If you decide to trade seriously and for a long time, then sooner or later you will have a question: how many monitors are needed and how to organize your workplace correctly.
In the photo above, you see the desktop of Linda Raschke, the author of the popular book “Street Smarts — High Probability Short Term Trading Strategies”. In this article I want to share with you my experience of working space organization for trading in the Forex market.
I started trading with one laptop. But at some point I was tired of constantly switching between windows, charts and timeframes. Behind this bustle the trade thread began to get lost. And I decided to build a rack with monitors for trading.
So, how many monitors are needed? It directly depends on your trading system and your trading style. How many currency pairs you trade, how many crosses, whether you trade stocks or other financial instruments, how many timeframes you use, how many indicators and information sources you need.
Think and write on paper what information you would like to see simultaneously on monitors. I identified six monitors for myself. This is despite the fact that I still use two laptops, one of which is not used for trading.
In the photo above – Adam Button from ForexLive and its workplace.
Next you need to decide – floor or table mount monitors suits you. I had an unequivocal requirement – only a floor mount, so that the table was as free as possible. Moreover, the bottom row of monitors did not have to overlap the screens of laptops, so that they could work comfortably, watch webinars, listen to the music or follow the press conference of Mario Draghi.
To connect the required number of monitors, we need: the actual computer (system unit), a monitor stand, monitors, brackets and video cables. Let’s understand in order.
The most important moment in the system unit for our case is the video card. It should have as many video outputs as monitors you want to connect. You can assemble a new unit or upgrade an existing one if it is not very old. For 4K monitors, you need to have HDMI or Display Port (DP) outputs. All modern video cards are equipped with these outputs, the question is their number. You can replace your video card or add another one. But in this case, your motherboard should have an additional slot for another video card. I had it, and so I bought two video cards to my system unit and eventually got the opportunity to connect 6 monitors, of which 2 via HDMI and 4 via Display Port. These video cards are:
Rack for monitors.
There are not so many specialized offers on racks and fasteners for monitors especially for trading on the Internet. This is a highly specialized topic. And I did not find any proposals that satisfied me. So I decided to do the stand by myself.
For this, I took 4 pieces of metal profile 40×20 mm. at 1.60 m. This profile is used on transverse strips for fences and is sold at any scrap metal warehouse or in specialized stores like Leroy Merlin. Two more pieces of 0.60 m. for the legs and one piece 1.30 m. for the transverse bar. Having fastened all this with 6 bolts and having painted it, I received a rather stable construction. I just folded the side bars with the help of the stop to give the desired angle to the side monitors.
If you decide to do the rack yourself, consider the future location of the rack. In the case of installation of the rack close to the wall, it is necessary to make the corresponding supporting legs. If you press this desk with a table against the wall, it will have a very stable position. In my case, the stand stands alone only by touching the table and this is sufficient for its stability. As a result, the cost of the rack came out to me in the cost of the metal for it (I had paint).
To display the graphs do not require any high requirements for monitors, so I opted for one of the cheapest and most affordable 4K monitors – the BENQ EL2870U with a diagonal of 28 inches. I strongly recommend using 4K monitors. This makes it possible to place on a single monitor the maximum amount of information and in the best quality. Compared to Full HD monitors, 4K allows you to fit about 1.5 times more candles in one chart at a better quality.
Be sure to determine the model of monitors before mounting the rack. Each monitor model has a different size. Pre-measure the relative position of your monitors on the rack before final assembly. Your monitor should have a standard bracket mount at the back. Be sure to, because not all cheap monitors have them.
Arms for monitors a huge variety on the market. The choice depends on the type of attachment and how far you need to move the monitor from the attachment point. I chose the simplest and cheapest, on which the monitor’s indent from the rack is minimal. This gives stability to the whole structure.
Here’s how with these brackets monitors are attached to the rack:
Everything is simple here. To conveniently place the system unit and connect all the monitors you will need long cables. Standard cables with a length of 1.5 meters will not be enough for you. The type of cables will be determined by the video outputs of your video card. I have it respectively 2 HDMI and 4 Display Port. Cable length of 3 meters is quite enough to conveniently place the system unit under the desktop. Please note that cables must support 4K monitors. For Display Port this is version 1.2. or higher. Take high-quality cables and will not have problems with the image.
Well, do not forget about the required number of extension cords and sockets. It is advisable to use sockets with a voltage regulator, so that your monitors are not burned by power surges in the network.
View from the back:
I distributed my six monitors as follows: one monitor is purely informational, it displays the economic calendar, the ForexLive informational tape, and the chart for 10-year US bonds yield. The second monitor displays charts that determine the current market environment and the risk on – risk off sentiments – the US dollar index (USDX), S&P 500 index, oil, Chinese yuan and gold (XAUUSD). On three monitors there are 18 graphs of the main currency pairs and crosses on the H4 timeframe. And on one monitor I placed 9 graphs of the main currency pairs on a lower timeframe. This monitor (central below) is the main worker and is used to open trades and monitor its.
I recommend using graphics on a black background, since the white background of six monitors has a noticeable effect on the eyes and fatigue occurs much faster.
With such a system of location of monitors information is perceived very easily. Graphs and informational tape is read even leaning back on the chair. However, a couple of days are needed to get used to this amount of information and its relative position on monitors. It is quite possible that you will have to reconfigure the arrangement of graphs and information on monitors several times specifically for the requirements of your trading system.
Keep in mind that climbing a mouse on six monitors is also not a very pleasant activity, so try to arrange the location of information on them so that you can make as few changes as possible.
For convenient location of information on the monitors, you can open the required number of copies of your terminal even if you have one trading account. I don’t know how with other terminals, but MetaTrader 4 allows you to do this very simply, it is enough to install each terminal in a separate folder when it is installed. Accordingly, each terminal is displayed on one monitor and this allows you to display all the necessary information on this monitor.
You can build up this system gradually. One video card and 2-3 monitors will already significantly increase the amount of perceived information. As you understand what you need, you can purchase a video card and the required number of monitors.
What do you get in the end? Comfort, convenience and freedom. You do not need to jump on timeframes or windows. You see it just by looking. Leaning back in a chair and running your eyes over the monitors makes it easier for you to concentrate on the information you need. You can display any graph on a separate monitor without losing the amount of information analyzed. After all, trading is primarily visualization. We perceive information through our eyes and bring it to the brain. The better the picture, the more time and resources you spend on its analysis and decision-making, and not on its search. And you need it or not – decide by yourself.
If you have any questions or need additional information – feel free to write in the comments or email. I will try to help you.