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Best computer for aerospace engineer: mac or pc?

  1. Jun 8, 2010 #1

    I am currently in my early school phases on my path to becoming an aerospace major.
    I know there are programs which engineers use for design purposes and other programs as well which they need for their profession. Since i am still in school i have not had the experience of finding out what type of computer is best for this major.

    What i do know is how to use autocad and i also know that Rhino is a program used for design as well, both i have only seen on a windows pc.

    Also, which would be great for robotic programming purposes as well, it is a little hobby of mine. :)

    Thank you,
    - Legendarium
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2010 #2
    I'm not an aerospace engineer, but my guess in PC. You should be proficient with both platforms, though, and PCs are cheaper.
  4. Jun 8, 2010 #3
    I was thinking that pc's would be the answer as well.

    The problem with any computer is that the nice ones, as in the ones that are great in performance, are expensive, whether it is a pc or mac.

    Thanks BenTheMan.
  5. Jun 9, 2010 #4
    PC, more powerful and whatnot. Aerospace engineers will most likely require high end CAD software that is unavailable for MAC and will require unbelievably high end hardware to run, as well as an extensive multi-monitor set up - which is just easier to achieve on Windows than OS/X.
  6. Jun 9, 2010 #5


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    You should also maybe consider linux. I don't know for aerospace applications, but many scientific applications find their origin in a unix-like environment.
  7. Jun 9, 2010 #6

    D H

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    Not another Mac versus PC religious war!

    I work with, and I am, an aerospace engineer. I have a Mac and a Linux machine. Some of my coworkers get by with Macs only, others get by with Linux machines only. Those who get by with only a Windows machine often go by another title: manager. A few hardcore engineers can't abide having to make a choice and have a tri-boot machine, Mac, Linux, and Windows. They rarely use the Windows boot because both Mac and Linux provide very good Windows virtual machines.
  8. Jun 9, 2010 #7
    For what little it's worth, I did a stint at Lockheed during my undergrad days and all of the engineers I came into contact with used Windows machines. I don't recall seeing anything else in fact, although this was a while ago.

    As always, learn the principles and techniques rather than a particular operating system.
  9. Jun 9, 2010 #8
    So, the moral of the story is that you should buy whatever you're comfortable with now, and learn all the other platforms while you're in school.

    The best way to learn Linux/UNIX is to build a computer out of spare parts for as cheaply as possible, and install Ubuntu or RedHat or something. You'll have to re-install the OS more than once, but this is (in my experience) the best way to learn what you're doing. Once you get Linux/UNIX down, Mac OS is easy, as the front end is just like Windows (or, vice versa), but you can do almost everything from the terminal (like UNIX).
  10. Jun 9, 2010 #9
    I don't think it matters that much. All of the tools I use in an AE undergrad (CATIA, Matlab, Maple) seem to be cross-platform. CATIA is unstable on a Windows Vista kernel though, and I have to use XP instead, but perhaps you will use something differently.
  11. Jun 9, 2010 #10
    Thank you, to everyone. There are a lot of great information here.

    There is still more i wish to research until i make a final decision. Will let you guys know on my answer and reason(s) why.

  12. Sep 12, 2012 #11
    It's been more than two years since i've asked this question, and I actually just stumbled upon my own thread on a google search(linux related).

    To update what i've learned this past few years: It does not matter all that much what OS you use, but Windows has an advantage due to the big CAD programs being on Windows.

    Currently I use a Thinkpad, and switch between windows and linux (either Ubuntu or tinkering with Debian). Linux usually has too many bugs to work with when first installing it, and it's not always pretty (my Debian, for example) but fun to try. I used to have Arch Linux but that was a big head ach once i stumbled upon a grub error.

    I would like to point out that my current (and other Universities) recommend using Windows for mechanical or aerospace engineering. So, that may be of help.
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