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Laptop For Engineering

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
A buddy of mine is going to uni for engineering and happens to be looking for a laptop for under $900

Hes looking for something no smaller than 14 inches and with an Intel processor...any recommendations?

I'm unaware of what programs he'll need to run but it wouldn't hurt to have either a first or second generation i5.
post #2 of 23
What kind of Engineering?

Will he be doing any GPGPU-capable work?
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post #3 of 23
I'd suggest taking a look at the Dell Precision Mobile line. All the niceness of a Lattitude, with a beefier Quadro GPU for Autocad, MATLAB with Cuda, etc.

The biggest downside I've found with my M4400 over the last few years is battery life - the GPU is not switchable, so it's always on and always sucking power. With a 9-cell battery and Aero turned off, however, I can scrape out around 4 hours of battery life for non-intensive applications.
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
What kind of Engineering?

Will he be doing any GPGPU-capable work?
Not sure, he just got the acceptance letter today. With a minimal of i5 means he'll be adequately running whatever hes going to run, and if happens to be GPU dependent then I guess hes out of luck.

I wanted to recommend a Lian Li matx build in place of a laptop for that situation, but no doubt hes going to want to use his new computer in class
post #5 of 23
sager np5160 is perfect for what he needs and priced well under 900.
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post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agenesis View Post
Not sure, he just got the acceptance letter today. With a minimal of i5 means he'll be adequately running whatever hes going to run, and if happens to be GPU dependent then I guess hes out of luck.

I wanted to recommend a Lian Li matx build in place of a laptop for that situation, but no doubt hes going to want to use his new computer in class
If you want just adequate, then get anything within budget. However, why not get best for budget?

Just ask him which engineering field....
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post #7 of 23
If he's chemical or electrical, any moderately priced laptop will work. 2D AutoCAD is not very taxing on the system. If they're going to study Industrial Engineering, all of the analysis tools can be run through the VB editor in Excel, and all of the testing software (vibration/thermal/etc.) is designed to run on Windows 98, so he's good there. If he's going to study mechanical, $900 is going to be a bit short for a lasting system. Running full 3D AutoCAD (and actually using it) will need a decent dedicated GPU, so a beefed up Vostro or an EliteBook would work well.
Edited by greydor - 3/26/11 at 8:10pm
post #8 of 23
Unless he's past GE courses and starting upper division I doubt he'll encounter any programs that he'll need CUDA or other GPU based rendering/calculating power. Go cheaper/normal laptops until he gets to that level and actually decides he wants to go through it. I've seen a lot of people with good potential quit that area of study.

But skitzogreg is spot on I think. Unless changes have happened in the last two years.
     
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post #9 of 23
You can't do Solidworks on a $900 lappy.
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post #10 of 23
If he's EE or CpE, something with a serial port will be really handy.
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