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Another laptop question

  1. Jan 8, 2008 #1
    I'm hoping to study mechanical engineering in the fall. Does anyone have recommendations as to what specs for a laptop I need minimum, and recommended? I know I could never afford anything that runs CAD programmes, so is there any other reason I should need a high spec laptop? (I've been looking at the Acer Aspire 2920G - they've got such good reviews and seem good value for £.) I can't think of using it for anything other than essays and surfing. I know I should probably wait until the fall to see what's required, but I've got the opportunity now to buy, which I may not have again.

    I should probably add I'm in the UK, but I'd welcome advice from across the pond! Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2008 #2
    If you know a low-powered PC will suit your needs, the details of good values and performance are pretty universal, so this sort of question would probably be better placed on a forum that specializes in computers. I recommend http://notebookreview.com, especially their discussion forums (see their "What notebook should I buy?" forum).
  4. Jan 8, 2008 #3
    You need 1GB minimum. 2GB is preferable. An integrated graphics card might be ok, perhaps get something that is non-onboard. XP or Vista.
  5. Jan 8, 2008 #4


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    If you buy it now it will be out of date!
    Check if your uni has any deals with particular suppliers - although margins on hardware are so small these don't usually amount to much. Watch Dell outlet and cheap suppliers (in the UK) dabs, ebuyer.

    If you are doing CAD you probably want a half decent video card with Opengl support rather than the onboard shared memory Intel one. Don't spend a fortune - you will have Lab machines running whatever Cad packages are taught and there is a decent chance the machine will get nicked anyway!

    I use Dell precision M60 and M90 - but they don't make these anymore.
  6. Jan 8, 2008 #5
    Don't get VISTA if your only going to have 1 gig of ram. My parents have a vista box with an intel 2.4 duo and runs like hell because it only has 1 gig of ram and vista is hogging all of it.

    If you have windows xp 1 gig should be fine but 2 gigs is def. recommended if you want to make that laptop last. Make sure its expandable as well, some laptops are limited to 1 gig if they aren't new.

    If you arn't using CAD on this what will it be for? If your just taking notes you dont' need anything special at all.
  7. Jan 8, 2008 #6
    I doubt you will need a "special" laptop just for mechanical engineering. Chances are that any software that you use will be in the universities own computer lab. Depending on the university,they may not give you the program (CAD, matlab etc) to use at home. I would just go with something cheap and lightweight. Check out dells refurbished laptops.
  8. Jan 9, 2008 #7
    If you run CAD. get window XP box and have 2g ram with individual video card. Anything is fine. Dont get a mac because of CAD support.
  9. Jan 11, 2008 #8
    I think you'll be better off buying a "weak" but small laptop (screen size maximum of 14") to take notes on/ use in library and a desktop to do your serious number crunching. I bought a beefy Dell 15.4" (i maxed out the hardware) about a year ago, but i now have regrets because the laptop isn't exactly "portable". I'd definitely be happier (and richer :P) had i bought a laptop and a desktop.
  10. Jan 11, 2008 #9
    apple macbook pro.
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