If you trade with Thinkorswim, you’ll want to make sure you’ve adjusted your settings for optimal performance. In this video, Steve with FloatChecker will go through several important settings related to quote speed, order submission rate and RAM allocation. The changes are easy to make and will be especially helpful to active traders.
Based on our research, one of the most confusing issues about running Thinkorswim is the RAM or amount of memory you assign to the application. Numerous posts on the web make fixed suggestions for the “best” settings depending on the amount of RAM shipped with your computer. But how do you better determine how much RAM to allocate to Thinkorswim? To answer that question, you need to understand a bit about what RAM is and how it works.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, but you can think of it as your computer’s short-term memory. It’s the superfast, high speed storage that your computer uses to run applications and store data temporarily. When you start up your computer and open your email, play YouTube on a browser, and listen to music, all those programs are using RAM. When you close one of those programs, you free up that RAM for use by other programs or applications. This is different than long term storage on your hard drive, such as when you save a Word document for future use.
It’s simple to see how much memory each application is using at any given time. On Windows you can open Task Manager, and on a Mac you can open Activity Monitor. Checking Task Manager will show you the total amount of RAM used as well as the amount used by each program. Now, the amount of memory you want to allocate to Thinkorswim will depend on the amount of RAM your computer has and how many different programs or applications you like to run at the same time. This is why the fixed suggestions you see online don’t necessarily apply. The above video goes through how you can monitor your RAM to achieve the optimal settings.
A final point to note is that TD Ameritrade recommends a computer with 4GB of RAM for an average user and 16 GB of RAM for an active user. An active user is considered an investor that uses multiple charts at once or relies on custom scripts for complex technical analysis. Fortunately, most computers and laptops now come with at least 4GB or 8GB of RAM. Increasingly you can find laptop deals with 16GB of RAM for about $1,000. So if you have a modern laptop it’s unlikely you’ll have insufficient RAM to run Thinkorswim.