Students

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

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 29th, 2011 9:36 am
Jr. Member
Dec 12, 2010
179 posts
4 upvotes
how big is everyones laptops?

i dont know whether to get a 15.6 inch or something smaller (going in to commerce)... any help is appreciated!
Newbie
User avatar
Sep 6, 2010
23 posts
2 upvotes
Toronto
apark17 wrote: how big is everyones laptops?

i dont know whether to get a 15.6 inch or something smaller (going in to commerce)... any help is appreciated!

How big are you and how far do you need to walk to classes?

If you're a 90 pound Asian girl, 15.6 inch is like carrying half of yourself in your bag. And since you're a 90 pound Asian girl, chances are the bag you're carrying it in must be fashionable (and thus, extraordinarily uncomfortable).

If you're a 275 pound linebacker, 15.6 inch is like carrying around an extra toothpick.

If you play vidjah games, 14.4 inch might be too small unless you bring a monitor.

I'd say 14.4 or 15.6 is good enough for commerce.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 3, 2008
7478 posts
3690 upvotes
I've seen people who bought laptops that are too large... end up also buying a netbook to carry around to class, while using the laptop in their room.

Smaller laptops are of course more expensive, but they also end up being lighter. I got a 14.1" Sony VAIO and my only regret is not having a numpad (but I did pick up an unused/unloved Dell USB keyboard with 2 USB slots for $2 at a garage sale)
Member
Aug 28, 2009
310 posts
7 upvotes
entering final year of eng here.


used a mac since year 1, compatability is a non issue. Dual boot gets the best of both worlds, and considering ssd's of today, it takes about 15seconds for a reboot, hardly troublesome.

And 75%+ of eng software you'll be using will be on high end lab computers anyway. Your laptop will be mainly used for research, checking email, and writing reports.

if money isn't tight, get a mac.
otherwise, get a PC.
Newbie
Aug 27, 2010
47 posts
Avi44 wrote: How was the data collected in this study? It is possible that tech savvy users are more likely to report their faults, let know enough to participate in such a study? Being a "premium" notebook vendor I would presume that a higher proportion of Lenovo users fall into this tech savvy group. By not providing detailed information of their methods, this study can't really be taken seriously.

Also, there is a meagre 5-7% absolute difference between the least reliable (HP) and most relable (Asus). Is that a significant difference? They don't even show statistics with their data. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

They provided a link to the study and their research methods if you read the article.

Tech savvy-ness has nothing to do with faulty hardware and calling tech support.

The reality is this: When Lenovo separated from IBM, their chassis ended up being constructed a lot poorer. I've used a vast range of Thinkpads for work so it's something I've noticed too. ( I didn't want to mention that because a quantitative study provides a stronger case.)

5-7% isn't meager. Scale it out to a million of consumers and we're talking about 50 000- 70 000 extra faulty laptops being shipped. That translates to a poor quality assurance job.
Sr. Member
Jan 15, 2007
936 posts
6 upvotes
Richmond Hill
i have a mac and a vaio. mac for anytime im not at my desk , and my vaio for when im at my desk. i havent had any issues with any compatibility issues either. my only issue with macbooks is only the mouse acceleration used , but again thats a small thing.
Sr. Member
Dec 28, 2006
973 posts
326 upvotes
I strongly recommend against getting a Mac for engineering. All you'll be doing is setting yourself up for a whole host of compatibility issues with Matlab, Pro-E, Solidworks and other essential engineering programs.

Sure, you can put out a half assed fix by running Windows on your Mac as well but... why put in that much effort? Mac doesn't offer anything exclusively special, all you would be doing is paying a premium for the privilege of having to run another OS.

A Mac would be fine for an Arts, Science, Business or Nursing student though.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 24, 2009
89 posts
36 upvotes
Thanks guys, so I have decided on getting a PC laptop instead of the Mac but now the question is what kind of laptop should I get for my engineering program? I don't game on PC's but I might start so I do want a laptop that can handle games (doesn't have to be amazing). Also I do want something that has a 5-6 hour battery life and a second gen i5 processor. If anyone knows on anything good please post the link here.

Thanks!
Banned
Aug 21, 2006
629 posts
94 upvotes
GTA
I would suggest pen and paper. Save your money.

I'm dead serious.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 3, 2008
7478 posts
3690 upvotes
Ixidor wrote: I strongly recommend against getting a Mac for engineering. All you'll be doing is setting yourself up for a whole host of compatibility issues with Matlab, Pro-E, Solidworks and other essential engineering programs.

Sure, you can put out a half assed fix by running Windows on your Mac as well but... why put in that much effort? Mac doesn't offer anything exclusively special, all you would be doing is paying a premium for the privilege of having to run another OS.

A Mac would be fine for an Arts, Science, Business or Nursing student though.

Why pay a premium when you can dual-boot linux for free? XP
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 10, 2006
3376 posts
610 upvotes
mistry121 wrote: Thanks guys, so I have decided on getting a PC laptop instead of the Mac but now the question is what kind of laptop should I get for my engineering program? I don't game on PC's but I might start so I do want a laptop that can handle games (doesn't have to be amazing). Also I do want something that has a 5-6 hour battery life and a second gen i5 processor. If anyone knows on anything good please post the link here.

Thanks!

I have this laptop but the ATI version, the only requirement it doesn't fulfill is the 5-6 hours of battery life, mine gets about 4 hours tops and it didn't have switchable graphics.

http://canadacomputers.com/product_info ... _id=040053

Lenovo has been fine for me and i believe from other reliability charts it ranked pretty well, atleast compared to HP.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 14, 2009
679 posts
240 upvotes
Windsor, Ont.
bleuwave wrote: I would suggest pen and paper. Save your money.

I'm dead serious.
I got through engineering with a pencil, a calculator, and a clipboard for class notes. You're mostly writing equations and drawing diagrams, so typing notes doesn't make a lot of sense. A laptop would have been a burden for lectures in math and engineering classes. Even when profs use powerpoint slides I find it's easier just to do hand-written notes.

However, you will want something for assignments and labs. The school will have a computer lab you can use, but it's much easier to do stuff on your own time and pace. Especially in 4th year when you're working on your capstone. My buddy I worked on capstone with had a laptop and it felt pretty much essential to have one then.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 9, 2008
4465 posts
423 upvotes
Toronto
Thinkpad X220.

The 12.5" screen is much more convenient to carry around than the 15" laptops most people have nowadays. It's an extremely powerful machine that is built very well. If you want something built like a damned tank, get the Thinkpad T420.

Don't get a Macbook, you may trouble running some software on it. Inb4ICanRunWindowsOnMyMac.. then why'd you buy a Mac anyway?

Also, I'd like to suggest as others have: just use a pen and paper. Saves money and a lot of junk you can't even write up very easily on a computer (equations or charts). But your program may require a laptop for certain classes so look into that beforehand.
Buy Bell, and you go to HELL! :-0
Deal Addict
Jun 29, 2009
2307 posts
211 upvotes
Toronto
mistry121 wrote: would it be smarter to get a cheap PC and update ever 1.5 years or a Macbook pro which supposedly last 4 years?
That sounds a lot like Mac "Genius" would say ... you know, those sales person in Macstore that practically is no different that the ones in BB or FS, just that they have better title and quite a few people actually think they are Mac Genius ...
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 31, 2010
3186 posts
111 upvotes
The hottest deal right now is the Dell 13.3" V131 i5 laptop for $649 (you can try your luck on reducing the price by talking with dell rep)
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 1, 2010
5291 posts
1391 upvotes
Kanata
Whatever you can afford. Most of it will be MS office for viewing lecture notes, doing assignments. Few odd programs like matlab, and programming language software java/c++. Most of it aren't resource hungry and are pretty old, at least when I did it. You'll use your laptop for notes and assignments mostly, and end up using the software in labs when you're in 3rd/4th year. Haven't read if you'll be living in residence but you'll be spending most of your time at uni in the labs as an engineering student.
Uh, yeah, I'd like to speak to a Mr. Tabooger, first name Ollie.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Apr 25, 2007
933 posts
68 upvotes
Markham
I'm at McMaster and although I'm not in engineering, I have quite a bit of friends in that faculty. None of them use Macbooks at all.

On the other hand, I see people in humanities and soc sci using macbooks all the time S:
I don't have a signature right now, help me think of one? :)

Top