Apple Computer vs. Engineering software

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DarkRevenant, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. DarkRevenant macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2008
    I'm currently a senior in high school and have been accepted to a few universities as an engineering major. My parents have been generous enough to permit me to choose from nearly any laptop I want for college, and I really would like to get a mac. My only problem/concern is that I've heard macs are not fully compatible with engineering software. Does anyone know anything about this or have any firsthand knowledge concerning this issue?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    If you know what the software is you could check it, but if you don't you could always run windows.
  3. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    I did a Computer Science degree in school and used a G4 PB the entire time.

    I suggest getting a MBP and running both OS X and Windows. The power of the MBP will be perfect for running Auto Cad in the Windows environment.
  4. gertruded macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    Northwestern Illinois
    Be SURE to check what your school recommends Then wait until just before school starts and buy the latest updated machine (and recommendation). You should be able to then keep the same laptop for all four years.

    Do NOT buy without buying an approved make and model. Buy from the campus store if possible.

  5. Fooj macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2007
    I run AutoCAD 2008 LT, doesnt have the 3d functionality, in windows via parallels on my 2.2ghz MBP, and it runs fine, better than my windows desktop pc at work, I have 4gig of ram with parallels set to run with 2gig of that.

    Any FEA analysis program should run fine to, I have not had any problems.
  6. twitter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    how big is your windows partition that you have set up for CAD?
    Would it work fine with 10 or better 30GB?
    How does parellels with CAD running?

    So there are problems with 3d in parallels on a mac??
  7. Fooj macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2007
    Currently I let parallels sort my partition out as needed, is increased and decreased depending on what runs.

    The parrallels folder in my documents is 8.7gig, but that doesnt just include Autocad, it I have access installed and some other GIS software, so I would guess 10gig would be ok.

    It runs fine in parallels, probably better than on a windows machine, but i only run the LT version, so no 3d functionality so i cannot comment on here, Im sure you could find someone on here who runs its though.
  8. number9 macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2004
    I just graduated in the spring of 2007 as a mechanical engineer and I got one of the sun-flower iMac G4's as a high school graduation present back on 2003.I had that until the summer between junior and senior year when I bought myself a new Intel iMac. From my experience, I would get the computer that you'd most want for daily use for the next 4-5 years of your life. Generally, most good engineering schools will have one if not several dedicated computer labs full of computers no older than 4 years running all of the specialized engineering software you'll ever need. You may find that as you get further into your 4 years there, you'll be spending more and more of your time in the engineering building, because you'll be doing work in a lab you need or because you can work with your classmates and because it is a lot more conducive to getting stuff done than your dorm room. Most of the software that the school would be running, is expensive to purchase. Some often have special student deals, and aren't too expensive, but most still are.

    Basically, other than writing up mind numbingly long and large amounts of reports for your classes, there probably won't be much other work you would want to do outside of the computer labs. In 4 years, I only twice REALLY needed engineering software on my computer... once was freshman year I went out and bought the student version of MatLAB because I needed more time to write a program, and then when I bought the Intel iMac I ran SolidWorks 2006 on Windows Boot Camp so I could do work at home for my internship.

    So basically, get a Mac, you'll love it. For the engineering software, 9 times out of 10, you'll just use the computer labs!

    Good luck with engineering, and enjoy your new Mac!
  9. Agurri macrumors 6502


    May 8, 2005
    Québec, Canada
    I'm about to complete my second year as a student in electrical engineer and my Macbook served me well at the moment. I've been able to find alot of replacement of windows program for the mac. I've used xcode for programming in C++ instead of kdevelop.iWork instead of office. The only thing I still need to be mac os x'ized is Matlab.... It's really the only app I use in Windows. I don't have AutoCAD installed, but I think I'll have to do it this summer. Oh, another program I run in Windows that I haven't find a good replacement is orCad, a electric schematic/simulation program.

    As for the laptop itself, ask yourself what is more important to you. But, as a read you original post, if you can "virtually" take any laptop, I would consider the Macbook Pro. The MacBook is great for portability and such, but you'll want the extra screen space / more memory when working with a lot of apps.

  10. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    Get the most bad*** MBP and use bootcamp for Windows. Good Luck!
  11. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    ditto what number9 said: Most of the engineering software is expensive and your school should have plenty of computer labs available for those times you need to run that software. I would say get the best computer that you will enjoy personally.
  12. AMessy macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    I agree with the people who said you will be doing most of your work in the labs. I had macs throughout my college years, before the intel switch, and had no problems by not being able to run the engineering software. The only programs I used on my personal computers were MatLab and Office.

    Most of the engineering programs I used were only for a specific class, so purchasing an expensive piece of software to use for a few months didn't make much sense when i'd have to buy new expensive software the next semester.

    I'd get a MacBook Pro if I had to go back now, I didn't get my PowerBook until my Senior Year and wished I had had a notebook the entire time. Plus with the Pro if you come across a need to run some high end software you will have the power to do so, even if it is with boot camp.
  13. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Most engineering software is very expensive and requires a very fast computer so you use labs no matter what laptop you get.

    To Agurri: Matlab has an OS X version that runs very well. You can buy the student version direct from Mathworks for $99 or often you school will give it to you free since it is such a bread and butter program. I am running it on my PowerBook G4 right now.
  14. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    As someone about to graduate from a heavy engineering school, I'll state flat out that you shouldn't waste money trying to buy a computer to run this or that. As others have said, you will use computer *labs* for real work. Your personal computer will be used for almost nothing more than writing papers and downloading music.
  15. Agurri macrumors 6502


    May 8, 2005
    Québec, Canada
    Thanks, but I knew it was available. I have the PC version because we can have it at our university for far less than that. Anyway, it's great to have it even I don't use it too much.
  16. Sogo macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2004
    As stated before you can always run windows and have whatever program you need to run. Currently I have Matlab installed on my powerbook, and it runs ok. I will be buying a MBP very soon because I need codewarrior & Visual studio for my senior design project. I have been using the school computers to do all my coding and what knot, but sometimes I just wish I was home so I could make some food or just be at home. But Since my laptop cannot run windows, I have to stay on campus. Which I personally love, but there are those days I want to sleep. I too suggest asking the school for some software, you can usually get it for free.
  17. DarkRevenant thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2008
    Hey guys, thanks for all the replies. I am 95% sure I am going to go with the MBP - one of the 15 inch variants.

    Now that I am thinking about it, it would be smart to hold out as long as I could before I purchase it, right? I thought Apple offers some back to school specials, as well in 5 or so months, the MBP could have been upgraded again by then. Any comment on this?

    Thanks in advance.
  18. Agurri macrumors 6502


    May 8, 2005
    Québec, Canada
    Well, that's what I did with my MB almost 2 years ago... I bought it 3 weeks before school's start... and I did get the promotion with the iPod :).
  19. Sogo macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2004
    The only difference in waiting, special wise, is that you get an Ipod promotion. By that i mean on top of your $200 dollars savings you get the option of buying an ipod with some kind of discount. So unless you want a new ipod then you may want to get it now. I personally waited until summer 4 years ago because I wanted an Ipod and I knew that was the only way i was going to convince my parents to buy one. Hell, i had a hard time getting them to get me a laptop in the first place.
  20. Enzo macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I would wait to buy the laptop unless you NEED it.

    Regarding using the laptop for engineering, you should be fine. I graduated with a civil major and electrical minor and the only software I used for engineering on my laptop was:
    AutoCAD via Parallels
    Matlab in OSX
    MathCAD via Citrix in OSX

  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First off "what enginerring software". I'm sure there is plenty of sftware that will run on a Mac and I'm sure there is plenty that will not. What matters is if the specific software you need can run on a Mac. Do you have a list of what you need?

    Next, remember that Macs can run Windows Anything that can run under windows can run in Windows under VMware.

    Lots of enginerring software runs under Linux too. Almost all of that can run on a Mac either directly of via VMware.

    The bottom line is that the Mac can run anything.
  22. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    Go to the school and ask someone. It's almost as if people today are afraid to ask ACTUAL LIVING PEOPLE:eek:.
  23. jaypunkrawk macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2007
    Lewisville, TX
    There is not an OS X version of SolidWorks, but I'm sure you could run it in Boot Camp. I wish you the best. Engineering majors are not easy, but they'll pay dividends in the end! I'm a mechanical engineer, btw.
  24. pensfan macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2008
    Yes, generally imaginary dead people have trouble using computers, but these forums must be the exception.
  25. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    very well put.

    im a 5th year mech engineer graduating this may and what he said was spot on.

    you do NOT run engineering programs on a personal computer as you wont have the licenses and the lab computers are a lot faster

    i got by with an emac my first 3 years and now use a macbook.

    all you will do on your personal computer is
    1)internet and music
    2)write reports
    3)im and maybe gaming

    you will not be running FEA or CFD programs on it lol

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