Updated: Mar 30
Best Performing Computer System For a Pro Trader Using NinjaTrader 8
High Impact Trader System
By Malcolm W, CO
After much research, testing and collaborating with NinjaTrader (our preferred trading platform and vendor partner of FNL), I have compiled the following system to best optimize your trading system. These are NOT required to trade effectively, but having peace of mind when trading can make all the difference in the world in our decision making.
Please note, this is a system that is built and typically not found “off the shelf.” The first 19 are tips to help your NinjaTrader run as smoothly and reliably as possible. The following segment will outline the system components I purchased, along with the cost. The cost may vary depending on where and when you purchase. The final segment comes from www.sharkindicators.com and is a great guide for Computer Selection and just overall great info! Enjoy and don’t hesitate to comment below with your thoughts!
2) Single threaded processor; fastest Intel CPU affordable
b. Top PERFORMERS in SINGLE THREAD PERFORMANCE are INTEL, 2021_0823
3) 2D video card; avoid 3D gaming video cards – NinjaTrader and most all trading platforms use 2D graphics.
4) RAM, RAM, RAM – more is better! 8gb RAM is minimum recommended
5) Fast hard drive; M.2 SSD is ideal
SOFTWARE USED AND OPTIMIZED FOR BEST AND MOST RELIABLE PERFORMANCE:
6) On your chart, In Data Series/Time Frame/Load Data Based On:
a. Bars instead of Days. You will need to calculate number of Bars that you want to look back. As a general setting use “1500” Bars.
7) Windows: Hit the Windows key (bring up the Start Menu),
a. Type “View Advanced System Settings”
b. Click on the “Settings” button under “Performance”
c. Select “Adjust for best performance”. Click OK.
d. NinjaTrader: Make sure you have the latest version of NinjaTrader installed. NinjaTrader is constantly making bug fixes and tweaks to the platform, so make sure you are running the latest and greatest. Click on this link NinjaTrader Direct Download to update. [Requires License Key] If you’re unsure of how to locate your License Key, in your NinjaTrader Control Panel, go to HELP and select
8) NinjaTrader: Remove any indicators that you are not using. The more indicators running on a chart, the more resources are required.
a. When using the FNL Diamond, do not load more than 250 days and do not load on a one-minute chart as it will populate so many diamonds, it may have trouble loading.
9) NinjaTrader: Reduce the number of charts you have open (max 6). If you have many charts that you rarely reference, either eliminate them or put them in a tab that is hidden and set to “Suspended While Inactive”. That way if it is not visible, then you’re not using resources keeping it updated.
10) NinjaTrader: Have only one Workspace open in NinjaTrader. The less you have open and running, the less memory and resources are required.
11) NinjaTrader: NinjaTrader keeps a cache of data on your HDD (Tick, Minutes, Daily, etc.). Even with all this data there, NinjaTrader will still go to your data feed’s servers to re-download data, which can be very time consuming.
a. Go to Tools, then Options, then Market Data, then Historical section, then UNCHECK “Get data from server.” It will start utilizing this data saved on your HDD. If you run into corrupted or missing data, simply right-click on your chart and select “Reload All Historical Data”.
12) NinjaTrader: Perform a “Reload All Historical Data” on each of your charts (right-click on chart). If you have any corrupted data, this can help eliminate it.
13) NinjaTrader: Make sure you don’t have an excessive amount of data loaded within a chart. If you open the “Data Series,” under the “Time Frame” section, there are two options: “Load data based on” and “Days to load”. The more data loaded into a chart, the more data NinjaTrader and your indicators have to process and keep in memory. Most of the time, you only need a few days of data. As a general setting for most all bar types, I like to set it to “Load data based on: BARS” and set the “Bars to load” to “1500”.
14) NinjaTrader: If you suspect your saved data is still giving you problems, you can Reset the Database. From the NinjaTrader Control Center, go to “Tools”, then “Database Management”, then “Reset DB” section, then click the “Reset” button. Right below it is the “Repair DB”, as another thing to try.
15) Windows: Minimize the number of programs that are running in the background. These could be taking away resources from your trading environment. In general, it’s good practice to uninstall all software that you are not using.
16) Windows: Make sure you have the latest drivers for your hardware to make sure it is running optimally. Personally, I’ve had good success with a piece of software called “Driver Booster” (free), but there are many alternatives out there to help update your hardware drivers.
17) Windows: Make sure Windows is not bogged down with poor settings. Another piece of software that I found useful is “Advanced System Care” (free), which is by the same company as “Driver Booster” above. This can help eliminate programs that are running at startup unnecessarily, as well as a long list of other Windows tweaks.
18) Windows: Run Windows Update and make sure you have the latest version of your OS components.
CUSTOM PC AND COMPONENTS
Monitor – For best results, recommended Resolution of 3840 X 2160
Get as big of a monitor as you can afford. The system built above, will handle 4 monitors easily.
Samsung - UJ59 Series U32J590UQN 32" LED 4K UHD FreeSync Monitor (DisplayPort, HDMI) - Dark Gray/Blue
High CPU Impact Indicators
Examples of high impact indicators include: Volume profile, volume footprint, other types of Bid/Ask volume analysis indicators, and Fibonacci/support-resistance confluence zone type indicators. The Bid/Ask volume types of indicators are performing calculations on each incoming tick, and confluence zone indicators are analyzing large numbers of data points. With the increasing volatility and trade volume in the markets, the impact will only increase.
High Impact Workspaces
Running several charts of the same instrument, to monitor higher time-frame trends can have a big impact, especially if the other time-frames are running volume profile-type indicators as well. Combine that with monitoring 8 or more instruments in your workspaces, including workspaces loaded in the background, all adds up to a high impact on the CPU. If you are only running low-impact indicators then you will probably not experience much impact running many instruments.
Desktop vs. Laptop
It is highly recommended to use a desktop for trading. Laptop CPUs are slower than their desktop CPU equivalent, due to their energy saving design. e.g. An Intel i7-8700B (laptop CPU) @ 3.2 GHz will perform slower than the desktop version Intel Core i7-8700 @ 3.2 GHz. The other issue with laptops is heat mitigation.
Laptops are not properly equipped to displace heat like a desktop is. During volatile trading days, indicators are performing significantly more calculations to keep up with the market’s price movements. This causes the CPU to generate a lot more heat. Laptops will slow down the CPU in order to reduce heat stress and protect the CPU from damage. And, of course, that CPU slowdown will impact NinjaTrader™’s performance.
High impact users should be using a desktop computer when trading live accounts.
The hardware components are listed in order of importance.
The best improvement of NT 8 is that each instrument in use will be assigned to run on one of the CPU threads, separately from the other instruments if there are enough CPU threads to do so.
e.g. An Intel I7 has 8 core & 16 threads (2 threads per core). If your workspace has 10 instruments running, each instrument will run on its own thread. This is an optimal situation, because it leaves 6 threads available for Windows™ and other programs. If the CPU has 4 threads (Intel I5) and your workspace has 6 instruments running, only 2 instrument will run on their own threads, but 4 instruments will have to share threads. Windows™ and other programs will share those threads as well. This is not optimal during those very volatile days.
Intel I3 and I5 chips typically have 1 thread per core. Intel I7 and I9 chips typically have 2 thread per core. Each generation of chips change the number of threads per core, so verify the number of threads carefully before you buy.
Keep in mind: The CPU you choose should have a few extra threads available for Windows™ and other programs to run on to minimize their impact in NT. Also, this information is generalized.
High Impact Users
These users should be using a Intel I7 or I9 CPU at +4 GHz speed or faster. The Intel I7 has 16 threads, and the I9 has 20 threads. If you think you may be an extreme impact user then consider the Intel Xeon Gold 6256 CPU running at 4.5 GHz with 24 threads.
Keep in mind: There should be a few threads unused by NinjaTrader™ for Windows™ and other programs.
Low Impact Users
These users should be using an Intel I5 or better CPU at +3 GHz speed or faster. The older Intel I5 has 6 threads. The 2020 10th generation has 12 threads, leaving plenty of processing threads for other programs.
NT 8 now utilizes GPU 2D graphics acceleration. High end expensive gaming graphics cards will not return any value for the cost, because NT does not use 3D graphics. It only uses simple 2D graphics, and therefore an entry level graphics card is all that is needed to help NT.
The two important specs for picking a video card are the number of monitors it supports, and the amount of onboard memory. Most video cards support two monitors these days. There are some specialty cards that support four or more monitors. A good guide for onboard video memory is 1 GB per monitor. e.g. If the video card supports two monitors it should have 2 GB of memory.
Examples of Low-Cost, Entry-Level Graphics Cards:
· NVIDIA GeForce 650 thru 690
· NVIDIA GeForce 750 thru 780
· AMD Radeon
o HD 6870
o HD 6970
o HD 7700-serie
o HD 7950
o R9 270X
o R7 370
The hard drive(HD) speed is only important when NT is initially loading saved historical market data from the HD into memory. This occurs when NT is starting up and when a Workspace is opening for the first time. The one exception to this is if you have data recording enabled in the Options menu. Extreme high volume days in combination with many instruments open can generate more data than a typical HDD can keep up with.
There are two types of HD’s, Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD). SSD’s range from being 50 to 250 times faster than HDD’s, but the cost is 2 to 3 times higher.
In conclusion, an SSD is nice to have, but the “bang for the dollar” is limited to the historical data loading phase. It is not really helpful after a chart is loaded and running on real-time data.
NinjaTrader™ typically uses approximately 4 GB of RAM or less. In extreme cases it may use up to 8 GB of RAM. For low impact users, 8 GB of RAM is plenty. 4 GB for NT and 4 GB for Windows™ and other programs. For high impact users, 16 GB of RAM is plenty. 8 GB for NT and 8 GB for Windows™ and
The motherboard typically has little importance to the average trader. However, there are two things that you may want to consider.
If you choose to use SSD hard drives then you may want to consider using a motherboard with a onboard RAID controller capable of RAID 1 and/or RAID 5 to insure system integrity if a drive fails. Use this link to watch a quick video on RAID technology.
The other consideration is the accuracy of the motherboard’s clock. The motherboard clock is how the Windows™ OS knows what the date a time is. NT uses time stamps from Windows™ to display information that is time based. If time accuracy to fractions of a second are important in your trading style then this is something to consider. Information on the accuracy of the motherboard’s time clock is difficult to get.
No actual hardware testing has been performed by SharkIndicators. This information is based on our 15+ years of NT knowledge and experience, combined with our multiple decades of computer hardware knowledge. All the information on this page is over generalized.