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Laptop (Notebook) Computer Specs

If you want to trade with a laptop (notebook) computer, here's what I recommend:

The ideal laptop (notebook) computer would be an Intel i5 or i7 with a 1920 X 1200 (WUXGA) native resolution monitor, 8 GB of RAM, 64 bit Windows 7, and a fast Intel i7 processor. Some have AMD processors and they work fine too.

The problem is that 17" laptop monitors have almost disappeared. And 1920 X 1200 laptop monitors (WUXGA) have almost disappeared too.

The second choice which is now our primary choice on the built-in monitor would be 1920 X 1080 which has 120 pixels less height than 1920 X 1200. It's popular because it's High Definition TV's resolution.

Don't expect to find a laptop in a store with that high of a native resolution. You can get one from my local dealer: www.daytradingcourse.com/computer.

Screen resolution is usually given in cryptic letters. Here's a conversion chart: resolution. Note that WUXGA is 1920 X 1200, my preferred but no longer made resolution on a 17" laptop. Personally I wouldn't recommend any lower resolution, however they're impossible to find. 1920 X 1080 seems to be the highest resolution available on a laptop. It's called High Definition because it's the resolution of HD TV. The real reason laptop manufacturers went from 1920 X 1200 to 1920 X 1080 is because they save the manufacturing cost of the extra 1920 X 120 pixels and they can claim it's HD TV resolution.

For processor speed, check the speed range available for the laptop you're considering, and order an Intel i5 or i7 processor that's in the high end of the range. Generally speaking, avoid processors at the slower end of the list. Again, you typically can't find a good enough computer at a store simply because high end laptops are not mainstream. Cheap computers are mainstream.

Hard disk size is irrelevant for trading, as all laptop computers come with a hard disk that's much larger than necessary. However if you want to speed up your laptop, get a solid state drive (called SSD). They're more expensive and have less capacity than a rotating hard disk, but are much faster on reads and writes than a conventional hard disk with spinning platters. Typical size would be around 250 GB.

Ideally, we trade with two monitors. The left monitor is dedicated to charts only and the right monitor is for order entry and everything else. To have two monitors on a laptop, you will need one external monitor jack (see next paragraph for details on this and the recommended monitors). Using a laptop with the external monitor gives you the option of having a two monitor setup when you're in your trading room, and the flexibility to trade on the laptop with one monitor when you're travelling.

If you want to use your laptop (notebook) with an external monitor, it's best to get a high end laptop that has a DVI or HDMI or DisplayPort or Mini-Display Port video jack instead of or in addition to the usual analog video jack (usually blue with three rows of 5 pins). This will enable you to connect to a higher end external flat panel monitor via a digital cable and get a higher quality picture. Of course, be sure to confirm that any external monitor you buy has the appropriate input jack to match up with your laptop's external monitor jack. Or get the appropriate conversion cable. Again, call me if you have any questions about this and again, don't expect to find an appropriate laptop computer in a typical computer retail store.

If you're not going to travel with your trading computer, then a desktop computer with a pair of 24" 1920 X 1200 (WUXGA) flat panel monitors would be much better and much easier on the eyes than a laptop. You can click on Computers at the top of this web page to see the desktop computer and monitors I recommend. The laptop I recommend is also there.

An alternative to a laptop if you need to routinely use a computer in two different fixed locations (such as your office and your home) is to buy two desktop computers with all your software installed on both. Then just carry your data back and forth on a USB flash ram stick (if necessary) (sometimes called a thumb drive) which fits in your pocket. This is a lot easier than lugging a laptop computer back and forth.

If you have any questions, please call Paul Quillen at 770-382-9656 before making any decisions.

Paul Quillen, Founder, Head Trader and Instructor
Etowah Valley Inc.
dba DayTradingCourse.com
35 Alex Drive NW
Cartersville, GA 30121
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