If you are an engineering student planning to purchase a laptop right now or during the back to school season, then you’ll be searching for a powerful and versatile workstation that has lots of graphical grunt and can manage intricate tasks and demanding applications.
The exacting needs of an engineering student can sometimes make the hunt for the ideal laptop slightly easier, as it narrows your choices in an increasingly crowded market. Nevertheless, it can likewise make it challenging to find the best laptop that provides the power you require, while also costing an affordable amount of money. That’s where we come in, as we have actually put together this list of the absolute best laptops for engineering students to help you discover the ideal laptop for a perfect price.
So, exactly what do you need to search for in a laptop for engineering students? As we discussed, you’re most likely going to be running intricate programs, such as MATLAB or AutoCAD, which implies that you are going to need a laptop with an adequate processor to run them.
We would advise a laptop with a Quad-Core AMD, Intel Core i5 or Core i7 (7th or 8th gen) processor and at least 8GB of RAM, though 16 GB is even better. Stay away from Macs! Seriously, Apple computers may look good, but are more expensive vis-a-vis the specs and the software choice is also limited, and costly. A PC on the other hand is cheaper comparitely, and you can find a HUGE list of softwares for it, which may be even free and open source.
A lot of the programs engineering students depend on are also graphically intensive – particularly ones such as MATLAB, AutoCAD and Solid Works that are used for video rendering and 3D modelling. This means it is necessary to have a laptop computer with a dedicated graphics card – instead of an integrated one powered by the processor (Usually an Intel HD).
This is why some gaming laptops are really good options for engineering students, as they provide that kind of graphic power, and the fact that they can deal with games for when you relax after classes won’t hurt either. A large screen with a high resolution is likewise a good idea, and if you’re going to be working on site a lot, it would be a smart idea to have a look at some of the rugged laptops that are built to stand up to accidents on work sites.
With those requirements in mind, here is our list of the very best laptops for engineering students. These are arranged in ascending order, meaning the cheapest one is first. Depending on your budget, you can just select any one and it should do the job. These laptops are what you can call ‘the best bang for the buck.’ We keep this list updated (almost every month) as new laptops are coming out everyday and old ones can cost less/get discounted. (Links open in a new tab/window)
1. HP 15.6 Inch Budget Laptop – $394
The cheapest laptop with a quad-core processor, a dedicated graphics cars and a super fast SSD drive. This laptop is the ‘bare-minimum’. It will be a bit slow compared to others, and doesn’t have the best battery (it’s a 3-cell, whereas normal batteries are usually 6-cell), but it will do the job! Apart from an SSD drive, it also has a USB-3 port for fast transfer of files. It initially retailed for a $1000 when it launched, but is now discounted to less than $400 and only a few pieces remain on Amazon, because it is good (for its price!). If you get this, we do recommend upgrading to RAM to at least 8GB if you can.
2. Flagship Lenovo Ideapad 320 – 15.6′ HD Widescreen LED Laptop – $538
Although usually we don’t recommend Lenovo’s due to their flimsy built (excluding Thinkpads. They are solid), but this Ideapad is well-built. It has a better quad-core processor than the previous HP, more and faster ram (ddr4 vs ddr3) and a bigger hard drive (also an SSD). It has better battery life as well, and can last 5 hours in ideal usage, but weighs slightly more. Like the HP, it has a USB-3 port and a front facing webcam is integrated at the top of the widescreen. The screen is LED (which further helps in saving battery life). Another advantage the Lenovo Ideapad 320 has over the HP is that it includes Bluetooth. Definately recommende over the previous HP laptop IF you can afford the extra $142 it costs.
3. ASUS TUF FX504 – 15.6′ Full HD – $699
This is undoubtedly one of the best laptops at this price range. It even beats many laptops which are much more expensive than this. We featured this on our ‘Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000‘ and no doubt, this is also one of the best laptops for engineering students. It boasts an 8th gen (the latest) Hexa-Core i5 processor (yes, that’s 6 cores), GTX 1050 graphics card by Nvidia (which can run almost any current graphics software or any game available right now). It does not have an SSD drive, but instead has a whopping 1 TB Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD). SSHD’s boot the operating system from a small SSD, but use the normal drive for other storage. It is much faster than a 5,400 rpm or even a 7,200 rpm hard drive, but slower and cheaper than a full SSD. It’s Wifi is also very fast (gigabit) and can connect to speeds as high as 1.73gb/s. It has a backlit keyboard (you can see it in the dark), thin profile (good for portablity) and is very light weight for its class (weighing only 5 lbs).
4. Dell Inspiron 15 5000 – $980
Another superb 15.6 inch HD laptop, which was also featured on our ‘best gaming laptops for $1000‘ and it is also highly rated on Dell, Costco, Newegg and Amazon. Packing a 7th gen Quad core i7 CPU, it also has the Nvidia’s GTX 1050 dedicated graphics card, but with 4GB virtual memory instead of ASUS’ 2GB. For storage, it has a big and super fast 512GB SSD drive and another empty slot where you can add your own hard drive if you want to, along with the 512gb SSD. It has 3 USB-3 ports, Bluetooth, a cool backlit keyboard with full numpad, and a 6-cell battery (can last for 5-6 hours). It weighs around 5.7 lbs.
If you like these, or have any other comments, tips or suggestions, please do tell us! Next, we’ll be telling you about the best engineering laptops between $1,000 – $2,000 price range soon! Stay Tuned.