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Laptops for engineering students and graduates should be fast, efficient, and versatile!
As if going into an engineering school is already not difficult enough, you have to hold up with the burning load of technological and creative requirements every day. I only had a desktop when I first joined the college to study mechanical engineering. I thought it would be enough — but, boy oh boy, it was not. I had to stay up late in college to finish the reports, do the drawings, then submit them the same day. I had to go through the phase of picking a computer that was portable, met all my requirements and also gave me some sense of entertainment. With my friends to guide me and a little help from Google, I managed to pick some good ones.
These days, so many laptops are overrated that it’s easy to make mistakes on this expensive investment. Computers and gadgets are expensive. For engineering students, they’re even more expensive. In this article, you’ll get:
If I had purchased my laptop based strictly on price and not focused on any other features, I would have made a huge mistake in purchasing a gadget that was going to be with me for at least four years. Below, the article should help you avoid that kind of fate. Good luck!
If you would rather jump straight to my top five laptop choices.
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Below, learn about all the crucial details to consider when purchasing your laptop. There are some requirements specific to those in the engineering field that other students or laptop users may not need as much. This section will cover:
Your CPU is crucial if you’re an engineering student. Whenever we run AutoCAD, it has to pile up its huge database and present us with a virtual workspace for our work. So, if your CPU speed is not adequate, you will have to wait for a long time for the software to just boot. Talk about the time for crafting your work alone. Sounds familiar? Don’t let that happen in your new laptop and make sure that you have a fast enough CPU.
Some programs that are CPU exhaustive:
You’ll need adequate memory and storage for everything, including CAD software like AutoCAD, Catia, ANSYS, Solidworks, and your designs drawn on it — then saving those designs, a place for saving 500 of your favorite songs, all your games, and everything else. You need storage for it all. Also, before you ask, yes we are talking Olympic-sized! Try to go to 500GB or more for the best value.
Just how much RAM is required? You’ll need enough to make sure that your laptop can actually store and run what the fast processor is trying to run. A large RAM is to go in sync with the fast processor speed. The most-recommended capacity is 8 GB, although 12 GB and 16 GB are also preferred. However, it is better to have a good graphics adapter than a huge amount of RAM.
You’ll need Wi-Fi at the very least (there is no world without the Internet), and it would be best if there is a Bluetooth function as well. This will make sharing your design works easier and also save time and money for flash drives.
On the Ethernet, my rig has a Gigabit LAN, and I must add that my experience has been exhilarating but this is not necessary, just a nice perk. Just about any Ethernet port should work fine. A wireless LAN 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0 yields a decent connectivity, and you should find it with ease with almost any recently launched workstation.
Optical drives are a good addition, but these days they just tend to act more or less as a fashion accessory to flaunt rather than any real use. So, if you see a decent purchase meeting all your needs but notice that it lacks an optical drive, then you should definitely consider it. Losing the drive also makes your laptop lighter and more portable.
The display size is actually not a major requirement when it comes to laptops for engineering students. A 14 or 15-inch laptop is perfectly adequate — these sizes are good to go for designs and drawing-related works. However, that doesn’t mean that a larger screen size is a bad thing. Just keep in mind your portability needs. A 17.3-inch screen is also not as portable as a 15-inch, but it might have more options and a bigger area for displaying your works.
While display sizes are not as crucial, the screen resolution is important. A higher screen resolution will allow more area for multiple windows. 1920×1080 pixels is the most recommended because it is the 1080p true HD quality. Laptops, videos, and movies these days are coming in 3k, 4k quality. So, 2k is the bare minimum.
Work environments like CAD, MATLAB, and Solid Works are used for 3D environment applications and video-rendering. These applications and other similar ones require a dedicated video card, because the in-built adapters are unable to meet the video processing needs. Going with a 2GB DDR3 Graphics card will be enough for almost all environments. However, if you consider high-end gaming a priority, then I would look into a DDR5 graphics card like the NVidia GTX series.
Finally the operating system, or OS. Now, it comes down to whether you have a Mac or a Windows laptop. Of course, Mac devices are stunningly well-crafted, and their build quality is superb along with their displays. However, when it comes to the workstation for your actual work, all the environments are mostly only native to Windows.
You can still use a Mac, but using parallels can be taxing and sometimes downright bothersome. You’ll need to put the extra effort in finding your way around one, for starters. Even high-end games run better in the Windows. So, these are all things to keep in mind if you’re looking for a laptop for mainstream engineering purposes. I would suggest going for a Windows laptop for all its advantages, alongside the lower price tag.
Look for laptops with above specs, or see my personal choices below. If you decide to purchase a computer, the above specs will be enough to make an informed decision.
Thanks to my college experience, I have had my fair share of laptops and I would recommend these if you are hard pressed on deciding. Below, I have put together a list of my top choices for engineering laptops.
Best Recommended Specification: 12GB RAM and 1TB of HDD
Introduction: Dell XPS 15 is an 8949sLV model high-performance, gaming, and multimedia laptop. It is the latest in terms of display quality and display guarantee. It is hard to let a 3840 X 2160 pixel density, true 4k HD monitor go when it comes in a light body measuring just around 4 lbs at its heaviest.
Here are a couple more solid recommendations that are known to be reliable and specs-compliant for those in the engineering field.