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I want a computer compatible for most electrical engineering softwares

  1. Jun 15, 2009 #1
    Can someone specify the system requirements for that ideal computer which is going to work and be compatible with the electrical engineering software of today?

    Please I am looking for a computer ranging from 300 - 600 or 700 dollars.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2009 #2


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    Are you a student? Just about anything that can run Windows or Linux will work. PSPICE? MATLAB? Multisim? Programming? None of those require a great deal of processing power. Office (whether Microsoft, Open, Free, Corel, or whatever) and some web browser are likely to represent the majority of your (productivity) hours on your computer.

    If your preference is Apple, you can get a Mac and run BootCamp or VMware Fusion or Parallels and run Windows inside of it. If you are a student, make sure to look into student discounts, academic pricing (usually only on software), and MSDN-Academic Alliance through your department.
  4. Jun 16, 2009 #3
    Thank you MATL I asked the question because I know music and video applications take a lot of disk space, a lot of memory power and a good powerfull processor but now that you have told me that Electrical engineering applications are like microsoft office application which doesn't require of a high performance hardware as music and video application I know what I can get my hands into.

    I am not a student but my sister's fiancee is interested in Electrical engineering and he is planning to go to college and we wanted to make sure he gets the right computer to avoid to have to buy another want later on because of it's poor performance or because it's not the right computer for this field.

    We don't have that much money what's is your ideal computer for a person with a low budget?
  5. Jun 16, 2009 #4


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    Some software will work just fine on any new computer you can buy these days but some of it is very demanding if you want things to happen quickly.

    Like your video applications, some raw power is required for some applications.

    For example, I have a program that works out the performance of antennas. Called Eznec.
    It splits the antenna into a lot of small chunks and works out how each chunk interacts with all the other chunks. It turns this into an antenna radiation pattern.
    You can set this program to do 1000 of these calculations. A decent fast computer can do several of these each second but an old clunker will really show how slow it is.
    It takes a serious computer to show what a good program this is.

    I would nominate a price and then start trying to get the fastest CPU, the biggest, fastest hard drive and as much RAM as you can afford. Get lots of space for DVD drives and a monitor that is as sharp and clear as you can find.

    As a bare minimum, a 3 GHz CPU, a 300 GB hard drive and 2 GB of RAM. Then if he wants to do some video or some serious number crunching he has the power to do it. It will still work fine with Word or Excel.
  6. Jun 16, 2009 #5


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    Just to clarify, vk6kro means more along the lines of video editing as an intensive application; music and video playback isn't anywhere near as intensive, and any modern computer should have no problems playing back.

    I second his approach of deciding on a price point, and finding the best computer from the most reputable company. To throw in a wrench, have you decided laptop or desktop? At the same price point, the laptop will usually be a little behind the desktop, but will give you increased portability.
  7. Jun 16, 2009 #6


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    Yes, that is true. It is the video rendering that takes a lot of computer firepower.
    You can wait all night for a slow computer to do this.
    Just using Media Player doesn't need much power.
    Even a Digital TV tuner in a computer needs a lot of computer speed to work well.

    The other thing is that computer programs themselves cost money.
    A retail version of Auto Cad costs over $3000 although you can get student versions for less than $100. So, be ready for some ongoing expenses.

    Computer games are another application where sheer grunt makes a big difference, too. The faster the better. The computer may as well be able to play computer games since it is sure to need to do this.

    Fortunately all this power comes pretty cheaply these days, so you should get a pretty powerful machine without much cost.
  8. Jun 16, 2009 #7
    it's a labtop that he wants, so in general a 400 dollars computer would be fine for electrical engineering software?

    i am based on what MTAL told me at the beginning of the forum.

    I will appreciate your final opinion since you are the only source of reference right now.

    Thank you.
  9. Jun 16, 2009 #8


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    I'd still have a look at the numbers.
    If you like, send me a link to a computer you are thinking about. I may be able to give you an idea if it is any good or not.
    I suspect you get less power and flexibility in a laptop than in a desktop per dollar, but appreciate that you may not have a choice about this.
  10. Jun 16, 2009 #9


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    It would be on the lower range of functionality (though there are some bargains to be had on laptops from older stock, or used ones). If you can afford the $600, you can usually get something with a decent-sized (15" or greater) screen, and newer processor. Again, I have to reiterate: shop around a bit and see what's available at the price point you pick. And then see what's available for a little more, or a little less.

    C|Net is a good place to look for namebrand laptop reviews:

    eBay can be iffy, if you go that route. Never, ever, pay for anything with anything OTHER than PayPal (and keep in mind the fraud protection there often has limits--read the fine print). Remember also that you may or may not get warranty protection on these; that should factor into your decision.
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