What do I need to get started with Day Trading?
Not only will you require a solid approach or technique to day trading, but the day trading computer equipment needs will be just as important when setting yourself up to day trade.
I use two PCs, a desktop and a notebook. The desktop has a 3.2 GHz AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Processor. It has 1.5 GB of RAM, a 200 GB hard drive, blah, blah, blah... The video card is one of the more important parts -- I installed a Evga Gforce8500 which can run up to 2 monitors. I have 2 19 inch LCD monitors connected to that card.
The notebook is a 1.6 GHz Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM. It has a 16.1" UXGA screen and another 17 inch LCD monitor is connected to the notebook. The notebook is WiFi enabled so I can move around the house (usually only for lunch) and still monitor my open positions.
You can also visit websites such as digital tigers, even if you do not buy from them, you can get an idea for what you need. For those of you who are not computer savvy, this is a great site for a fully functional setup. It will cost a bit more but it will give you a peace of mind.
One final note on monitors, make sure you get monitors with a good resolution and keep the brightness low so that your eyes do not strain. Set your monitors up correctly in the beginning and you will literally avoid the headaches of looking at the screen all day.
I use a DSL which provides more than enough speed. It's usually stable & reliable but every once & a while -- usually at the worst possible time -- it decides to have connection issues. (Usually due to QWEST doing something to the lines in my neighborhood.) When that happens I'm able to use my Verizon BLACBERRY as a backup modem.
Day trading obviously will require a real time data feed. You will need to purchase a real-time subscription from your broker. There will be a fee for most of the exchanges that you require real time data from. Also, there will be an additional fee to view the Level 2 information. Real-time news feeds will be a bit more expensive than the stock price data that you are paying for. It may run around $100 a month for a RT news feed.
eSignal is my primary window into the markets. I run it on the desktop computer and usually have 12 charts up -- 4 per monitor .In the pre-market I'll go through all the gappers and pull up the best looking ones in eSignal. During the day I'll swap out the charts that appear to have less potential for better looking ones that may pop up on one of my scans. I always try to keep the best looking charts on display in eSignal.
In addition to viewing charts I also monitor certain events in eSignal via alerts. One nice feature is alerts that automatically reset. I take advantage of those to track stocks that are hitting intraday highs and lows. The alerts reset and will re-trigger upon a 1% extension of a move to new highs or lows. Besides popping up an alert window it plays a specific sound for new highs and a different sound for new lows. (As you'll see I use a lot of different sounds to help me keep track of things.) Those alerts only fire for stocks that I've entered into eSignal during that session. (They don't scan the universe of stocks.)
I also track the Tick Index ($TICK) via alerts. I have eSignal play sound whenever TICK reaches +800 or -800.