I have been asked a few questions about how I have my station set up because it is a little different than most traders. Everything is powered by laptops. I think I did a post several months back on my set up at the time but I have substantially upgraded. I started with 2 laptops, then 1 laptop and 3 small monitors, then to 1 laptop and 2 larger monitors, then 2 laptops and 2 large monitors, then to what I have now; 1 laptop powering 5 large monitors for charting and platform and 1 laptop and 3 monitors for chat and social media. I found it easier to be able to watch all of the tickers on my watchlist on individual monitors versus continuously switching screens back in forth to monitor them. As you have read, I have tried different configurations to try and find my comfort zone. I am happy with what I have finally come up with.
So to answer the main question I get; why a laptop? Simply, I want portability. I like to change scenery. Sometimes I like looking out of the front window, sometimes out the back, and sometimes I like sitting on my front porch. I even like to roll my desk out on the patio on a pretty day. I wanted to be able to trade anywhere. So I started out finding a desk that was light, sturdy, and had wheels.
A lot of people have said that I shouldn't use a laptop for a trading station and that I need more power. Now I'm not a computer wizard or a professional anything with computers, but I'm an engineer and I believe that I can understand information and data and make a well educated decision on just about anything technical. I also like to simply everything and look at it as if I were a child so that's is what I did in this case. The reality I came to is this, the trading platforms and charting software don't need anywhere near the power that these PC gaming systems need, but a lot of people seem to connect the two and say you need these high power trading computers to be successful. In a way I set out to prove them wrong, but in the end I just wanted something that I liked and felt comfortable using.
The first thing I ran in to was that a laptop video card is limited, so hooking more than 1 or 2 monitors to the laptop video card can overwork/overheat it which will eventually lead to premature failure. However, most laptops today have at least one USB 3.0 port, which can transfer up to 4800 Mbps or 4.8 Gbps. Contrary to popular belief, they work great for extra monitors. All you will need is a USB 3.0 to VGA or HDMI adapter. These work as "mini" graphics cards. The VGA works pretty good but if you have HD monitors the HDMI adapter allows you to take advantage of the HD capabilities. It is recommended that you hook only 2 monitors up per USB port, but I found that if you get a self powered USB 3.0 hub you can hook up to 6 monitors up to a single 3.0 port on your laptop without losing any data transfer speed to the monitors.
I experienced no lag or video issues with any of the trading platforms I use. My laptop does not get hot and it runs all day. I would't recommend this setup if you are trying to set up a PC gaming system. I didn't design it or research it for that.
Now lets look at my laptop specs. I have 2 Asus - 2-in-1 15.6" 4K UHD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M - 2TB HDD + 512GB SSD. I found that for live streaming and video recording that a SSD drive is needed.
Like I said earlier, I needed at least a 7 port, 3.0 USB hub. It needed to be self powered because I didn't want it to rob power from the computer. Then I needed 3.0 USB to VGA or HDMI monitors. I started using all VGA adapters because I started out with traditional flat VGA monitors. I did not have any problems when I used that setup but i figure if I have HD capability now why not use it. I use the j5 create brand but I believe this will be a personal preference. Because my charts works so well with these 2.0 VGA adapters initially that further proved to me that I didn't need a $2500 trading or gaming computer to be successful at trading.
I have 3, ASUS VS247H-P Black 23.6" 2ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitors that I use to chart the tickers I am watching, (6 max) and an ASUS VE278Q - 27" Widescreen Flat-Panel LED-LCD HD Monitor - Black on top that I run my scans from. Since I have started the chat community, I have added 2 Asus VE228H 21.5" Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitors. One is powered by the laptop from my main trading station and the other from my social media and chat designated station. I had to use the 21.5 monitors because of the oversized 27" monitor I am using on the top.
This is the monitor stand that I use
This is the two that I added to each arm to support the new monitors
My social media laptop and monitors are on a separate lap top roll cart that I modified to hold 2 extra monitors. The third monitor is part of my main trading station and I will use that for when I have the Morning Show or Sneak Peek Wednesday in the other room. The specs for this computer were given earlier and these are 3 more 21.5" widescreen monitors that I hook up using USB to VGA adapters. (2 monitors on my cart and the other one on my main trading station. Didn't see the need for the added expense of getting the HDMI adapters and cables. Nothing special about it. It has my secondary chatroom/classroom and other social media running all day. This is also my travel trading station now. When I go out of town all I have to do is unhook the laptop and monitors. A couple twists of a knob and the cart is in 2 pieces. The cables stay attached to the cart so it breaks down and assembles in less than 5 minutes. It works great. This is actually the setup I traded when I was out of town for a few days last month. I am very comfortable trading with this setup as well. It forces me to to focus more on tickers that offer the best setups. This is also the one I roll outside on the patio when the weather is nice. I just unhook from the monitor attached to the main station and I am outside enjoying this beautiful SC whether while it lasts!
Well this is my trading station at a glance. Hope it answered all of the questions. Another thing to note is that it took me many months to buy everything, and then I take a % of my profits to invest in the business for upgrades as they are needed. You never know when a computer or a monitor will take a crap and leave you hanging.