We live in an era that is governed by technology. To say the least, it has changed our perception of doing essentially, everything and has made our lives a lot easier. In this fast paced world, time is of the essence and everyone wants to get the job done ASAP. Engineering is one such field where you need to toil hard to get your required output. While the increase in the number of software has made it convenient for programmers, most of these programs require an adequate workstation to suffice their proper functioning at the same. Being an engineering student myself, I know quite well how choosing the right laptop for engineering students can be a hassle as we all want the best bang for our bucks.
Photo from Pixabay
Firstly, you got to remember that a laptop is an investment, as the workstation will be a part of your life for the next 3-4 years. So, it becomes important to invest in the right places depending on your stream and it’s always better to find it prior to your purchase. At the same time, there is absolutely no need for you to go with the laptop with the most high-end specification sheet to please someone or yourself—a decently powered workstation like we are going to discuss in detail, further, will suffice your needs and definitely will not leave a massive dent in your pocket.
Recommended Computers for Engineering Students 2016
1. Toshiba S55
Toshiba S55 (Core i7, -6500U Processor, 12GB)
I want to bring your attention to the laptop series I trust. The new Toshiba Satellite S55 is a newer and advanced series in all its Satellite series laptops for educational and technical purposes.
This above S55-5364 model has a slightly larger RAM for a 15.6-inch LCD screen. It has a total 12GB RAM while the others usually have 8GB. Greater RAM size implies that the laptop can handle extra memory and can render graphics more easily without any lag or interruptions. The RAM is also beneficial if you are into heavy-duty games.
Processor: 6th Generation Intel i7
RAM: 12 GB
Hard drive: 1TB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX950M with 4GB memory
Runs full genuine Windows 10
15.6-inches pure HD display (1920 X 1080)
3 USB 3.0 ports
Weighs only 4.8 lbs even with the in-house DVD player
Harmon-Kadron supersound speakers
Desktop-grade graphics card with NVIDIA Optimus Technology
At least 4 hours battery on full heavy gaming, more on casual work
Works with all dual-band Wifi
2. Hewlett-Packard (HP)
HP Envy 15T laptop with 8GB RAM and 5th-Gen i7
The HP Envy 15T is one of the fewest laptop gaming notebooks to have the fifth generation Intel i7 processor with quad-core. It is extremely versatile and portable with 3 Supersonic USB 3.0 ports and Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The speaker comes with Beats Audio and gives you the output of a true stereo speaker.
6.25 hour battery life
dual band WiFi
Fully Touchscreen 64-bit Windows 8 (upgrade-able to Windows 10 for free)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
A massive 2TB of hard drive
3. Asus K501UX with SSD Drive and Giga-bit Wifi
NVIDIA GTX950M Dedicated Graphics card with 2GB dedicated memory.
The 15.6-inch monitor of Asus ROG GL552 is a HUGE plus for your engineering profession. Add the full functionality of a genuine i7 processor and 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. It is a full-fledged gaming laptop with 2GB of dedicated NVIDIA graphics card (GeForce GTX 960M).
Easily connect to extra display accessories like projectors and monitors so that your peers and colleagues would easily look at your engineered works on this versatile laptop by Asus.
All pictures are taken from Amazon unless stated
5. Choose yourself—but follow the below guidelines!
Laptop Requirement for Engineering and Simulation Software
As an engineering student, most likely in some part of your career you are going to come across MATLAB, CAD, Solid Works, C, and Java. C and Java, in particular, do not require a high-end system and can run well in any moderately packed workstation. Other environments, though, can be quite taxing and you don’t need a workstation that slows you down.
Coming to work environments like MATLAB, CAD or even Adobe Creative Cloud, these involve the 3D environment and rendering. As such, they need workstations with above par video cards and processors. I have recently started working on CAD and living in a hostel, I see many laptops crashing and unable to run the segments properly as these calls for systems with dedicated video cards.
Laptop Requirement for Engineering and Gaming
Now, arguably almost every engineer needs a high-end laptop that can plow through the games these days, including me. As the technology is progressing, we have left those days in the past, where only consoles like the PS3 and XBOX 360 were able to run the high-end games. These days most of the games work fluidly and some even work better than their console counterparts in the PCs and frankly, we all love gaming. That is the reason I own a gaming laptop in the first place. But, at the same time, a laptop is a portable workstation after all and you definitely don’t want to get one that is too bulky and large for your taste and will make you hard pressed to carry in the first place. The Lenovo Notebook Z710 is a great notebook plus a versatile gaming laptop for engineering students.
That aside, there are a lot of laptops out there from over a dozen trusted brands which offer a great value for money and having experienced a whole lot hands-on, I would suggest the following specifications or similar for all your college engineering needs.
Technical Requirements of an Engineering Laptop
Photo from Pixabay
The first thing to consider when going for a laptop is the RAM. The greater is the RAM, the more are the chances for you to better multi-task and considering the fact that some work environments run a lot of processes, it is quite essential. Prefer going with a laptop that has a minimum of 8GB of DDR3 RAM, if you have a tight budget or else go for something higher like one with 16GB of DDR3 RAM. As I mentioned earlier, think of your laptop as an investment so definitely consider going for a model, which provides an unused slot, hence full proofing your laptop for the foreseeable future.
A processor (or CPU) is just as important as the RAM when it comes to a workstation for our needs. Sometimes complex mathematical equations when put through weaker processor chips take a couple of minutes and that is just simply taxing, for the station as well as you. High-end Intel Chips, like the 4th Gen i5 or i7 processors with turbo overclocking capacity, are good enough to get you through anything even CAD or high-end gaming.
If there are options to choose more RAM or more powerful processor, choose the one with more RAM. For example, a laptop with i5 CPU and 16GB RAM is preferred than that with an i7 CPU and 8GB RAM. However, keep your minimum processor requirement to an Intel i5. Intel i3 will not be sufficient for handling complex engineering software.
Dedicated Video Cards
The motherboard-powered display adapters are unable to meet the video rendering requirements that engineering programs require. Software like AutoCAD and Solid Works are used for their 3D applications and video rendering. This makes the laptops requirements for engineering students similar to that of architecture students.
Demanding environments like CAD, MATLAB require likewise, a large enough boot space and free storage. Besides, these days, no matter how large a storage you got, it just isn’t big enough and I see almost everyone with an external hard-drive. But for starters, 1TB of storage will suffice. If you are willing to spend the bucks, then go for one with an SSD drive or a hybrid drive that enables you to install your OS and the most frequently used programs on SSD, and files you don’t use often in a mechanical hard drive. That will provide an increased bump in the boot-time and will increase the overall responsiveness of the station when running on fumes.
More Savings on Laptops for College Engineering Students and Beyond
As part of student benefits, Amazon is giving a chance for 5000 students to receive scholarships on textbooks and tuition fees, plus free two-day shipping on college essentials like supplies and even laptops. The Amazon Student membership is free to join.