In a recent TradeStation hosted webinar, the question was raised (paraphrased) “How much RAM does a computer need to run TradeStation well?”

I prefer to let TradeStation answer such questions, but the easy answer is that more is better.

Of course it is true the TradeStation platform is 32-bit software. And a 32-bit process is generally limited to referencing 2 GB. Referencing up to 4 GB is possible. But that does not mean that you should get a machine with no more than 4 GB of RAM.

TradeStation is composed of multiple applications, and numerous processes run whenever you open the TradeStation platform. Simply open TradeStation then open Windows Task Manager and view the Processes tab for Image Names starting with “TS” and “or”, among others belonging to TradeStation.

For instance open a chart in TradeStation. You should see “orchart” in the Windows Task Manager Processes tab. And if you have not already enabled multi-core processing for charting, do the following:
1) Click on a chart
2) View -> Chart Analysis Preferences…
3) Click on the General tab
4) Check the box for “Enable use of multiple CPU cores”
5) Then close and reopen the TradeStation platform

Now open several charts. If you have more than a single core machine, you should see multiple “orchart” processes in Windows Task Manager Processes tab.

As an example of how more than 4 GB can be useful with TradeStation, on a 4-core machine, I open several charts. There are 4 processes visible in Task Manager. Loading the charts, I can get each process to reach and even exceed 2 GB of memory usage, for a total of more than 8 GB… Point being that more than 4 GB can definitely be used by the TradeStation platform.

Note, I don’t recommend loading charts in TradeStation to the extent that any charting process exceeds 1 GB of memory usage. If that level of memory usage occurs, I recommend restarting TradeStation (and avoid saving workspaces). The reasons for this go beyond simply how much memory can be addresses; long story short, memory usage of charting processes can grow over time. Closing TradeStation, or at least closing all workspaces with charts, then reopening is a good way to reduce memory usage of chart processes.