Among all the college degrees out there, engineering could be the most taxing and demanding one to take. Day in and day out, engineering students are bombarded with a ton of work. That workload can further increase depending on what field of engineering stream they are taking up.
CSE majors are faced with coding and programming languages, while civil engineering students often deal with blueprints and city plans for their work. Whichever branch they may be in, all of them will need a well-functioning laptop, especially in this day and age of technology,
While notebooks were just mere word processors back during their early years, nowadays, they pretty much serve as workstations. They act as all-encompassing work buddy that everyone uses and sometimes abuses.
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Top Laptops for Engineering Students
One of the main problems that Laptop purchasers come across, however, is budget.
The truth is not everyone can afford a high-performance notebook, and that is absolutely fine. But not having a digital assistant makes dealing with schoolwork a lot more complicated.
Papers end up getting lost; files tend to be stacked up in a careless manner, which often leads to misplacement, and subsequently even bigger trouble. As an engineering student, you will want the best and under budget equipment that you will be able to utilize for your studies fully.
So, to help you choose the best budget and at the same time high-performance laptop, we have created this article.
How to find the best laptop for engineers?
As a student, you definitely need a laptop with latest specifications and that under budget. Below I have listed out few essential things you should look for in your future laptop.
CPU– Is it the latest generation processor and does it have a sufficient base clock speed. I usually recommend choosing a Quad core CPU with at least 2.6GHz base speed.
RAM– In any system, Random Access Memory does all the heavy lifting. All your applications, 3D designing tools, and games are mainly dependent on RAM. So, I will suggest looking for at least 8GB of memory.
GPU– It is must to choose a notebook which comes with a dedicated graphics card. You should also make sure that the GPU has at least 2GB of VRAM.
Operating system– If your engineering stream requires you to run apps like AutoCAD, etc, then it’s better to look for a computer with Windows OS.
Display– Since you will be carrying your laptop with you, it will be more likely to be your daily digital assistant. Now after all your lectures you won’t want to strain your eyes any further. And so I will suggest looking for a laptop with at least 13-inch, 1080p resolution display.
Battery life– One of the most significant advantages of having a laptop is portability. Now portability is only because of its portable power supply, and that is the battery. So, its always necessary to look for the laptops on which you can work for at least 3-4 hours with a normal workload.
The MSI GE63 Raider
Software engineers and programmers alike will adore the MSI GE63 Raider. It is the latest addition to the popular Raider series from MSI and was released back on April 02, 2018. GE63 comes packed with all new latest components configured to tackle any type of workload. It is re-designed from the base for hardcore gamers and professionals. It simply doesn’t matter if it’s advanced mathematical calculations, 3D rendering, AI or gaming, GE63 Raider can handle all challenges with ease.
Its display capabilities alone are a good reason to be happy about this product. It is 15.6 inches, 120Hz full high-definition display and has a response time of just 3ms. Furthermore, it is equipped with 94% NTSC Anti-Color Glare. So, it will not be a problem if you happen to be working outside a coffee shop with the sun shining brightly behind you.
GE63 is outfitted with the 8th generation Core i7-8750H mobile processor from Intel. This processor has a base speed of 2.20 GHz and has a maximum turbo frequency of 4.10 GHz. Furthermore, it has 9MB L3 cache, 6 cores / 12 threads and offers a maximum of 41.8 GB/s memory bandwidth.
GPU & Memory
For its graphics card, this unit utilizes NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060. GTX1060 is loaded with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM guaranteeing that it will be able to withstand any demand that your AutoCAD software has on the system. The RAM is also of top-quality and has a maximum frequency of 2400MHz. MSI GE63 has 2, 16GB DDR4 RAMs setup in a dual channel mode.
The storage space will not disappoint you at all. While you already have a high-speed 128GB M.2 SATA to work with, it also has an additional 1 TB of a hard disk drive. No matter how large your files may be, you can at the very least be assured that you will not have to worry about your device crashing or running slower because of them.
The sound quality is simply amazing. GE63 is accompanied with all new Nahimic 3 which helps to enhance the audio quality and offers an immersive surround sound effect. Thanks to its hand-crafted speaker at the top of the keyboard, now you can enjoy the surround sound feeling while playing games or watching your favorite movies.
It also comes with a Steel Series Per Key RGB Customizable Keyboard, which gives this laptop a unique look and feel. With the help of the driver-application, you can also customize the colors of the keys too.
Concerning battery life, this device is similar to all other gaming laptops. Under standard workload, you can expect 3.5-4.5 hours of battery life. Buti if you have plans to play PC games outdoor then you will need to bring along your charger. Its 6-cell 51Wh battery can last up to almost four hours when unplugged, depending on the task that it is performing.
- Powered by latest 8th Generation Core i7-8750H processor.
- Configured with a dedicated 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.
- Equipped with a 16GB ram which a maximum frequency of 2400Mhz.
- It has an anti-glare screen.
- It is accompanied with 3 USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.1 type-C port.
- It doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3.
- Weights 2.49KG but that’s expectable when you are getting such a powerful configuration.
Acer Predator Helios 300
It is another great choice for engineering students that will help make your campus as well as your student life much more comfortable and fun. Similar to the previous MSI GE63 Raider, the Helios 300 is also a gaming laptop that bears top-notch specs, making it a worthy purchase for anyone.
CPU and Memory
The good thing about gaming laptops is that their RAM, CPU, and GPU are all heavy duty enough to meet the demands of resource-intensive applications. The Helios 300 has an 8th generation Core i7- 8750H processor which offers a base speed of 2.8GHz. However, this processor is equipped with turbo boost technology, and it can be clocked to a maximum of 4.10GHz. This processor has an integrated Ultra HD Graphics 630 which has a max dynamic frequency of 1.10GHz.
The graphics card that comes with the standard model is a solid bet as well. It is equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 which has a whopping 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM.
Its monitor will not disappoint your either as it comes with a 15.6-inch full high definition widescreen IPS display. It has a refresh rate of whooping 144Hz which dramatically reduces the input lag thus allowing you to have a superior gaming experience.
And as for storage, this unit has plenty of it. Acer Predator Helios 300 comes bundled with a lightning-fast PCIe NVMe 256GB Solid State Drive. Also, if you happen to need extra space, you can take advantage of the extra expandable hard drive slot, which allows the attach one additional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD of any capacity. Remember that 2.5inch storage bay is connected to the SATA 3 port and so it will always be slower than the bundled NVMe storage.
One key takeaway about this product is its battery life. For a gaming laptop, the Helios 300 can last up to seven hours straight, making it a workhorse of a unit.
It also comes with an amazing iron red colored backlit keyboard. Backlit keyboards can be a funny sight to behold once turned on during the nighttime, or in a dimly lit room. This is a unit that you will not be disappointed with.
- It is loaded with a powerful CPU that comes with a 9MB L3 cache.
- 6GB dedicated VRAM and the GPU can the overclocked.
- It has two 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, an Ethernet and one USB 3.1 Type-C port for connectivity.
- Super fast NVMe SSD storage.
- Even when under load, the laptop surface remains cool thanks to AeroBlade 3D fans.
- It doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 port.
- The backlit color cannot be changed.
Dell I7577-7272BLK-P Inspiron
If you are also considering style points when picking out a laptop, you may want to take a good look at Dell’s all-new 7272BLK-P Inspiron. This sleek unit not only is significant eye candy of users, but it also gets the job done well, which definitely gives you a bang for your buck.
Processor and Memory
As expected, Dell i7577 Inspiron doesn’t come with a high-performance CPU. It is equipped with Intel Core i7-7700HQ. This processor offers a base clock speed of 2.80GHz and has a 6MB L3 cache. Furthermore, thanks to turbo boost technology, when needed the processing speed can be clocked to 3.8 GHz. The powerful processor is supplemented with a plentiful 16GB DDR4-2400 RAM. In case you intend to use more memory, you can purchase an upgraded model that can bring it up to a total of 32GB memory.
The storage space of this laptop is also something to look forward to if you plan on making a purchase. Already equipped with 256GB SSD, it also has an additional 1TB of HDD space. I will personally suggest using HDD to store your files & documents as its speed is usually slow ( 80 – 120MBps ). You should always install your applications on SSD as they are much faster than HDD ( almost 5 to 6 times ).
Display and Video Card
It comes with a 15.6-inch full high-definition screen and is similar to the other products on the market. The screen itself is equipped with IPS Anti-Glare LED-backlit. As for the GPU, it comes with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. GeForce 1060 comes with the 6GB VRAM and is powerful enough to run any AAA game titles in 1080p resolution.
Regarding battery life, this unit is backed up with a Lithium-ion 56Whr, 4-cell battery. It can easily last up to four and a half hours. This is the one drawback of this machine, as it can leave you scouring for a power source after an extended working period. It is quite a downgrade from its previous version which was equipped with a 74Whr battery that could run up to almost six hours when unplugged.
Overall, however, this unit is a favorite among its users, a majority of whom have given it a high rating.
- Great build quality.
- Plenty of storage.
- It has one Thunderbolt 3 port.
- It has the spill-resistant full-width keyboard with non-configurable reb backlit.
- Users get a generous number of ports for connectivity.
- Powerful video card and excellent display.
- This laptop comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home 64-bit operating system.
- Can run 4-5 hours under normal usage, so users don’t have to face charging issues.
- For improved connectivity over the wifi network, this system has 2×2 integrated WiFi antennas.
- 7th generation processor.
- The inbuilt webcam can record videos only in 720p resolution.
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE DB71T
There is a reason why ZenBook Pro is popular among its avid users which are substantially comprised of gamers, engineering students, and architecture majors that use heavy duty programs most of the time. It is a thing of a sight to behold, a thing of beauty, both for its exterior and performance with the tasks that it can fulfill.
I must say that I am really impressed with the overall build quality. The whole body is made up of metal and by that I mean the cover of the display panel including bezel, keyboard, touchpad and bottom area is made up of 100% metal.
What’s really impressive is that even with the metallic body this laptop weights under 2KG which makes it ultra-portable.
Processor and ram
ZenBook Pro runs on a quad-core 7th-generation Core-i7 7700HQ kabylake processor. It is backed up with 16GB of DDR4 ram which has a frequency of 2400 MHz. The i7 7700HQ processor run at 2.8GHz and with the help of Intel turbo boost functionality can clock up to 3.8GHz.
Zenbook pro comes with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti which offers 4GB DDR5 VRAM and is more than capable of handling almost all AAA game titles. Note that you will have to adjust your game settings to low-medium if you want to have at least 30FPS.
As for the display, it comes with a 15.6 full HD IPS glossy touchscreen panel. The panel operated at 60Hz and offers a wide-angle view. The touchscreen has a great response time and it’s just like using the smartphone. There is absolutely no noticeable lag between the touch and the response of the screen.
According to the company Asus, the panel can be viewed at 178 degrees and based on my personal experience I can say its true. I have personally looked at the screen from top to bottom and from left to right and still color quality remained inact.
In order to test the display, I used the Spyder 5 pro application and the results were truly impressive. Based on my test I received the following result:
- 96% of sRGB
- 73% of AdobeRGB
- 67% of NTSC
Connectivity and ports
As for the network connectivity, ZenBook Pro UX550VE DB71T comes with 802.11ac WiFi. Moreover it has integrated support for the latest Bluetooth 4.2 but unfortunately, it doesn’t have any no ethernet port.
Now let’s talk about the input/output ports. On the left-hand side, you will find one HDMI port along with power input, two USB 3.1 type-c ports.
Moving onto the available I/O on the left we’ve got the power input, HDMI port, and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 available. On the right side, you will find one micro SD card reader slot, one 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack, and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports.
You get 1TB SATA M.2 SSD which is not as fast as NVMe SSD but is definately faster than traditional HDD drives.
The battery life on this unit is also an impressive one. While its 73Wh battery may be too bulky for convenience, it can offer up to 8 hours of usage while unplugged. But of course, you will always want to have that charger with you at all times, primarily when working for long hours on projects and deadlines.
It is expected for gaming laptops such as this one to be able to handle heavy duty work, and this product is something worth looking at.
HP 2018 Pavilion
If there is a brand that can live up to many of your computer and technology expectations, it is HP. It is a renowned veteran of the industry and once again, it has impressed users with the release of its 2018 Pavilion.
Design and build quality
Body is built up of high-quality plastic and the keypad area gives you a metallic feel. The thickness of this laptop when the display lid is closed is close to 0.89 inches. So, it’s not super slim like MacBook Pro but it can definitely be considered as a slim notebook. On the top of the lid there is a huge HP logo and at the bottom, you will find a small engraved Pavilion branding. Overall, the silver color combination gives the overall design a metallic feel.
Now while typing you might feel a bit of damping especially if you are a heavy-handed typer. Otherwise, the overall build quality is perfect considering its price point.
HP Pavilion comes with a 15.6-inch full high definition screen with big-bold bazel. The thick black bezel is the only reason why I personally don’t like this model. Furthermore, it is outfitted with IPS BrightView WLED-backlit monitor. Brightness is good but because it lacks the anti-glare coating, working on this notebook in an open environment may be challenging.
Graphical Processing Unit
It is then backed up with the NVIDIA GeForce 940MX. This GPU comes with 4GB DDR3 VRAM which is sufficient to run applications like AutoCAD, Maya 3D, Blender 3D, etc. Obviously, 940MX is not as powerful as other high-end models like 1050, 1060 but at least it’s better than an integrated GPU.
Central Processing Unit and RAM
Pavilion 2018 is powered by i7-8550U which is a high-performance 8th generation mobile processor from Intel. The base clock speed of this processor is 1.8 GHz and can be boosted up to 4 GHz based on the workload and computational necessity. Furthermore, this laptop comes with 16GB DDR4 memory modules with the base frequency of 2400MHz.
One thing which I really like about 2018’s Pavilion model is its faster data storage. It comes loaded with 256GB NVMe SSD. According to my test, with Windows 10 Pro installed, my system booted within 12 seconds. In my another test with Windows 10 and other important applications like AntiVirus, System Optimizer, etc installed, my system booted up within 15 seconds.
But 256GB is just not enough storage in this digital era and so it comes with 2TB of HDD storage. I will suggest you install all your essential application on the NVMe SSD and to store all your other files on the HDD.
The battery life of this unit is excellent, which like many of its contemporaries, will be perfect for long hours of work. Using its Lithium-ion battery, you are guaranteed to up to seven hours of work, allowing you to cover more than enough ground for each workday.
Why Should Students Have A Laptop?
Engineering majors spend most of their time either doing assignments, projects or research. These are an essential part of taking up such an extensive field of study. Given the busy life that many of them have in school alone, many of them struggle to find time to visit their library and do the necessary hours of research that they need for tomorrow’s midterm exam.
This is where a laptop also comes in handy, as it provides the student with the perfect tool to do research online. Living in the information age gives us precisely that: having access to any type of data using one touch of a button. Just by doing a thorough enough Google search, you will be able to find all the necessary information you are looking for. If you are adept at doing such research, you will be easily able to complete it under a shorter amount of time than usual.
The flexibility of where to do school work is another benefit that laptops provide. This applies to software engineering students in particular. They are the ones who are often faced with tons of work in front of a computer, and a laptop will be handy for them to be able to work wherever they please.
One of the most significant advantages of having your laptop is that you can install and run applications of your like. The lab computers that colleges and universities have on campus usually restricts students from installing external applications mainly due to storage and computation limitations. Furthermore, even if they allow you to run your applications, you can access computers in college only during the Lab periods. So, it will be more convenient for students to have a device of their own and be able to utilize these much-needed programs.
Laptop computers are also used as a communication tool between professors and students, especially if there is a need to share files. It can perform the more significant tasks that mobile phones or tablets are unable to.