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  • Computer help for engineering student

    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by MichaelKC, Apr 9, 2015.

    1. MichaelKC

      MichaelKC New Member

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      I am looking for some advice and hopefully I can get it here.

      I need to buy a new laptop that I can use IN ADDITION TO my desktop for school next year. All recommendations that I have found for Engineering students are for laptops that will be primary computers. I want to get a laptop that will supplement my desktop, powerful enough to take into a lab and be able to mostly complete many of the same functions but I dont want to be spending 1200-1500 on something that wont be an everyday computer.

      I have an XPS that will be three years old around the time classes begin in the fall and runs Windows 7 home with an Intel i7-3770 @ 3.40 GHZ and 12.0 GB RAM. In addition to papers and reports, I expect to use this with more demanding operations like design modeling in Autocad and running simulations.

      Computers have never been a strong suit of mine (I can get through a short conversation) and the questions I have are about specs and some may not even be all that important. Is the difference between a 5th gen i5 vs. 4th gen i7 vs. 5th gen i7 all that noticeable and needed for a student? Is 8.0 GB RAM enough to handle the work load i micht expect or should I push for 12.0? Wanting Windows 7 Pro is pretty much the only requirement I have. I've been issued Lenovo Thinkpads in jobs before and they seem to top most of the lists I have come across. For me I found them reliable but their price is very high, as is also the price for the HP ZBooks. Im leaning towards the HP Envy 15t or Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (though Im not crazy about this Dell)

      So any thoughts, suggestions, comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
       
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    3. Nate Burnett

      Nate Burnett New Member

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      There's not much difference between the processors, just remember faster processors (higher HZ), usually consume more power, which means your battery will drain faster. As for the RAM, 8 GB should be fine, but I would go for 12 you'll get better performance. The only reason to get more than 12GB of RAM would be if you think your models will be large files. For example, I'll load in many components, but if I load in too many then there wont be enough memory to support the program and it will crash. If you run into this problem or if you feel your computer is too slow you can always add more RAM later .
       
    4. ChrisW

      ChrisW Well-Known Member

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      I am in the difficult position of being allowed to work from home part of the week, but I have to buy my own hardware!
      Designing large assemblies in Solidworks, I have a Dell T3500 in the office3 with dual quad core xeon and 32GB ram. I satisfactorily run the same models at home with a T5400, similar machine but a generation earlier. My practice is to buy a top range machine two or three years old, ex-corporate and preferably with a refurb warranty.

      Alternatively, there are outlets which take factory refurb from Dell and sell with three year dell warranty at typically half original price.

      Last thing to remember is that you usually don't need anything like the power you imagine. I rum assemblies up to 12000 parts with 8GB ram. Also, upgrading the hard drive to solid state will speed up your laptop by the equivalent of one generation! The best upgrade you can make for little money.

      If you want to compare actual processor speed, look here: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/

      Good luck with your studies.
       
    5. MichaelKC

      MichaelKC New Member

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      Thanks for the input of the subject. I read your reply's which helped me do more research instead of being impulsive like I can be sometimes. A friend put me in touch with a refurbisher his company uses, a list of what they have in inventory, and found out they have a local location to me. I just picked up a Dell Precision M4600/i7-2860QM with 16GB RAM and 750GB HDD for under 500. I will be upgrading to an SSD so I asked them not in install windows, which brought the sale price down, and with review weights ranging from 6-11 pounds (I havent weighed it yet but feels closer to the 11 side) I feel safe knowing that I could beat a man to death with this laptop if I needed to, lol.
       

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