calling all engineers!


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 9, 2005
At the Airport. UK
hello again all,

my friend is currently doing an aeronautical engineering course, and is in the market for a new computer. he is tempted by the 15" powerbook (i showed him mine) but needs a little more convincing as with regards to the software apps he may use during his course.

im wondering if you could give ny advice, and whether a mac would be suitable for engineering softwares/ engineering environs.




macrumors member
Jan 22, 2005
you can use Mathematica and MatLab on OSX, as well as many other scientific apps

as far as CAD, vectorworks does nicely with autocad compatability, not sure how well it interfaces with ProE however.

I have two science degrees (Physics and Mechanical Engineering) from two different schools. Each school had computer labs (both mac and Pc) that had all of the critical software that the students needed.

I had a Mac (iMac / Pb) at both schools, however I needed to run software on my own computer for classes (used the labs)

Personally my favorite "science" apps have been run on a Mac

i guess it really depends what he's going to be doing. i don't see why he couldn't use a Mac, unless every program he uses is only for Windows machines

do a seach to see if the apps he will need are available for OSX, that may be of some help.

not sure if any of this helped. . . :confused:


macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2003
Dallas, Texas
dxm113 said:
you can use Mathematica and MatLab on OSX, as well as many other scientific apps
A friend of mine who has done work on both the Space Shuttle and the Mars Rover uses Mathematica both at home and at work. At work they bought him a brand new G4 Dual shortly before the G5s were announced, and at home he's using an old G3.

I'm sure that he would love to have the newest G5 2.5 Gig, but a few months ago when I mentioned that Mathematica had updated their program, he said that he had already installed it and was very happy with the update.

So it appears that he's happy using that powerhouse program on the aforementioned computers, so I don't think that your friend will find the current 15" PB lacking.


macrumors regular
Sep 28, 2004
Portland, OR
Your friend needs to itemize the software he will need and find out just what platforms that software is available for. It comes down to whether OSX will run his applications, period.

I'm a chip designer and I'm buying a powerbook in....three weeks. But there are several crucial software packages I use every day that do not run on OSX. However, those specialty apps do run on linux, and if it runs on linux it can be displayed remotely on your mac desktop via X11. That's how I'm getting around the problem; I have access to linux servers everywhere I work.

So if your friend has a PC lying around he could install linux on it as an application server, provided the few apps he needs that don't support MacOSX are available for linux.

Most engineers like Macs because of their unix pedigree, not the fancy graphical interface that attracts other people. Given the choice between a good gui and unix I'll pick unix for engineering work every time. But given the choice between unix + fabulous gui (OSX) vs unix + lousy gui (everything else) I'll definitely spring for OSX, so long as I can still get work done.

Then again, ask me again a month after I get my hands on my 15" powerbook.



macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2004
Chicago, IL
I frequently remotely log in and run ProE and Matlab from the University workstations on my personal computer, a 15" PowerBook using X11. Sure it is a little slower than having it on your computer directly but it works well and is easy to do.

Also, any egineering school worth anything should have computer labs with the needed software installed on it. So the worst thing that could possibly happen is you will have to go to a computer lab to do some of your homework. Good place to work with a partner or get help anyway.

Basicaly, he should be fine with a Mac.


macrumors member
Nov 29, 2004
in a van down by the river
I'm a computer and electrical engineer and use a 15" pb all the time. For my anlog/mixed-signal IC design courses I need to ues x11 to remote login to the linux machines but its great. I usually pick a computer and set up a second moniter and expose makes working with all the design tools much easier. As a matter of fact its what I'm doing at this moment. As far as other programs, I use Matlab. I'd love to use Mathematica but our university pushes Matlab.



macrumors newbie
May 7, 2004
Belfast, N. Ireland
OS X for engineering

I'm trying to convince a structural engineer friend to get a Mac, and he wants one, but until it runs Autocad he's never going to switch. I don't know why Autodesk don't release this for OS X, if they make the jump to *nix, then they could release it for Linux also.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 9, 2005
At the Airport. UK
hey, thanks guys....

since i do not do aeronautical engineering ( i do management instead) i would not know what programs he uses, but ive introe's him to macrumors wo he may post here....



macrumors member
Jul 24, 2002
I'm a civil engineer and I battled at Uni using my mac in an exclusively PC environment. A lot of the proprietry software for geotech, structures and transport wasn't mac compatible and I wouldn't have had the cash to buy the different versions even if they were. I hope your mate is able to use a mac because I reckon it'd kill me having to buy a PC laptop. My 3.5 year old ibook still looks the goods compared to my friends' brand new dell thingy.

Of course, VPC is always an option if horsepower isn't the order of the day.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
Bay Area
I don't believe you will be able to use a Mac exclusively in an engineering school, but as long as you have access to the PC labs to run the software that you can't, you should be able to use your Mac most of the time. I'm a computer engineer, and programs like Mathcad and SPICE require Windows. But I can use my Mac to type up reports and do presentations, which is a big part of engineering school.
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