The best computers for engineering students mainly need two crucial features: power and portability. These machines should be powerful enough to handle computationally demanding coursework while also being portable and energy-efficient enough for a student’s on-the-go lifestyle. The portability factor is particularly vital since engineering students will typically have classes to attend and mandatory fieldwork to conduct.
Let’s take a look at the best computers that are most suitable for the needs of engineering students.
Criteria to Consider
The best machines come with high-end processors suited for heavy computing tasks. The CPU is one of the most important factors when picking out a computer, but what might be tricky is finding a good CPU that fits both the needs and the budget of an engineering student. Intel Core i5 and i7 are good benchmarks for the type of CPU power you should be looking for.
Graphics cards usually come a closed second to CPU’s on the list of the top hardware components to consider in a computer. The best computers that can be used in an engineering workflow are usually those that can handle heavy renders, 3D modeling, and intensive simulation computations. For laptops, we would recommend dedicated cards as opposed to integrated ones, but integrated graphics cards have seen quite an improvement in the last few years.
Memory and Storage
When we’re talking about the amount of RAM (memory) and the amount of disk space (storage) a computer needs, it really depends on the needs of the user. Typically, you’ll want a lot of RAM for machines mean to do intense work - 16GB to 32GB is a good range. As for storage, this is where you can afford to cut back on if your budget is looking tight. There’s always the option of using external storage or online clouds.
Display is where you start to really weigh your personal options. If you’re using a desktop, you can go as big as you can within your budget. Alternatively, you can opt for smaller screens but have more than one monitor, which is best for multitasking setups. For laptops, big screens let you have more information displayed as once but aren’t nearly as portable as smaller screens.
The choice of OS will solely depend on what kind of programs are being used in their school, class, and engineering field. Some programs only run either on Windows or on Mac, although most offer functionality with both. In this case, you’ll need to do your own research on what types of programs you’ll be using in school.
In terms of price, desktop computers will typically be cheaper than laptop equivalents that have the same specifications. But there are also laptop options out there specifically priced for students.
Best Computers for Engineering Students
1. Dell XPS 15 - Best Overall Computer
The Dell XPS 15 has been on the top of many a student’s wishlist for years now, and for good reason. It’s a solid, reliable machine not just for engineers or students, but for laptop users in general. And it has customizable features for those working with a tighter budget. It sports the latest and greatest in hardware, software, and accessories.
15.6” screen (with optional 3.5K OLED touchscreen upgrade) 1920x1200 / 3456x2160 / 3840x2400, 60Hz
Memory: 8GB - 64GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB - 8TB
Price: $1,549.00 - $4,674.00 (depending on the options and add-ons)
Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5 / i7 / i9
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics / Nvidida GeForce RTX 3050
Great display Amazing feel and performance
Can get pricey with the included higher-end hardware Mediocre webcam
2. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) - Best Apple Computer
Apple’s most recent updates on its proprietary chips have given it a fighting chance against the CPU and GPU power of its Windows-based laptop competitors. Couple that with Apple’s track record of releasing consumer-favorite machines year after year, and its latest iteration of the MacBook Air makes for one of the best Mac-based laptops for aspiring engineers.
13.6” Liquid Retina 2560x1664
Memory: 8GB - 24GB
Storage: 246GB - 2TB
$1,199.00 - $1,499.00 (depending on the options and add-ons)
Processor: Apple M2 chip Graphics: Integrated
Extremely portable Long battery life
Pricey for its specifications
3. Dell XPS Desktop - Best Desktop
If you’re truly looking for a desktop, the best option would be to source each part of the desktop according to your needs and budget. But if you want something pre-assembled, the desktop version of Dell’s XPS line is a solid pick.
Memory: Up to 128GB DDR5-3600
Storage: Up to 2TB
$749.99 - $2,579.99 (depending on the options and add-ons)
Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5 / i7 / i9
Graphics: Up to Nvidida GeForce RTX 3090
Limited USB-C ports
Not portable like laptops
Key Takeaway: 2023’s Best Computers for Engineering Students
Different engineering fields require different tools to work with. But even with the wide variety of engineering industries, one thing that ties all of it together is the usefulness of a good computer. There is such a large number of options available out there that choosing the right machine might seem too daunting. But with the benchmarks that our list has provided, you should have a clearer idea of what to look for and how much your budget should be.
Feel like these suggestions are not enough? You can check out our guide for 2022 below and our picks for the last year!
Best Computers for Engineering Students in 2022
1. RAZER 15
The Razer Blade 15 is a great option if you’re after a high-performance computer, not only it’s a high-quality product but it’s also very portable with its thin design.
This computer is fundamentally a powerful gaming machine with an extraordinary 8th generation Intel Core i8-7H 8750 core processor with speeds up to 6GHz that can comfortably support multiple tasks at once. Additionally, it’s powered by a 7-core 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9H processor up to 9750GHz. With such processors, this laptop is fast and powerful when running heavy applications.
This computer will deliver great high-resolution video performance that will come very handy when using the software typically used by engineer students and professionals alike such as Catia, SolidWorks, ANSYS, Matlab, and Civil 3D.
I seriously struggle to think of software that the Razor 15 can’t run. The only drawback is that it is very expensive, but it’s worth it as this is our pick for the best laptop for computer engineering.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeFprce GTX 1060 Max-Q
- RAM: 32GB
- Screen: 15.6 “OLed 4K Touch 60 Hz, factory calibrated
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Price: from $1,699.99
2. HP Specter x360
Our second best computer for engineering students is the HP Specter x360. Equipped with a 15.6″ multitouch display and 4K (3840 x 2160) screen resolution the HP Specter x360 has the power to handle the performance required to run CAD, MATLAB, or Mathcad. Thanks to his 10th Gen i7-10510U 1.8GHZ powerful processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics processor (2GB GDDR5 dedicated video memory). There’s really no load that this machine can’t take on, and the 16GB DDR4 RAM works great for extreme multitasking.
Speaking of onboard memory, it comes with 512GB SSD and 32GB Optanea a revolutionary new memory technology that speeds up the system, delivers high speed and responsiveness without compromising system storage capacity. Furthermore, it has a 360 ° flip-and-fold design, you will experience both the laptop and tablet. The backlit keyboard adds fun while typing and the fingerprint reader provides the necessary security. A 6-cell Li-ion battery can keep you connected all day.
- CPU: Intel Core i7
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q design
- RAM: 16GB RAM
- Screen: 15.6 inch touch, 3840 x 2160 pixels
- Storage: 512GB - 2TB SSD
- Price: from $1,499.99
3. Dell XPS 15
Undoubtedly, this laptop is one of the best computers for engineers. The Dell XPS 15 has a structure characterized by a thin and light chassis, a fashionable design that combines jaw-dropping power and good technical characteristics. Plus, it comes with a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition that gives you an extra layer of security.
- CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i15 - 17
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics, NVIDIA
- RAM: 8GB - 64GB
- Screen: 15.6 “FHD, 500 nit display
- Storage: 256GB - 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
- Price: from $1,299
4. Asus Zephyrus G14
This engineering computer is designed as a gaming laptop. In addition to its incredible performance, the Asus G14 boasts an ultra-realistic screen, an extraordinary battery, and a thin and light chassis that make it perfect for transporting to the construction site.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti-RTX 2060
- RAM: up to 32GB
- Screen: 14 inch Full HD screen with anti-glare function.
- Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
- Price: from $1,499.99
5. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Another great option when considering which laptop to buy for engineering studies is the new Microsoft Surface Pro 8 with Windows 11. With this machine, in addition to your software, you can also take notes during lessons and quickly sketch or write down notes that come to your mind during the meeting and design sessions. Definitely, a laptop that you can still use it after your studies considering its versatility.
Furthermore, its features include Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and more.
- CPU: Intel Core 11th Gen i5 or i7
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)
- RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB LPDDR4x
- Screen: Touchscreen 13 inches 2880x1920
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB SSD (Wi-Fi, LTE); 512GB, 1TB SSD (Wi-Fi)
- Price: from $1,099.99
In this guide, we’ve tried to help you choose the best computer for engineering students. As we’ve seen, CPU, hard disk, RAM, and the ergonomics given by the monitor and keyboard, as well as the weight and autonomy of the battery are all important features to consider.
The best laptops for engineering students must be portable, have a fast CPU, dedicated graphics and long-lasting battery life, good storage, and be lightweight, better components lead to better performance; obviously, this means that these laptops can be quite pricey. If you’re a student on a limited budget Vagon could be a great option for you. Being Vagon(https://vagon.io/) cloud-based, it has the particular feature of allowing you to run your engineering software on your old laptop, and to achieve top-of-the-range computer performance!