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Laptop suggestion for Mcmaster Engineering Program? (Macbook Pro? Dell? Acer?)

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  • Aug 29th, 2011 9:36 am
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Newbie
Mar 24, 2009
74 posts
18 upvotes

Laptop suggestion for Mcmaster Engineering Program? (Macbook Pro? Dell? Acer?)

Hey guys, I'm looking for some suggestions on laptops for my program.

So I'm off to live in Hamilton to attend Mcmaster University for Engineering. The thing is I can't decide between a Macbook pro and a regular windows laptop (Dell, Acer, Lenovo). It's a really hard decision to make since I don't really know what I am up against. Main concern is compatibility on a Macbook for engineering software but I know there's always VMware or other options to run it. Is it annoying to have to use VMware when running into a compatibility issue? I know Macbooks last longer then the typical PC but they get outdated pretty fast, would it be smarter to get a cheap PC and update ever 1.5 years or a Macbook pro which supposedly last 4 years? Please let me know what you guys think. If you know any good deals on windows laptops or Macbooks please post it here. And yes, price does matter to me but I'm looking at it in the long run, or at least the 4/5 years at university.

Thank you :)

P.S. Looking for a 13" to 15" laptop because I was told it's better to have a smaller laptop because you always have to lug it around with you.
41 replies
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May 30, 2005
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mistry121 wrote:
Aug 7th, 2011 8:44 pm
Hey guys, I'm looking for some suggestions on laptops for my program.

So I'm off to live in Hamilton to attend Mcmaster University for Engineering. The thing is I can't decide between a Macbook pro and a regular windows laptop (Dell, Acer, Lenovo). It's a really hard decision to make since I don't really know what I am up against. Main concern is compatibility on a Macbook for engineering software but I know there's always VMware or other options to run it. Is it annoying to have to use VMware when running into a compatibility issue? I know Macbooks last longer then the typical PC but they get outdated pretty fast, would it be smarter to get a cheap PC and update ever 1.5 years or a Macbook pro which supposedly last 4 years? Please let me know what you guys think. If you know any good deals on windows laptops or Macbooks please post it here. And yes, price does matter to me but I'm looking at it in the long run, or at least the 4/5 years at university.

Thank you :)

P.S. Looking for a 13" to 15" laptop because I was told it's better to have a smaller laptop because you always have to lug it around with you.

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Jun 3, 2009
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I'm planning to get a Lenovo Thinkpad T420s 14inch which weighs only just a little under 4lbs. I like it for the weight and the option to add an extra 3 cell battery in the dvd-rom compartment. + Thinkpad's keyboard are known to be one of the best.
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Jul 26, 2006
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Check the Asus K series of laptops. The K##xx-A1 model's have a 2 year WORLD WIDE repair (you can drop it Woodbine and Highway 7 area to get it repaired over night) and a 1 year "Accidental Damage" or as I call it - College/University protection. Spill water, Drop the laptop, if it's in a fire, or an electrical surge hits it, Asus will replace it free of charge in the first year. Check out http://adw.asus.com/content/adp/default.aspx
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donatepresent wrote:
Aug 7th, 2011 11:00 pm
I'm planning to get a Lenovo Thinkpad T420s 14inch which weighs only just a little under 4lbs. I like it for the weight and the option to add an extra 3 cell battery in the dvd-rom compartment. + Thinkpad's keyboard are known to be one of the best.

Great choice! I have a Thinkpad (edge) and I love mine. The keyboard is unmatched, better than a macbook keyboard if you ask me. Adding a bigger battery pack is a good idea, mine only last about 2.5-3 hours on full brightness while surfing the internet, don't know about the T420's battery life though. Lenovo's warranty support is great too, they really try to help you out.
Jr. Member
Oct 15, 2008
166 posts
34 upvotes
Any student in the technologies shouldn't be approaching a mac, imo... They just aren't made to the standards of standard PCs at the same price range are. There's also the issue of whether or not your software will be available on macs or if they're on par to the pc edition (I know mac photoshops tend to be worse)
Member
Jun 5, 2004
321 posts
23 upvotes
Get a PC. It can last you 4 years too, mine has.

There will be more PC specific programs you'll need to run than Mac specific ones. You might need to install Linux and stuff too. Bootcamp and VMware are great, but you can run into a lot of headaches setting everything up. Especially if you need to program things like FPGA's, the software is finicky enough as it is on native windows.
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May 8, 2005
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donatepresent wrote:
Aug 7th, 2011 11:00 pm
I'm planning to get a Lenovo Thinkpad T420s 14inch which weighs only just a little under 4lbs. I like it for the weight and the option to add an extra 3 cell battery in the dvd-rom compartment. + Thinkpad's keyboard are known to be one of the best.
+1
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Aug 15, 2010
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_Allan_ wrote:
Aug 8th, 2011 12:10 am
Check the Asus K series of laptops. The K##xx-A1 model's have a 2 year WORLD WIDE repair (you can drop it Woodbine and Highway 7 area to get it repaired over night) and a 1 year "Accidental Damage" or as I call it - College/University protection. Spill water, Drop the laptop, if it's in a fire, or an electrical surge hits it, Asus will replace it free of charge in the first year. Check out http://adw.asus.com/content/adp/default.aspx

This. You'll want a PC because 99% of your assignments in engineering use PC based programs that you'll acquire somehow to do at home rather than the computer lab. Plus first year is far from friendly to computers in residence.
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Jun 3, 2008
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Wait until you make your own money and have no debt before splurging on a Mac. If you're studying on borrowed money (whether OSAP or parents'), it doesn't make sense to increase your debt nor does it reflect well on you to spend others' money (eg. parents) carelessly.

If you like the novelty of playing with new operating systems on your computer, you can easily set up your computer to be able to boot into either Linux or Windows 7 without using VM. There are step-by-step instructions everywhere... try Linux Mint or Ubuntu.
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Oct 17, 2009
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omg u should totally get a mac. u dont wanna look like a broke looser in front of the other kids right. do u think anyone respects a pc? nope! and its not that it just makes you look cool, it will last. u alredy said that u wanna stay there for 5 YEARS! thats a long time! choose a mac, it's better for everything!
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Apr 14, 2007
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Montreal
mistry121 wrote:
Aug 7th, 2011 8:44 pm
Hey guys, I'm looking for some suggestions on laptops for my program.

So I'm off to live in Hamilton to attend Mcmaster University for Engineering. The thing is I can't decide between a Macbook pro and a regular windows laptop (Dell, Acer, Lenovo). It's a really hard decision to make since I don't really know what I am up against. Main concern is compatibility on a Macbook for engineering software but I know there's always VMware or other options to run it. Is it annoying to have to use VMware when running into a compatibility issue? I know Macbooks last longer then the typical PC but they get outdated pretty fast, would it be smarter to get a cheap PC and update ever 1.5 years or a Macbook pro which supposedly last 4 years? Please let me know what you guys think. If you know any good deals on windows laptops or Macbooks please post it here. And yes, price does matter to me but I'm looking at it in the long run, or at least the 4/5 years at university.

Thank you :)

P.S. Looking for a 13" to 15" laptop because I was told it's better to have a smaller laptop because you always have to lug it around with you.

I don't know where you're getting your info from that Macs last longer than regular PCs. Don't be a part of the fanboyism with the whole Apple is the best. First there are very few Mac based engineering programs. Second, MacBook Pros are already outdated for what laptop hardware already exists. Apples = looks and design and crappy hardware except for maybe their screen.

Linux has more engineering products out there that you can use compared to Mac.
Jr. Member
Aug 18, 2010
170 posts
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I'm looking at the dell 15z with the 1080 screen option. I think the resolution could be really useful for writing essays with a split screen. It Doesn't weight that much for a 15" laptop and the battery life is solid. I'm waiting for the Dell back to school sale... hopefully they give a decent discount off of it :<
http://www.dell.com/ca/p/xps-15z/pd
Newbie
Aug 27, 2010
47 posts
What engineering discipline are you going into? As a computer science student, I've found OSX to be best developer platform bar none. I saved a lot of time setting up everything so I think I got the better bang for the buck in the end. They do not support a lot of CAD design software, such as Solidworks, VeriCAD, and SolidEdge, however, so if you're not in SoftEng, CompSci, or ECE, I'd get a Windows laptop. Asus UL series is something is pretty great.
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Aug 9, 2011
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Go with the Macbook, it has been reliable through my 2 years of studies so far. I had a horrible experience with Lenov... So stay away from that! Thats my advice for you.

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