Computers & Electronics

Good laptop for new Engineering student ?

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  • Jul 27th, 2020 10:34 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 14, 2012
654 posts
492 upvotes

Good laptop for new Engineering student ?

Looking for laptop recommendations for my daughter who is starting Engineering course at Western.

I do not want to go overboard, because there is a good chance of it not having long lifespan (getting stolen or damaged), but at the same time do not want to cheap out and have her struggle with it.

She likes the 2-in-1 types, so far best value I found is Lenovo Flex 14, sold at MS Store, i5-10210U/8GB/256GB version for $750 or Intel i7-10510U/16GB/512GB version for $1050 should be comfortable even for some serious student level CAD work when using external monitor.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/p/lenov ... XXBCQ/8GP1

or perhaps this Flex 5 with Ryzen 5 4500U?

https://www.amazon.ca/Lenovo-Graphics-i ... B086226DDB

Any ideas? Thanks
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9 replies
Sr. Member
Apr 7, 2011
971 posts
602 upvotes
Toronto
Not sure what program she is in, but there isn't always a lot of CAD work, and when there is, there are lots of computers to use at school. Obviously with COVID, it might be a bit different this fall.

For note taking purposes, I notice that all the life science courses had students with laptops taking notes, but engineering courses students were mostly taking notes on paper. There are lots of diagrams, formulas and stuff like that so you can't easily type those out. You have to write those out the good ol fashion way.

I suggest she go to a store and try out the keyboard. The laptop will probably be used the most for typing up reports, doing research, and programming. So the keyboard is important. (Unless of course she plans on getting an external keyboard, in which case it won't be as much of an issue.

And ya, the one you listed isn't bad. But you might want to wait a few more weeks for back to school sales. They should be rolling out very very soon.
Deal Expert
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Aug 18, 2005
21011 posts
5592 upvotes
Burlington-Hamilton
Good choice... I generally prefer Lenovo. Not the sexiest of machines, but they tend to be much easier to service and repair compared to other brands. (The T-Series and P-Series are best overall.)

I'm typing this on a Lenovo P50 right now.
- casual gastronomist -
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 16, 2008
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Vaughan
Jucius Maximus wrote: Good choice... I generally prefer Lenovo. Not the sexiest of machines, but they tend to be much easier to service and repair compared to other brands. (The T-Series and P-Series are best overall.)

I'm typing this on a Lenovo P50 right now.
I agree on Lenovo T-series. Having use for personal and work T400, T420, T450, T480. Build not like a tank but very reliable.
...
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
12923 posts
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Ontario
I would even wait until she starts school so she can ask the teachers what the requirements are, will she need to do AutoCad or similar on the computer and so on. Or even email the teachers. This way if she needs the extra power she can buy a faster device if not the cheaper one would be more then enough for notes and internet.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2017
2806 posts
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Langley
Doesn't matter what she is studying.
She probably wants macbook
Deal Addict
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May 2, 2010
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Markham
Dreamrider wrote: Doesn't matter what she is studying.
She probably wants macbook
Most likely every engineering student needs to run Matlab on her laptop.
Matlab seems to have better support under Windows than under MacOS.
Jr. Member
Jun 18, 2019
131 posts
65 upvotes
I went through a few laptops during my engineering degree and I found my current surfacebook to be a good option.

For the most part, requirements are light for specs as most can be off loaded to school servers. But 2 things that I found to be essential was a touchscreen (bonus if it folds into a tablet style) and storage. Makes taking notes and having your projects on the same device a breeze

E: that 4500u lenovo flex seems like a great option obviously shop around for prices) but the ryzen series has been gaining a lot of traction among power users for being a workhorse of a CPU
Jr. Member
Dec 22, 2012
171 posts
39 upvotes
The AMD ryzen one you posted looks like a good deal. I wouldn't get anything with less than 16gb of ram, laptop ram can be expensive and annoying if not impossible to upgrade and 8gb is the bare minimum I'd go these days.

As a recent engineering grad myself, I can safely say that laptop will handle pretty much anything that she might need it to. The two things I found most important in my laptop were battery life (for taking notes in class and stuff) and having a comfortable keyboard.
Deal Expert
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Jun 12, 2007
18334 posts
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London
A business grade laptop like a lenovo thinkpad, dell lattitude or HP probook where you can get next day onsite service.
Robust construction, heavy duty screen hinges, metal chassis.

The worst thing that can happen is a cheap laptop breaks the week before exams or major assignments are due, then you find it's a two week turnaround for parts/ repairs. Now the kid is scrambling to find a replacement laptop and it it reloaded/ working - then pickup where he left off

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