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The Best Laptops for Engineering Students: 2021 Engineers' Choices

Roberto received his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. He likes to keep up with latest gadgets, apps and all things tech.


Selecting the Best Laptop for Engineering Students

These days, many laptops are released every other week and their specifications also seem to overlap with each other. In these ever-evolving times, it's very easy to make mistakes on this expensive investment. Computers and gadgets are expensive; and for engineering students, they're even more expensive. In this article, you'll get:

  1. My top picks for the best laptops for engineering students
  2. The most important requirements you should be considering when purchasing your laptop
  3. A full description of my top choices and a long list of other recommendations.

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.

Top 5 Best Laptops for Engineering Students and Engineers 2021



Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Available in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models


Dell XPS 15

Powerful specs, environment-friendly materials, good battery


Macbook Pro 16

What can I say? It's a Macbook, but finally better.


Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

perfect for gamers with Nvidia 1660 GTX


Microsoft Surface Book 2

Use it as a tablet, laptop, notebook or anything as you please

Laptops for Engineering Students and Graduates Should Be Fast, Efficient, and Versatile!

So what do "fast", "efficient" and "versatile" mean? There are these minimum technical requirements that should be met if you are considering a laptop for engineering school. I have broken these specifications down below.

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 pick a computer that was portable, that met all my engineering degree requirements, and also gave me options on the entertainment and sometimes gaming side. With my friends to guide me and a little help from Google, I managed to pick some good ones.

What Specs Do I Need For an Engineering Laptop?

  • At least 512GB - 1TB of storage (it's 2021, so say goodbye to HDD and choose SSD)
  • At least 8GB of RAM
  • Screen Resolution of no less than 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Intel i5 Processor (or equivalent) or better CPU
  • Powerful and Dedicated Graphics Card

Look for laptops with above specs, or see my personal choices for top examples. If you decide to purchase a computer, the above specs will be enough to make an informed decision.

The Best Laptops for Engineering Students: My Top 5 Choices

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.

1. Acer Predator Helios 300

While the Acer Predator series is generally considered a gaming laptop, its specs certainly qualify it for any requirements of engineering students. The base model (see price) has a 6GB GeForce RTX 2060 (you can also upgrade it to an 8GB RTX 2070). You also have an Intel six-core/12-thread core processor, 16GB of memory, and a 512 GB solid-state drive.

What’s even better is the opportunity for storage expansion. It can support three drives through its M.2 slots, where you can add a hard drive. Many thin notebooks don’t have that option.

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

The IPS screen has 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, an anti-glare surface, and excellent color, sharpness, and brightness. The patented Aeroblade 3D Fan keeps the laptop cool despite long hours of working (and playing). If you can’t plug it in, you get 6 hours of battery life—or longer if you’re just using simple software.

The laptop can get pretty heavy, weighing about 5 pounds. However, the heavy casing does protect it from wear and tear, so if you’re not the type to be careful with your gadgets this actually may work in your favor.

Aside from its powerful performance, the Acer Predator also has the “wow” factor, thanks to the colored backlit keyboard and backlit teal logo on the lid. If the design is important to you, then be sure to include this on your shortlist.

2. Dell XPS 15

The Dell XPS 15 isn’t cheap, but the power and performance are well worth the investment. With its specs, it can handle any engineering software and 3D designs without any glitch or delay. It comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM. If you looked for similar capabilities in other laptops (such as the MacBook Pro) you’d easily spend over $2,000.

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS15 is also energy efficient, and even environmentally-friendly: 25% of its material is made from plastics that were collected from the ocean, and the rest is made of other recycled plastics.

Dell XPS15 is also energy efficient, and even environmentally-friendly: 25% of its material is made from plastics that were collected from the ocean, and the rest is made of other recycled plastics.

The NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1650 Ti graphics guarantees powerful graphics, whether you’re creating a 3D drawing or video, or taking a quick break with a game.

The 15-inch monitor has an infinity edge, impeccable color accuracy, and a 500-nit display. You’ll see everything in vivid detail, even if you’re working outdoors. And with its anti-glare feature, long hours of work won’t tire your eyes.

Overheating isn’t an issue, even if it’s a really thin laptop. The dual fans and dual heat pipes spread out heat, and there’s a hidden exhaust at the hinge.

3. Apple Macbook Pro 16

If you’re an Apple user, then check out this MacBook Pro model. It’s got a 16-inch retina display that has 500 nits of brightness. As Apple says, “It’s perfect for doing big, beautiful work.” The Intel Core i9 processer is actually two times more powerful than a quadcore MacBook, so you can quickly render 3D models without any lag time.

Macbook Pro 16

Macbook Pro 16

Macbook Pro 16

Macbook Pro 16

You also get 64GB of DDR4 memory, which allows you to multi-task with ease. You can load images, run multiple programs, render drawings—this laptop can do it all, at the same time, without flinching.

In terms of graphics capability, it has the ADM Radeon Pro 5000M. That’s sufficient for what you need, but if you can, get the upgraded model with Radeon Pro 5600, which gives you more bandwidth memory. It’s slightly more expensive, but the boost in speed and quality is useful when you’re making 3D rendering.

Another reason this Macbook makes it to the list of the best laptops for engineering students is its storage: it can have a read speed of 3.2 gigabytes per second. Storing and loading even large files will never be a problem.

This also has 11 hours of battery life, so as long as it’s fully charged when you leave for school, you’ll have enough juice to last you throughout the day before you need to plug it back in.

4. Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

The Asus TUF505 is a powerful yet lightweight gaming laptop that has become so popular worldwide that Asus has released different versions even in Asia and India. Otherwise, the manufacturers normally don’t provide the same US and Asian model names for a similar configuration. This is one of the reasons why one of my colleagues was able to bag one for a very good deal.

The dedicated 6GB graphics card powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and a hybrid 256GB SSD drive form a powerful combination for a gaming laptop for engineering students. As such, the laptop is reasonably priced for a gaming laptop.

Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

Asus TUF505 With Nvidia GTX 1660

5. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Of course this is one of the best laptops for engineering students—Microsoft designed it specifically for design tasks.

The specs are impressive: 1.9GHz Intel Core, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 terabyte SSD. So yes, you can confidently load this one up with any engineering and design programs, and they will run nicely.

And in terms of battery life, the Microsoft Surface Book offers up to 17 hours on just one charge—almost double of some of the other laptops! We also like that it’s very lightweight, weighing just 3.62 pounds. That’s a plus for students who need to bring the laptop around.

You can use the Microsoft Surface Book 2 in four different configurations: as a laptop, tablet (detaching the screen from the base), studio (folded) or view (propped at an angle for watching or presenting).

You can use the Microsoft Surface Book 2 in four different configurations: as a laptop, tablet (detaching the screen from the base), studio (folded) or view (propped at an angle for watching or presenting).

The downside? Its price. The $1,999 is the most basic model, but you may want to upgrade to get all of the features. The surface pen, which you need to fully maximize the touch screen capabilities, is nearly $100.

However, many computer experts say that this laptop gives one of the best value for money: it’s just $100 more than a MacBook Pro, which is also created specifically for design and graphic work. But has a far more powerful GPU and processor, and it even has a better screen resolution.

Laptop Requirements for Engineering

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:

1. CPU/Processor Speed

2. Hard Disk Drive Memory

3. RAM

4. Connectivity

5. Screen Size

6. Dedicated Graphics Cards

7. Operating System


1. CPU / Processor Speed Requirements for Engineering Laptops

The CPU is crucial if you're in the market for an engineering laptop. Whenever we run AutoCAD or similar software, 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 extra 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. HP Envy 17t (described above) comes with the latest Intel i7 Quad-core processor.

Some programs that are CPU exhaustive:

  • Simulation software including ANSYS and Excel
  • Games that are highly dependent on faster frame rates
  • Matlab

2. Adequate Hard Disk Drive Memory

You'll need adequate memory and storage for everything—including drafting programs like AutoCAD, Catia, ANSYS, Solidworks. Further, your designs drawn on it also need space. You also need a place for saving your favorite songs, pictures, 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 1TB or more for the best value since most of the laptops these days come with at least 1TB of storage.



Laptops these days come with SSD drives which are faster, more efficient, and more reliable than the traditional mechanical hard disk drives. However, SSD drives come at an increased cost.

There are also laptops with storage hybrids (SSD+HDD) which can be used in such a way that the operating system (Windows or others) can be installed in SSD and additional files like photos or songs can be stored in HDD making the laptop more affordable and faster at the same time.


3. RAM Requirements for an Engineering Laptop

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 unless you are serious about gaming or are using more heavy software.

4. Connectivity

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 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.


5. Screen Size

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, screen resolution is important. A higher screen resolution will allow more area for multiple windows. 1920x1080 pixels are 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.

6. Dedicated Graphics/Video Card

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.


7. Operating System

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 into finding your way around one, for starters. Even high-end games run better in 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.

This also does not mean that a Macbook is not a good choice for an engineering student. They are a great choice even for engineering students if their requirements are met. For example, the new Macbook Pro 16.

Conclusion: Do Your Research and Know What To Look For

It can be tricky to find the best laptops for engineering students. It needs to be powerful enough to manage the software that you will use (including CAM and CAD, which require a good processor and graphics card), but still fit into a student’s budget. Since you’ll be bringing it to your classes, it should also be light and have a good battery life.

Furthermore, when it comes to laptops, the requirements are extremely personal and one model may not be fit for everyone. Give second thoughts to priorities like screen size, hard disk size, and most importantly—your budget.

Good luck!

Which Engineering division is your laptop search for?

New: Frequently Asked Questions

Because I keep getting a lot of similar questions in the comments, I thought of adding this new FAQ section that will probably answer any question you may have after reading this laptop recommendation guide

FAQ: Engineering Laptops

Q 1. I am studying Civil/Mechanical/Software/(insert any engineering branch here) Engineering. Please advise a suitable laptop for me.

A: No laptops come branded as a tool for a certain branch of engineering. All the laptops recommended above are good examples of an engineering laptop, no matter your engineering degree. The main requirements are:

  • An operating system you are comfortable with (Windows or Mac - whatever suits you)
  • At least 6-8 GB of RAM
  • A discrete graphics card
  • Hard Drive size that suits your needs (typically 500 GB is enough)

Q 2. Is Lenovo Y50 good? Don't Lenovo laptops have heating problems?

A: Yes, Lenovo models up from Y50 - Y700 had heating problems earlier. This was due to an incompatible graphics driver for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. When users turned off the NVIDIA graphics card and used the in-house Intel HD Graphics, the problem would go away.

However, the software has already been updated and this problem has already been taken care of. It is also important to note that the laptop won't overheat all the time. It is only when you are playing graphics-intensive games and software for a long time that ANY laptop will heat (not just Lenovo).

That's why a cooling pad is recommended all the time when gaming or using software that requires a lot of CPU resources.

Q 3. How much does (insert a laptop brand) laptop heat?

A: All laptops do fairly heat up whenever they are worked on extensively. For a laptop for engineers that uses processors and graphics cards extensively, expect a fair warmth. Laptop cooling pads are always recommended while gaming or using applications that drain a lot of memory.

If you have a new question, please go ahead and post it in the comments section.

I hope you found this article useful!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Roberto Eldrum

Do You Have Any Questions About Any Laptop?

Victor on September 04, 2020:

how is lenovo thinkpad T series ? is it good for engineer strudents ?

PIYUSH KUMAR on June 24, 2020:

I am from India i am not able to find a laptop

. I just want it for studies and to run the softwares effectively and smoothly as i am a mechanical with specialization in automotive engineering. I dont play games. I just want it for my softwares only. Also in india we face budget problem too. So please suggest me a laptop which can fulfill my needs only. Under price 40k-50k only. Please tell me as soon as possible because exams are approaching and it will be online only and i dont have any desktop.

Danny on May 30, 2020:

I am an electrical engineering students. Im looking for a laptop that is below php35,000 price. What laptop can you recommend?

Dima on May 28, 2020:

I am considering surface book 2 laptop, and i am working with 3d modeling softwares like fusion 360 /revit/autocad, should i take the 8 gb ram or 16?

Sudanshu on April 07, 2020:

I am looking for a laptop for software engineers.

Sneha on January 13, 2020:

What are the specifications of a laptop to an ELECTRONIC AND COMMUNICATION branch engineering student????

J1967w on October 27, 2019:

What computer is best for chemical engineering

Stijn on September 12, 2019:

I like the hp envy 13 inch really much especially because it’s very portable. But is 13 inch too small?

Kunal lal pawa on July 29, 2019:

Hello I m computer science student...which laptop I buy for programming sell or hp under 55000


Sam on June 26, 2019:

I’m going to be a freshman Biomedical engineering Major in the fall. I am currently debating between the Hp envy 17t and the Hp Spectre x360 15.6”. Prices aside, I was concerned about the heavy weight of the 17t but I a also want the Nvidia graphics card and prefer the hp brand. I was wondering how it compares in performance for an engineering student to the Spectre. Thanks!

Sarvan on May 27, 2019:

I am working Building construction work. i need best and low price laptop. i choose acer brand . i5 or i7 and 8th Gen,6Gb Ram ,2GB Graphics' card, 1Tb internal memory.

Is the Lenovo thinkpad X1 Yoga good? on April 02, 2019:

Is the Lenovo thinkpad X1 Yoga good, i am studying Mechatronical engineering

Shilpa .MB on March 09, 2019:

I am shilpa which laptop is best for cs software please suggest me i will searching for laptops

MINMIN on January 24, 2019:

I'm an ECE engineering student and I use a lot of softwares. Please suggest a laptop for me. Thank you!

Jivankumarpun on January 06, 2019:

Which laptop is best for civil engineer

Divya on December 21, 2018:

Which laptop are the best for ece students

priya nalla on July 09, 2018:

I'm a civil engineering student . i'm searching for a laptop which i can really draw some structures or drawings., i found hp pavilion14-ba075TX .,can u suggest that whether it is really useful for me or not.,or else u can suggest me a good one.

Ian Dean on July 05, 2018:

How does a dell g5 gaming notebook sound?

Andrea G. on June 17, 2018:

Would you consider that the Surface book would be a good option???

Phillip Wilkerson on June 10, 2018:

Portability is a very important factor as well. Some college students walk a few miles a day; I have a powerful gaming laptop for serious CAD/programming work, but rarely take it with me because it weighs over ten pounds with the charger/peripherals and I don't want to look like a gamer to professionals I'm presenting to.

mazedul30 on May 28, 2018:

Really nice post for every laptop lover or who buy a new laptop. You can easily understand all things.

rizwan on May 24, 2018:

I m a CAD and CAE engineer i m in search of a laptop for my work profile

is Dell Inspiron 15 7577 Laptop is good??

Rami on April 28, 2018:

What's the difference between dedicated graphics card and intel hd graphics card ?

dave on January 25, 2018:

i have a lenovo G51. i have the space and the ram. i have an AMD processor though and my resolution is not as high as you recommend.

1 what is your opinion of my laptop for an engineering student?

2 do you foresee the CPU or Resolution to of mine causing any major issues in my upcoming accedamic years?

Kade K on January 20, 2018:

What would be a good laptop for a software engineering student?

Baliram singh on January 19, 2018:

Best latop for cad/cam engineer in low price like 30,000

Shubhank kushwaha on January 10, 2018:

Is macbook air good for civil engineering students?

era on December 05, 2017:

Asus R518UQ-RH74T Convertible vs Lenovo Y700? Which one do you recommend for numerical simulation?

santosh on November 23, 2017:

i3 6th Generation vs i7 4th Generation, which is recommeded for engineering students

Mayur Gianchandani on September 05, 2017:

Is 940MX 2 GB DDR5 good enough for mechanical engineering? The laptop has i7-7500u , 16 GB RAM as well

james on August 27, 2017:

hi, what is the best laptop

Jiregna Adugna on August 19, 2017:

Which type of laptop is best for MENG?

Ellie on August 18, 2017:


May I know your opinion about Lenovo ThinkPad P51? Thank you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Asheesh Tyagi on August 14, 2017:

I am going to join Computer Science and Engineering this year and I am looking for a laptop that could be the perfect one in all the aspects like battery life and performance...Could u suggest me a laptop?

Sam on August 01, 2017:

With regards to the windows

Which windows laptop will you prefer for a chemical engineering student?

budans on July 25, 2017:

Thanks for the usfeul post. I really don't like HP (i had a pavillion years ago), but you made me doubt about the effectiveness of this kind of computer. I'm comparing the HP with the DELL you recommended, and i see the only difference is the RAM (and the price!!). Between these two which one would you recommend? I'm an electrical engineer so i really don't need a lot of graphics performance, but some of the processes i simulate with my laptop means a working process of hours, depending on the effectiveness of the computer. I would also like you to comment something about the DELL Latitude as i was thinking of buying one.

I really appreciate the info man, thanks again.

nazmul on July 16, 2017:

Thats a brilliant idea for ud

Sagar Shrivastava on July 05, 2017:

Currently I'm pursuing a BE in civil engineer. I'm in my 3rd year. I'm planning to buy MacBook air 256gb ssd. Can u pls tell me is that good for 3-4 different softwares.!

Christian on July 01, 2017:

Which laptop is best for autocad

Caleb on June 26, 2017:

I am going into architectural engineering. Which computer would you recommend?

sahal on June 22, 2017:

Am going to join electronics and communication engg.please recommented me to enough lap top? Which is the best laptop for electronics and communication enginering?

Pragati on June 16, 2017:

Which laptop is needed for ece branch

Hemavathy Reddy on June 11, 2017:

I am gonna study Robotics so I will be working on various simulations software's, platforms, programming all stuffs. So i want to know which laptop is best in apple Mac collections?

zhokho keyho on June 08, 2017:

I am a computer science engineering student and I need to get a laptop of my own...

I'm confused whether to go for Windows or Mac.. will these laptops decide the future of me?

Say like if I get a Mac will my programming just confine with Apple or I can write program for Windows too..

First preference is Mac ..Since I'm a big fan of Apple.

MacBook pro _2015

Nathan Usevitch on May 31, 2017:

I work in robotics and will need to set up a dual-boot Linux machine or run a fast virtual machine. Would some of these recommendations be better than others with that thought in mind?

sahil on May 30, 2017:

I want to ask that is surface pro 3 is better than laptop because i am bit confuse . I am going to an engineering college to do mechanical ; electrical engineering and computer science so plzz plzz tell me which will be the best laptop or surface pro 3 .please respond as you see this .

Torriana Delagio on May 22, 2017:

Hey man! Being the most likely broke asses that we are, it would be nice to suggest more affordable laptops!

Mamali on May 11, 2017:

Which laptops would you advise for aeronautical engineering?

Tomas on April 29, 2017:

I am looking for a laptop that does well under software simulation. I'm an electrical engineering student.

Jiztom Kavalakkatt Francis on April 27, 2017:


Nice work a bit outdated though. I was wondering if lenovo thinkpad x1 yoga 2017 will be useful for the computer engineering graduate program . I require a long time battery with excellent keyboard.

Imran on April 23, 2017:

I'm an engineering student that uses design software and I make considering buying a dell xps or precision 5520 . I need to be able to game and not worry about laptop speed. Can anyone help me decide and tell me the pros and cons of both?

Ruben Morales on April 20, 2017:

Hello, I am a Mechanical Engineering student.

I was looking at the Lenovo yoga 910 with 16 gb ram and 1 tb hard disk drive. It has a graphics card as well. You think it will be a good option or would one of the ones you listed be better?

Lissette on April 16, 2017:

I am concerned about the weight. I have back problems that's why I currently own a Mackbook Air which is amazing for Matlab/Autocad/OpenSees. But now I am starting graduate school and I need something that supports other programs for windows. My question is, what's the lightest laptop you can find for Engineer Students?

eyah on April 02, 2017:

hai, i'm a communication engineering student, which the best laptop for cst studio suite software. i currently use the acer aspire.. it took 4 hours to run a simple design.

Nee Yen on April 01, 2017:

The image you used for Dell XPS 15 is wrong.

Ismail on March 04, 2017:

sir,I have just started my engineering 1 year ago.I want a best laptop for engineering purposes and honestly my range is just between 350$ to 500$. Are you prefer 2nd hand laptop because new laptop with particular specs will be expensive as compare to 2nd hand with some modification.

Aryan on February 11, 2017:

what about this one:

Prosess Core i7 - 2.5 uo tp 3.5 GHz 6700qh

Ram : 16 Gb

Graphic : 4 GB


screen: 15.5"


Carl Murphy on February 09, 2017:

My son is in his second year of engineering at Lehigh and just informed me that the iBook he bought for school runs the windows based engineering applications too slowly and he would like a windows based unit. Let me say that I'm generally computer illiterate. I noticed your top 5 picks for computers for engineers have a GTX video card. This tends to be more for the gaming computers. I have been reading from some other sites that for engineering it may be better to have the Nvidia Quadro, such as offered on the Lenovo P50s or P50 computers,for video rendering for engineers. Are there drawbacks to this train of thoughts? He needs a well rounded computer and I don't want him to have a one dimensional computer. Will that be the case with a business based computer such as the p50?

24TechSupport on January 20, 2017:

I appreciate your blog. It was so helpful for me.

Percevial johnsson on January 04, 2017:

Is the lenovo thinkpad 13 as good?

Jacqueline Villaloboa on December 31, 2016:


I bought the HP - HP Envy x360 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive - Silver. When I started to it it was extremely noisy and the brightness was at 100% but looked low. I also read that the battery life isn't that well, so I was disappointed. I got it at $700 (Black Friday Deal) and it has good specs, but I was wondering if it was a good computer for engineering. I also found the Asus - 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive + 128GB Solid State Drive - Silver at $900 and was wondering if that was a good computer for engineering regarding its price, its specs are alike the Envy, but I am not sure if it is truly better. Thank you.

Sribala on December 02, 2016:

Hey hi, Im currently doing my chemical engineering, i want to buy a laptop that would support these softwares : Autocad, Cadworx P&ID, matlab, ASPEN, Raspberry PI, COMSOL, ANSYS, microsoft visio. can you suggest a good laptop between 35k to 40k available in India?

Thanks for the help.

Matt Z on November 26, 2016:

I am currently searching for the best laptop that will run AutoCAD Civil 3D smoothly, what is the best one you'd recommend?

Roberto Eldrum (author) on November 21, 2016:


Both look good, however, the Insipiron i7 version is better.

Harshit on November 19, 2016:

Hello there!

I have just started my computer engineering anf hvae looking for a laptop for programming stuff. Can you please help in choosing one.My budget is about 35k bucks

eng.qudratullahafghan@gmail.com on November 04, 2016:

I am a Civil Engineer and i want to buy a computer which generation would you recommend for me please?

Roberto Eldrum (author) on October 10, 2016:


Good Tip!

Larry on October 10, 2016:

If you are on a tight budget, look for a two year old refurbished Lenovo or equivalent and load it with a SSD and memory from NewEgg or TigerDirect. Fairly inexpensive way to build a very capable student machine that will easily last through your undergraduate years. Upgrade once you have your degree and are in the workforce.

Alex on September 20, 2016:

I'm a third year mechanical engineering student. Should I buy a macbook air or a Windows laptop. Which is the best option?

chinnusree on September 16, 2016:

is amda8 is better than intel i5 or not

Dela on September 13, 2016:

Grettings, My 17 year old son wants to become a Pilot he currently has a flight simulator. I would like to purchase a laptop so he can use to play his simulator.I have no clue about computers but from reading your articles would the Toshiba P50/P52 be the best laptop to get him? Thanks.

Sainath on September 04, 2016:

I am going to pursue electronics engineering can you plz suggest me the list of laptops that would be better option for me and yes it includes software also as today we should be multi-disciplinary in education

Mvnio13 on August 31, 2016:

Please am an information technology student. Which HP,Dell or Toshiba laptop budget $500 to $550 will you recommend for me. Thanks

Jason on August 25, 2016:

What laptop would you recommend to run Solidworks and ANSYS smoothly?

C&Q on August 23, 2016:

What do you think about the Dell XPS 13? Although there are desirable upgrades to the CPU/GPU/Storage/RAM, the 13 seems like a good alternative to the 15 for significantly less.

Vault172 on August 23, 2016:

If you are even thinking of running SolidWorks I highly recommend a Quadro card. I'm a mechanical designer finishing my BSME degree and work in SolidWorks daily. As a CAD Administrator and having worked for several companies with pesky IT departments that think they know better than the CAD guys that use the software everyday...I can tell you that you WILL notice a difference when not using a Quadro or similar graphics card.

ajnisha on August 22, 2016:

hi, i would like to know if the model HP ProBOOK are good for civil engineers

Roberto Eldrum (author) on August 18, 2016:

Hi Dom, does your Macbook have graphics card? If not, it would be a good idea to get a new Macbook Pro that comes with a dedicated graphics. Hope this helps.

Dom on August 18, 2016:

I'm stuck between getting a Mac and a Windows laptop. I have a macbook pro now that I got 4 years ago, and I love it. I've never been a fan of windows laptops. But when I was looking at the macbook I wanted to buy, they have a bunch of upgrades available. Do you think that it's worth getting all the upgrades and adding about $900? or just get the base macbook pro? I haven't chosen my field of engineering yet, but I'm leaning toward biomedical. The upgrades include:

2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz to 3.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz


512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage to 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage

Roberto Eldrum (author) on August 18, 2016:

Hi Caleb,

That is quite a good laptop. Good job! :)

Caleb on August 18, 2016:

Hey I have recently got the samsung notebook 7 spin with 940m Nvidia 12gb ram 1T hard drive and 15.6inch screen that is 1080p. Is this a decent laptop?

Lucifer Smith on August 17, 2016:

which graphics card is better?

1. NVIDIA GT 940M graphics/ NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics

2. Intel HD Graphics 520

3. Intel HD Graphics 520

4. Intel HD Graphics 520

5. Intel Iris Graphics 540

Roberto Eldrum (author) on August 16, 2016:

Hi Lucifer,

Do all of these have discrete graphics card? (AMD or NVIDIA)

Lucifer Smith on August 16, 2016:

I'm sorry if this is a lot but I have 5 laptops in mind and don't know which to choose

Here are my choices:

1. Asus - Zenbook 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 12GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive

2. Dell - Inspiron 2-in-1 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 12GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive

3. HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive

4. Acer - Aspire R 14 2-in-1 14" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive

5. Lenovo - Yoga 900 2-in-1 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive

Which one would you recommend?

Celine on August 12, 2016:

Hi, i just finished my a levels and i want to take up civil engineering. Do you think a AMD quad-core A10-8700P with Radeon R7 discrete class graphics(1.8/3.2Ghz) processor is better or should i just stick with Intel core i5/i7 6th generation?

And also, it has 2GB AMD Radeon R7 M360 Graphics, 2TB hard drive and 8GB RAM

Roberto Eldrum (author) on August 01, 2016:

Hi Ryan,

That is a good build. Perhaps replace the hard drive with an SSD. If you aren't into gaming that much, reduce RAM to 12 or 8GB—the offset might be enough for getting the SSD drive.

Ryan2131 on August 01, 2016:

Hi, I've designed a custom build laptop and I am wondering if it would be alright for mechanical engineering. The application I know I will be using are ANSYS, creo and solidworks. The specs for it are as follows:

Intel I7 quad core 6700hq (2.6ghz - 3.5ghz turbo)

16Gb hyper x 2133mhz sodimm ddr4

Nvidia gtx 970m 6gb vram

500Gb serial at a hard drive (7200rpm)

Artic mx-4 cooling compound

1920x1080 res

About £950

Would this be an alright build?

Miguel on July 29, 2016:

Is a dell Inspiron i7 with Intel core i5 procescor 16 GB ram 500 gb ssd memory and Nvidia 960m 4gb good. And if so I'm debating to use this or get another laptop becuase it's a little bulky

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 29, 2016:

Hi Sahil23k,

Unfortunately, ultrabooks under 14 inches with powerful processor and graphics are all over Rs. 50k. At this time, it is really a matter of what constraint to let go of: budget, portability, or graphics. :)

sahil23k on July 29, 2016:

Thank you @neosurk sir,

You took time for my question and I respect your advise, but I would rather prefer a 13.3 inch laptop, 15.6 would be too bulky, is there any you could suggest ?

Again with due regards , I thank you .

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 29, 2016:

Hi Pratyush,

Please take a look at the requirements mentioned in the above article, then search around within your budget. Rs. 30k in budget is quite limiting in terms of an engineering laptop, but a good desktop might be available within that price.

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 29, 2016:

Hi Sahil23k,

Take a look at this HP 15: http://bit.ly/2aPDdlr

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 27, 2016:

Hi Mel,

Yes, Macbook Air is not advised. Macbook Pro with NVIDIA Graphics is a good one (display size is your preference). Other 12-13" laptops are also expensive, so if you are a Mac lover, by all means go with a Macbook Pro.

Mel on July 27, 2016:

2nd year undergraduate Civil Engineering Student

Want to get a MacBook but money is a factor

And the cheapest was MacBook Air but I hear it's not advisable

Which MacBook should I get ?

Or which other sleek laptop about 12-13"


sahil23k on July 27, 2016:

Hey, I'm tight on budget around 45k, also u have mentioned the minimum requirements for an engineering student, considering those specs I would like add one more - a good keyboard ( as I'm studying computer science engineering ) and quite portable, considering all these plz suggest a few portable laptops under 50k, which perform great and is also good for multimedia and lite gaming, my minimum requirements are - 6gb ram, 512gb ssd/hdd, 1080p screen, dedicated graphics, above 2.0 GHz, screen size 13.3-14. I can compromise on memory, but not on performance , graphics and screen resolution. Thanking you !

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 26, 2016:

Hi Matt,

That decision entirely depends on your preference. If you are a Mac lover and are already used to it, get a Mac and install Windows like in your old Macbook. However, if you like change, take a look at some of the laptops above.

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 26, 2016:

Hi Cindy,

Some laptops use i7 dual cores as a part of a mobile architecture (like Surface Book). Quad core i7 processors are better, but i7 dual cores aren't bad either. If the versatility of Surface Book is of preference, by all means, it is enough!

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 26, 2016:

Hi DV,

If possible, get a 1080p screen instead of 4k—really helps cut down price. A workstation grade graphics card is not a requirement, a good gaming card is okay.

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 26, 2016:

Hi Kholder,

Yes, that would work quite good with SolidWorks.

Roberto Eldrum (author) on July 26, 2016:

Hi Akhila,

How about the laptops mentioned above? They're all good.

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