Apple in Engineering

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by KingDanimus, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. KingDanimus macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2003
    New York
    I was curious if it was illogical for me to purchase an Apple computer going into Engineering in college. I would like any response from professionals or fellow students. Thanks!
  2. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    It would help if you were more specific. What kind of engineering will you be studying?
  3. qedigital macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2003
    Apple in Engineering

    It is true that it depends somewhat on what engineering discipline you're interested in and probably what school you're looking at. I know at least at my school there has been a push to move away from Windows and towards Linux as much as possible. However, we're more often than not having to boot up VMWare to run Windows to use something like a Word-to-osciloscope macro. At the same time, I can tell you that as far as professional electrical and mechanical engineering apps go, Windows dominates.

    In terms of MecE software, there are no 3D modelling and simulation packages available for OSX. This may be changing sometime as PTC is currently working on a Linux version of Pro/Engineer so there may be a port if the demand exists. But this may not even be an issue to you unless you are willing to spend the change necessary to build a box that will run this kind of app with ease.

    As far as non-Windows electrical circuit simulation goes, it's confined largely to a few open source command line utilities that are by no means as straightforward as something freely available (for students) like PSpice. I managed to stumble on a demo of a Classic PSpice app, but it was no longer supported and quite crippled.

    If you're more of a CompE type, I think you'll be quite happy with OSX. Grab yourself the (free) Developer's Toolkit from Apple and you're pretty much set. X11 support is decent now and you can login to a remote machine to run apps or compile.

    One software package that has recently resumed its Apple support is MATLAB from Mathworks. You'll likely become quite familiar with this package as well as Mathematica (also for OSX). If your university has the licensing set up, you should be able to login to a machine from anywhere on campus or at home and run either of these apps through the X11 terminal.

    So I guess it comes down to how you're planning on using your computer while in engineering school. If it's for coding, web, email, and word processing like most people, you'll be more than happy with an Apple. I know I am with the great Airport reception and portability of an iBook.

    But be aware that you're likely going to be spending a significant amount of time with a Windows box in one of the many labs using one of the many industry-standard apps.

    Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any more specifics.
  4. KingDanimus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2003
    New York
    Aerospace Engineering

    Thank you very much for that response. Aerospace discipline is very similar to that of mechE so I suppose that your response is that no OSX programs exist. However it is also true that the Computer labs are widely available throughout the campus.

    Thanks again,
  5. pEZ macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Just to add to that, I'm currently a Materials Science & Engineering major at UW-Madison. I have an iMac up at school and it does way more than I need it to. I have Mathematica and MS Office (unfortuately, in any engineering discipline Excel is a must). And in addition, I had plenty of fun showing off what my iMac could do that a PC couldn't - or at least did better. Lots of room to move around.
  6. hugemullens macrumors 6502a


    Dec 15, 2002
    I'm a mechanical engeneering major and find the mac works better than the PC on most things. I can fire up x11 and login to the labs and run mathematica, I-DEAS, Matlab, and anything else they need me to of their solaris systems from my dorm. I'm at Michigan Tech, you might want to find out what your labs are using, if they are unix labs you will be more than ok with a mac, but if they use windows, who knows.

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