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Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

Hi all.
This is not "really" a topic on Aerospace Engineering, but I thought it could be interesting to post it here.
The fact is, I'm planning to buy a laptop (I'm still studying the Degree), but I would like someone who is really "into" Aerospace Engineering to advise me.
I know Apple's Macs are really good, but have you experienced some compatibility problems with the programs you use during your career and life? Do you think a PC would be better? And which one?
Thanks in advanced.

RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

   What software do you intend to run on your computer?  

   Have any of the analysis or 3D CAD or packages been ported to the Mac?

   Has the analysis and the 3D CAD package your eventual employer uses been ported to the Mac?


RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

You may not realize that modern Macs come with a complete toolchain, so any Linux source you can find can be compiled and run.  

... Which is not as easy as just installing Windows binaries, and not as secure from a vendor's monetization perspective, so a lot of mainstream apps are only available for Windows.  That alone may make your choice obvious.

Ever since personal computers were invented, the one I _really_ want costs at least 5000 USD, and only rarely do I have even a tenth of that available to spend.

Given my circumstances, I have become fond of used ThinkPads; I have three, but the newest is still old enough to carry the IBM logo.  I have nothing bad to say about newer, overtly Chinese, Thinkpads; I have no experience with them.

I think the best advice I can give you is to buy whatever is supported best at your school. ... where 'supported' means not just what's available at the store, but also includes what's popular among your professors and common among your peers.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

Get a PC.  If you're using it at school you don't want any hassle.  Same for industry.  The software will have a PC version, it might have a Mac version. (Spent last semester listening to a professor deal with "what about Mac users" questions, much to his frustration.)

Odds of your employer letting you use a personal laptop for work are slim if you're doing "real" engineering in Aerospace.  At most, you'll use it for work related communication and travel.  For that, lightweight is good, long battery life is good.  

I have known a few people (myself included) who use personal computers to sharpen skills on CAD / Math / FEA sorts of programs, but anything which is affordable to an individual will be sufficiently crippled to work on any decent laptop.  (I was running small FEA models on my 4 year old ASUS Eee netbook recently.) If you get a full feature version of real engineering software (think SolidWorks, ANSYS), there aren't many laptops which will really handle it well.

I suggest looking for something relatively inexpensive and portable (<=14", 5 + hrs battery).  On the odd chance you end up using it for work and it isn't sufficient, you'll have a much better idea of what you need then.  Anything whiz bang now will be out of date in a few years anyhow.

RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

While I haven't had to do any complex analysis, I have run high-end solid modeling software )(NX) on a Lenovo (IBM) laptop with few problems (the largest being data transfer over wifi).  Even had an auxiliary battery pack that could be used in place of the disc drive.  Hardwired it didn't seem much different than a desktop  With the appropriate graphics card, etc, laptops can be very functional.
I just replaced my personal Toshiba laptop with a used ThinkPad ($150 - Craigslist), as I have also become quite fond of them.  They seem a bit more substantial to me than many others I have seen, and I find them quite user-friendly.  One of these days I hope to get a more substantial Lenovo, and that should suffice for me for quite awhile.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

What point in your degree are you?

Unless you're in your senior year I wouldn't' worry too much about potential employers requirements but more about your university/college needs.

About the only 'work' I've done at home on my own computer has been checking email and maybe a bit of MS office work.

I have run CAD on company laptops but that's a different matter.  I dont think I'd be allowed a company license of CAD to run on my own PC somehow.  Or back in aerospace be allowed to work on company drawings, technical documents... on my PC.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Laptop for Aerospace Engineering

Go with whatever you like. I use and own both PC's (Lenovo) and Mac's (MacBook Pro 8th gen.)
For anything technical either does just fine. I must admit I like the Apple operating system better (more stable, quicker etc.) I run lots of different programming languages on both. I use TeXShop on the Mac for technical documents, it is slightly superior to TeXWorks for the Win 7. I have also run Microsoft Office on both either without a problem.
Some advantages of Mac vs. PC are there, but there is one advantage of PC over Mac I have encountered.
If you don't know NX CAD then your CAD will have to be done in Windows. If you know NX then you have everything. (not considering other open CAD software ...)
As a user of both and an avid research engineer, I suggest you don't go mainstream and get a Mac. The quality of the components and the OS are great.
However, if you are used to Windows and are one of those people that don't like to learn a few new things then get a PC and you will be just fine.

Good luck in your studies. Remember, good things don't come easy cheers


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