OK, I don’t think anyone on the planet needs a 24 monitor setup like the one above, but it makes a lot of sense to trade with more than one monitor. I trade with the 4 monitor setup pictured below and I would never go back. It’s not cheap, but it was a simple decision to me once I thought about it. (See the end of the post for links to the specific components I bought).
First off, there are a lot of benefits to having multiple monitors. Some are pretty obvious but others I didn’t realize until I used my setup for a while.
1. Much more viewable area to have more windows open
Flipping through open windows is extremely time consuming and inefficient. You don’t realize just how much time you spend flipping through windows until you don’t have to. Let’s say you look at charts in multiple timeframes – the daily, hourly, and 5 minute charts. If there’s not room on your screen to have all three visible at the same time you’re going to spend a lot of time and energy changing between windows to take in the information on each chart. Since the data is changing constantly, you’ll be doing this routine several times just in the course of a few minutes. If you have enough desktop space to have all the charts visible on your screen at once you’ll be at a huge advantage.
2. You’ll miss fewer trades
If you’re not spending time flipping windows, you’ll have more time and more desktop area to find more setups, so you’ll miss fewer trades. Of course, if you have a tendency to over trade you’ll need to be very careful and keep that in check.
3. You’ll be far more productive doing your non-trading tasks
I really underestimated the affect multiple monitors would have on my non-trading tasks. It’s huge! Imagine doing some programming or intense writing and then having to refer to some documentation in a browser window. With one monitor, there’s really just not enough room to position both windows quickly and efficiently on one screen. With multiple monitors there’s plenty of room to place the windows side by side so they’re both visible. I can’t emphasize enough how much more efficient this is.
Making a “Business Case” to Your Wallet (or Spouse!)
Multiple monitors are not cheap. A reliable, supported video card that supports 4 monitors is at least $500, plus at least $180 or so per monitor and you’re closing in on $1400-$1500, which is more than even the computer itself in many cases. Plus you’ll need a mounting setup.
Does it make sense for you to spend that much for a multi-monitor setup for trading? It depends on your trading and how well you know your trading system and daily routine.
The questions I asked myself were:
- Do I believe that I’d be able to find enough additional trades using the new monitors to recoup the cost?
- Do you find yourself missing out on setups that have made your watchlist but you miss them because they’re hidden behind another window or minimized?
- How regularly do you miss trades like this?
- How many of these trades would it take to recover the cost of the monitors?
As you can see, the answers to some of these questions depend a lot on the frequency that you’re trading, the level of profit you make from your trades, how much size you use on your trades, and the nature of your trading system.
For me, it was a pretty easy decision. I knew my system well enough to realize that I was missing trades on a somewhat regular basis and it would just take a couple of good winning trades to cover the cost. Looking back on my results I figured the investment would easily pay for itself within a month. While at first the upgrade seemed a little decadent considering my normally cheap, bare-bones personality, when I thought about it in these terms I realized that there was really no argument at all and I pulled the trigger.
I bought these several months ago, but here are some equivalent components that I would get if I was making the purchase today – note that, of course, by the time you’re reading this these prices have probably changed:
- 4 X BenQ FP202W V3 20-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor (Black)
- Matrox M9140 – Graphics adapter – M9140 – PCI Express x16 low profile – 512 MB DDR2 – DVI
- DS100 Quad-monitor Desk Stand
Any suggestions on the setup? Would you make any changes?