The Best Computer Equipment for Day Trading E-Mini Futures

I sometimes get questions about the computer equipment I recommend for day trading e-mini futures. They come from my regular clients and some prospective ones. I recently got a question along these lines, which concerned a laptop and a trading platform. I thought I might as well address this issue here, if only so that many others having similar questions could benefit from it. In a nutshell, it’s the hardware and software issue for day trading e-mini futures. I will try to address it in a most basic manner with the beginners in mind.

First, I don’t recommend a laptop for day trading e-mini futures. It would help if you had a bigger screen than the laptops, even the biggest ones, can offer. These days you can easily get an inexpensive 20-inch monitor, something that most laptops will not be able to beat any time soon. And 20 inches is a relatively small size for a desktop monitor. You may also hook up more than one monitor to your machine. Many traders opt for such a solution.

When I was starting as a day trader, I was using three monitors; the biggest was a 21-inch beast, too heavy even to get rid of it now, so it’s just lying around in my place along with some other monitors and old computers, only some of which remain functional. I don’t need more than one monitor, but I may spring for two when upgrading my desktop shortly.



Regarding desktops, you want a computer with the following parameters that are not that hard to meet as of late 2015, and many relatively inexpensive machines meet them rather easily.

Here are these parameters.

Processor (CPU): at least 3.5 GHz,
RAM: at least 8 GB,
Hard Drive: at least 1 TB.

When it comes to the operating system, I think Windows 7 is better, more stable, and less radical than Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Still, too many Windows 8 computers may be as fine as those running Windows 7. If you feel comfortable with Windows 8, there is probably no need to go for one of the Windows 7 desktops that are less available.

However, Windows 10 computers are slowly entering the market these days, so you may choose one if you are a bit more tech-savvy. If not, you may want to wait until 2016, when all the major imperfections are ironed out, or until Service Pack 1 (the first major upgrade) is released, which I would expect in 2016 as well. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and many other lesser-known computer makers routinely offer desktops with the parameters above. You can purchase them locally or from or a similar online outlet.

Let’s talk about the trading software now: the charting and trading platforms. You usually best subscribe to the trading platform every month, and it depends on what broker you choose. Most e-mini brokers offer more than one trading platform, though some platforms may be limited to only one broker, for instance, as with Bracket Trader. You often also need to subscribe to charting software, which may differ from your trading platform. Amibroker, which is only a charting software, is an exception because it is not subscription-based. There are others too, which are usually much more expensive if you purchase a lifetime license, though they typically offer monthly or quarterly subscriptions. MultiCharts or NinjaTrader are good examples in this regard.

I trade through Interactive Brokers. They offer good commissions, but their margins are not among the lowest ones, and you need to deposit $10,000 to open an account with them so that you may choose another broker. Look at the sites and to see what brokers support these platforms. Both are trading and charting platforms, and I suggest you choose one. I use Sierra Chart for my charting and Bracket Trader for my trading. Bracket Trader works only with Interactive Brokers, but it’s just $100 (one-time payment for life) compared to $60 monthly for NinjaTrader. If you choose Interactive Brokers, I recommend these two software packages as the most cost-effective combination.

Interested in launching a lucrative career as a day trader? This author believes that KING, an e-mini futures trading course,, can put you on a fast track to success in this field. Waldemar Puszkarz, Ph.D., is a web veteran with over 20 years of surfing. By training, he is a theoretical physicist with broad interests in science and mathematics and financial markets, sports betting, poker, and researching online business opportunities.

For over a decade, he has traded various financial instruments: stocks, options, futures, and Forex, his tool of choice being e-mini futures. He owns and is the webmaster of ( ), which offers free common sense education for traders, simple systems and methods for e-mini futures and stock markets, and a winning e-mini day trading course, KING.