Think of the processor as the brain of the PC. Also known as the CPU, the processor is the most critical component to a lightening fast trading computer. It you want to kill the competition, don’t skimp here.
AMD vs Intel
A few years ago, the two titans of the microprocessor world, AMD and Intel, were neck and neck in terms of technology. These days, Intel consistently outperforms AMD in nearly every metric and all but dominates the high end. The efficiency of Intel’s processors even allows Intel-based PCs to beat AMD processors of the same clock speed. For us, it’s Intel all the way and what we highly recommend when configuring a high performance trading computer.
Number of Cores
Each individual processor core acts as it’s own processing unit, compartmentalizing calculations for multithreaded applications to make your PC run faster overall. Most consumer grade Intel processors these days are either quad or dual core, with 6-core and 8-core models available for serious enthusiasts. For trading, we typically recommend quad core processors.
i7 vs i5 vs. i3
You may have seen this naming convention with Intel’s processors. i7 is the most powerful (and most expensive), offering the fastest clock speeds and a feature called Hyperthreading which creates virtual processing cores to allow quad core processors to run like an 8-core would. i5 is the next step down, often just as fast as i7 per core, but without that Hyperthreading feature. For the purposes of building a trading computer, either will do, although i7 is definitely prefered. i3 processors are slower, and usually dual core only. They should be avoided for our purposes.
What Intel’s model numbers mean
Following the i3/i5/i7, Intel processors are defined by a 4 digit model number. The first digit is the architecture generation, with 7 being the latest (often referred to as Kaby Lake). Our Trader Pro model features only these seventh gen Intel processors, denoted as Intel Core i5-7600k and Intel Core i7-7700k. They’re what we recommend.