 5, for various gotta-get-in/out-of-this-trade situations but I usually avoid trading from mobile devices if I can, it’s just not as productive.

Automated trading
—————————————
I have a 1/4 cabinet with 14 rack-units at a local co-location facility I use for my consulting clients and my own needs. On my trading server I run a Dell 1U server, with 16GB of RAM, Intel Xeon processor, can’t remember rest of the specs, it’s overkill. I run Windows Server 2012. I code and operate my automated strategies in Ninjatrader 7 and they trade S&P e-mini, NASDAQ e-mini and Crude Oil futures contracts. My broker is Optimus futures, which provides market data via Rithmic, and the trades clear through Vision Financial Markets. I may have to change brokers since there was a recent NFA ruling against Vision, i.e., they are shutting Vision down, so I may to have to make a switch soon unless my IB can switch FCMs.

Etcetera
—————————————
Next time you’re in OC I’d love for you to speak at the OC Traders Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Orange-County-Traders-Association/, which I started in 2008 and moderate still today. I started it as a way to meet and socialize with other traders. We can make it work around your schedule, people will show up for sure. Bring your kids too if you want. My daughter is an awesome babysitter.

P.S. Rob, I think we have some mutual friends & acquaintances, would love to correspond in private about that.

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Calvin Williams August 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Hey guys, I think you might be interested in this set up.

I have a 2002 eMachines set up with 4 meg of Ram on Windows 7 running only my trading software. This machine is my “Trading Station”. The software running is MT4, Forex Tester 2, Trade Copier and FXCM Trading Station. I then run MT4 apps on my Android, Iphone and ipad for mobile trading.

ForexTester2 is my baby, I use it to backtest all of my strategies before forward testing and then trading live. TradeCopier is my new baby. It is awesome! I run multiple instances of MT4 and it copies my trades to various accounts and allows me to configure everything (SL, TP, Lot Size, Risk, etc.). Currently, I use it to live test and forward test my strategies at the same time with the exact same entries. This really helps me to increase my learning curve. I don’t have to worry about “what if I kept it open or closed it shorter” situations. I trade live the way I want, run demos that copy my trades and at the end of every week I improve my trading by reviewing the results.

The interesting part of my tech setup is that I remote desktop into my Trading Station from anywhere and any computer. I use TeamViewer software, free of course. This allows me to remote into my trading station that runs 24/5. It is my own VPS in my house, free, only paying for electricity. I really like this teamviewer set up because it allows me to access my Trading Station from my MacBook Pro, Mac Book Air or Windows 7 Laptop. I can even access my trading station from my mobile devices as well. So I have a bunch of clients accessing my at home trading station. It really works well for me, the trading station does all the hard work.

My trading station isn’t fancy and I like it that way. It is my goal to make as much money as possible with this old crappy computer until I fully destroy it. Then I’ll buy another $200-$300 computer and repeat!

Thanks for everything. Your podcast rocks.

Calvin

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