Frequently Asked Question
What are the best laptops for engineering students or engineers ?
Whether you are into electrical , mechanical , computer , civil , software , chemical , aeronautical or even an aerospace engineering , you don't really have to spend too much on a laptop for your engineering software.
If you are an electrical or a computer engineer, you’ll most likely be running programming languages such as C/C++ and circuit simulators (like SPICE). Laptops around $500 or less will be enough.
If you are a mechanical/civil engineer you’ll have to use CAD and CAE software at some point in which case you MIGHT need a laptop with a dedicated GPU (~700$).
Why did I emphasize MIGHT?
Only a few classes would require these hardcore 3D engineering software and projects and if you are a 2D engineer, you will probably NEVER have to worry for such things. Also, you always have the option to use engineering labs and the high performance desktops in 24/7 Study Area for your assignments.
What kind of laptops do you recommend then?
It is suggested to get a MODERN portable, lightweight laptop with a long battery life.
You do not actually need a 7lb +1500$ workstation laptop to get through engineering school.
Unless you are a working engineer(and one who uses CAD or CAE software), you will be okay with a mid-range laptop with a dedicated GPU.
Recommended Hardware for Engineering Students & Engineers:
For laptop buying purposes let’s divide engineers into 3D and 2D engineers.
If you are a 3D engineer(civil, mechanical, aeronautical) you may have to pay attention to graphics cards and processors.
If you are a 2D engineering (electrical , computer, chemical, software, industrial, etc.) you settle for pretty much any modern laptop that can run the full version of Windows 10/11.
2D engineer: Any CPU released within the past five years. Programming languages and 2D CAD design software do not require a powerful CPU.
Ex: Any equal or higher than Intel Core i3 from the 8th-11th gen or AMD Ryzen 3 chip from the 3rd-5th.
3D engineer: It is strongly recommended to get one of the latest Core i5/Ryzen 5 CPUs* from the 8th-11th (regardless of their label U or H).
2D engineer: You don’t need to worry about GPUs, the CPU will do all the work.
3D engineer: If you’re a student with no access to computer labs. Then any dedicated GPU with at least 2GB vRAM will do. Ex: MX450,1050GTX,1050Ti or 1650GTX.
If you’re a working engineer, you want a dedicated GPU with at least 6GB vRAM.
Only professional engineers should consider workstation cards (even then it might only be useful in every special situations).
8GB: for all engineers. You’ll be able to run ANY engineering design program with other programs running in the background just fine.
16GB: This is really only useful for 3D professional engineers working with CAD software.
SSD vs HDD: An SSD will help in all of these three instances. SSDs will make everything load up in seconds which includes booting up your machine in less than 10 seconds, makes battery last longer and they also make computers thinner/lighter.
Size: If you are still taking classes remotely, then you want at least a 15” laptop, preferably a 17” laptop. Basically as big as possible so you can have enough screen space for video playback, pdf files, programs all open next to each other.
If you’re commuting to college, you want something portable. You’re going to have to really dig down to find a Light 13”-15” laptop. You don’t want a 11” laptop unless you’ve got a good set of eye balls or you have something bigger at home.
Resolution: Higher resolution displays can scale down the size of objects so that they can be easily be distinguished without giving eye strains. So the bigger the resolution, the more stuff you can fit into a display. 1080p are okay. Do NOT get HD, HD+ display, you’ll feel like you’re running Windows 98.