Electrical Engineers on Macs?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Laplace, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Laplace macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #1
    Hi all, I'm in college studying Electrical Engineering and I am making the switch to a Mac soon. I was wondering if there were any other EE guys/gals out there who could help me with some App issues that I might potentially have with a Mac, such as Altera Max Plus, PSPICE, etc.

    I have looked for some Mac apps of these, but I haven't come up with anything productive. Does any have any recommendations?

    I guess i'm looking for some reassurance before I plunk down 2K on a Mac.

    Laplace
     
  2. dxm113 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    #2
    you probably wont find any of those programs for a mac.

    but . . . you're school should have labs available for you to use those programs if you need

    So for what it's worth (I'm no EE - degrees in physics, and Mech E ) I've always had a Mac in my room, and would use the school labs for a few select programs.

    Can't really say that I ever wished I had a PC instead.
     
  3. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    The Dallas 'burbs
    #3
    There are versions of SPICE available, here's a link

    However I don't know of any versions of Altera or Xilinx software that work for OS X at the moment. It will require a pretty big market shift in order for them to release something for OS X. However they do have Linux versions of their tools.

    As was mentioned before you should be able to utilize computer labs for some of the work and since most of your Altera/Xilinx design projects will be done in HDL you only need a text editor to do it on your Mac. I found jEdit works well for giving context highlighting for a variety of languages. It is Java based and could definitely improve the UI but it does the job.
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    Depends on your needs...

    I'm a physicist by training myself, but do a fair amount of EE-like (microwave) work. I recently returned to the light side after a 15 year absence and added an iBook G4 to my home computing arsenal. I love it, though I don't do much heavy duty work on it spending most of my time on in Safari/iLife/iWork/Office.

    I haven't used it myself, but have heard good things about iSPICE http://sourceforge.net/projects/ispice/ and MacSPICE http://newton.ex.ac.uk/teaching/CDHW/MacSpice/ which might satisfy your PSPICE needs. No clue what Altera does. A colleague who uses SPICE a lot, uses an old commercial version that runs in Classic on his PB.

    Note that since OS X is unix based, many tools that originated in unix (like SPICE itself) will already have OS X ports and/or can be compiled out of the box. Look for linux tools that may already suit your needs, see if they have already been ported (e.g. fink) and if not check SourceForge, Freshmeat, etc... and try your hand at porting it yourself.

    We have a custom rf simulation tool that we use extensively which I was able to port over to OS X thanks to the fact that it had already been ported over to gcc on linux from its Visual C++ origins. Tweaking the makefile and compiling it took < 5 minutes.

    Balam
     
  5. hhlee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    #5
    Just finished up my EE degree last year - I bought an iBook for the last 2 quarters.

    Overall, I'd say not to bank on being able to find mac versions of the software. Even if you could, often times the school pays a large sum of money to get the toolboxes you need (Matlab). I was never big on analog ckt design so I don't know if you can get PSPICE for mac or if it needs any other additions. But if you're going into digital design and Verilog, you should be able to rely just on logging into school servers for that.

    If you really like Mac. You might want to look at something like an iBook or something cheaper - don't spend 2k for the computer + software costs + deal with compatibility issues. The homeworks take long enough already....
     
  6. Laplace thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #6
    Thanks for the quick responses guys, I think iSpice and MacSpice will more than satisfy my needs. I didn't even think about OS X being Unix based. That opens up alot more possibilities.
     
  7. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #7
    I'm a current Electrical Engineering major (Junior year), and my PowerBook is my main computer. I have been able to find working Verilog and Spice programs for the Mac, but to be honest, the PC stuff is much better. That said, I just use the school lab computers, and occasionally Virtual PC and I get by just fine and dandy. Can't seem myself switching back to Windows for any reason. It's just not worth it.

    PM me if you want more info on specific Spice and Verilog apps for the Mac.
     
  8. comic book guy macrumors newbie

    comic book guy

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    #8
    I think you can use a mac pretty well for EE, also i am not doing mutch circuit or digital design stuff. But most of the imptortant tools we use in school run on unix so it should be possible to run them on a mac. With some knowledge and work you can run some (i think most, but i havent tried :D ) unix apps on your mac with X11.

    For example TheMathWorks did a pretty good job with R14 of Matlab. You just throw the CD in your drive and after some clicks (and changing CD's) it works. With R13 i had much more trouble until it worked on my mac. Basically the Matlab mac distribution comes on the same cd as the linux version and is not very different (it uses X11 as window manager). I hope more software companies see that it is not a big task to make a mac version if you have a working unix version and so we will see even more engineering apps for mac os in the future.

    On some schools you can log on to the intranet and use their license manager / license.dat. So you can use all the toolboxes they have paid for.
     
  9. Laplace thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #9
    I'm so glad I got a number of responses. I guess theres comfort in numbers. I am having a hard time finding anyone in my classes who uses Macs (I think living here in the heart of the south you won't find many Mac users, just a guess though).

    Is there any websites out there that you guys frequent regarding Engineering on Macs? On Apple's website they make it sound like all Scientists/Engineers should be using Macs and that software compatibility is a non-issue, but I question the validity of that statement. I just wish the rest of the world would open up to Mac, if for nothing else to make software more available!
     
  10. hhlee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    #10
    That's cuz in the end, you usually write your own software! or you port some unix tool.
     
  11. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #11
    (Old thread, but I found it in a search, and thought I'd post). There are at least 6 people out of around 70 in my electrical engineering classes that use PowerBooks. I know because I see them using them in classes and lab. We do sometimes use Windows only software in class (PSpice, Verilog), but like I said earlier, I've found Mac equivalents, and between Virtual PC and the lab computers, I have no trouble with having a Mac. Matlab runs fine on my PowerBook with X11 (it's open as I type this).
     
  12. xpto macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #12
    MacSpice

    Hello!

    What is the language used to programme MacSpice?
     
  13. Switchfoot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    #13
    You may want to start your own thread-- these guys are having a conversation roughly a decade in the past.
     
  14. certsoft macrumors member

    certsoft

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    John Day, OR
    #14
    The only Mac based engineering software I currently use is Eagle for schematic capture and PCB layout, XCode for Unix command line based software development, and ZOC for communicating with embedded systems over serial port.

    Any compilers that I need for embedded systems and Windows software development run on Windows XP or 7 virtual machines on the Mac.
     
  15. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68000

    JeffyTheQuik

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Location:
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    #15
    Wow! I forgot all about ZOC, as it was the best software for OS/2, back in the 90's.
     

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