Which Mac for Mechanical Engineering student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jack352, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Jack352 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    So I currently have the choice of a 2010 13' MBP of my fathers or I have the money to invest in a new macbook

    I will be travelling to university on the train everyday so I need it to be portable but I wanted to know how bigger screen I should get 11' air, 13 air, 13' rMBP or 15' rMBP?

    Which would you suggest for a mechanical engineering student?

    Thanks
     
  2. eagandale4114 macrumors 65816

    eagandale4114

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    May 20, 2011
    #2
    As student going into aerospace engineering and computer science I'm waiting on the haswell 15" rMBP.
     
  3. kensic macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2013
    #3
    A Windows pc is what you need for engineering. A lot of engineering programs do not run on OSX. example, 3d cad programs, ect.
     
  4. KylePowers, Jul 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013

    KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

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    #4
    I just graduated with an electrical engineering degree, and there were only a few times I had to use Windows (which I simply used VirtualBox to virtualize). Bootcamp is also an easy alternative.

    I used a Logic Design program that was written in Java (so cross-platform) quite often, I used the Mac version of MATLAB, there are also Mac versions of various assorted programming software (Eclipse, for example), and for anything "hardcore" like Cadence, my school had servers that we had to VPN into (since they didn't provide individual licenses for you to simply download on your computer), which just meant remotely using Cadence in a virtual environment.

    Anywho, I personally never go higher than a 13in screen. It's simply too much of a desktop replacement in my eyes. I'd go 13in rMBP. My main reason behind that is because you can scale the resolution to be higher than that of the 13in MBA, which will allow you to have a 13in form-factor with the advantages of a 15in screen (assuming you can deal with font/etc being slightly smaller). Being able to have more windows side-by-side, see more of your design, see more lines of code, etc. etc. is truly advantageous.

    EDIT: Yes, I can read everyone. I know OP is mechanical engineering, which is different than electrical engineering. My point is that in any engineering major, there is going to be programs that are Windows only. You're going to have to either virtualize Windows, bootcamp it, or find an alternative. Additionally, schools are moving to virtualized environments on their servers that you VNC into so that students don't have to purchase a license (which is typically absurdly expensive) and install the programs themselves. This makes the OS choice a moot point. So if OP wants a Mac, they can easily get by if they so choose to do.
     
  5. scbond macrumors 6502

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    Nottingham, UK
    #5
    AutoCAD runs natively in OS X. Plenty of other software suites exist for OS X which would be used in engineering as well.
     
  6. Aldaris macrumors 65816

    Aldaris

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    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    #6
    AutoDesk is really making progress in bringing more of their applications natively to the mac platform, and I'm sure others are too.

    As an Architecture student, I'm potentially in the same software dilemma, thus far I haven't had to cross that bridge, but when I do it'll be bootcamp or virtualization.
     
  7. kensic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    #7

    electrical and mechanical have about 10% similarity, which is the pre-req's.

    ----------

    he's looking for opinions in mechanical. lol

    i graduated as a mechanical two years ago. and these are the programs i used in school

    Nastran - fea
    solidworks - 3d models and FEA
    matlab - compute complex equations.

    all windows base programs

    and now working in the field, i use these program on a regular basics

    Pro-e - 3d models and FEA
    Ansys - FEA (the mother of all FEA programs)
    Dyrobes - FEA of shaft systems.
    matlab

    and again all windows based programs


    so these are real life programs that i used, hope this helps you.
     
  8. locoboi187 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 3, 2012
    #8
    you really don't need a high end pc as a student. a macbook air can do everything you want it to without a hitch.
     
  9. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #9
    I never said they were similar, I was simply bringing up a personal anecdote which provides a relevant example that just because software in a particular major is assumed to be primarily Windows-based, doesn't mean they can't be run on Macs.

    More importantly, schools are transitioning to virtual machines rather than making students pay for personal licenses (etc.) for expensive/professional programs, so it really doesn't matter which OS you use, because you'll be using a VNC client (or something similar) to access it.

    Besides, a large circle of my friends (and acquaintances since it was simply a small engineering school) who were all ME's all had Macs. Didn't seem like a particular issue in the slightest. But by all means, there are some nice PC's out there that are worth looking into if virtualizing and/or bootcamp is too much for OP.
     
  10. TechZeke, Jul 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013

    TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    Jul 29, 2012
    Location:
    Rialto, CA
    #10
    Civil engineering student here, my MBP runs CAD via Bootcamp better than any windows PCs. Especially since I just put in a 250gb Samsung SSD.

    This summer, I've been interning at my father's company(he's an electrical engineer for a company that coats sheet-metal) and I've had no problem using AutoCAD for Mac doing electrical drawings. Even engineered a PLC cabinet.

    Autodesk provides CAD software for education for free, and Microsoft's site called "dreamspark" gives out free copies of Windows and other Microsoft software for students.

    My Civil CAD professor gave me Microstation for free, so I don't have a specific source I can give for that. But you're electrical so it doesn't matter anyway.
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    Nov 14, 2007
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    #11
    A 15" MBP. You are going to need the larger real estate for simple projects that require manipulation of 3D objects.

    Also, the DVD drive will help you on those movie nights alone or with someone (hint... hint) if you use RedBox or have to install textbook related programs (yes, my teachers made me install those).

    If you do need the faster loading times (which in many case you won't) and can foot the bill, get the 15" rMBP. Otherwise, just upgrade the internal to SSD if you need fast down the road.

    For your reference, I am a graduated Electrical Engineering student.
     
  12. DiscardedPacket macrumors member

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    Mar 8, 2013
    #12
    I can count the number of times using the fingers on my left hand that I used the DVD drive on my 13" MBP.

    If I ever need a DVD drive on my 15" retina, I use an external drive.

    No one wants to lug a 15" cMBP around campus. Its a friggen huge laptop.
     
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    Dear God, now the Retina is very compact huh? I lugged it around and it is not as heavy and big as you think it is.

    Also, your experience != mine or OPs. Options have to be kept open.
     
  14. Jack352 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 27, 2013
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    UK
    #14
    So most of you are saying that the bigger screen would be better, so should I go with the cMBP or rMBP?
     
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #15
    This comes down to your projected and actual usage. Do you need a DVD drive and Ethernet ports? Does your college have Wi-Fi or just Ethernet jacks?

    Do you need the extra speed boost the integrated SSD brings?
     
  16. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    Rialto, CA
    #16
    A friggen huge laptop? seriously? Do you have the muscles of a 5 year old?

    I could maybe see it if we were talking about the 17" cMBP, but I carry my 15" cMBP all the time. It's definitely lighter than PC laptops of the same size. Thinner as well.

    Infact, I carry my iPad, iphone, and cMBP all in one bag and there is no strain on my shoulder. At. All.
     
  17. ls1dreams macrumors 6502

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    Aug 13, 2009
    #17
    He's a ME though, not EE. Solidworks comes to mind as one in particular that only runs on a PC, and is quite demanding so it wouldn't be great to run in a VM.
     
  18. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #18
    If he wants the specs and form factor of the rMBP then he can just dual boot Windows to run the needed apps. Windows 8.1 handles high-dpi displays much more gracefully so it should work quite well.
     
  19. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    Here
    #19
    I never leave home without my 17" it's not hard really.

    @OP I'd take my oldmans computer for the first couple years at least. If I found that the computer started to get overwhelmed I'd buy/build a desktop more cores and real graphics.
     
  20. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #20
    I consider a MBP a bad choice if you need too much Windows. Yes it can run Windows but the experience is subpar. Touchpad drivers are limited and battery life is a long way from a similar windows notebook.

    What you really want as an engineering student (if you want to go for a mobile workstation similar to a retina MBP 15") is the new Dell M3800. The specs look very promising.
    Actual workstation graphics Quadro K1100M which is basically a 750M (55W TDP) chip but with Nvidia serious pro drivers and not Apple's OpenGL tinkering.
    3200x1800 pixel IGZO touch panel. Same size and weight as 15" rMBP more or less.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NyOE9R0AnQs

    I also don't get guys that complain about the size of 15" notebooks. If you are 100lb girl okay, but I dislike having to deal with those tiny screens. At home you can attach an external screen but as a usual student you work in groups at some library or study room, caffee or something and anything smaller than 14" is just tiny.
     
  21. Blondie :) macrumors 6502a

    Blondie :)

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    May 12, 2010
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    Prescott, AZ
    #21
    Damn straight. Haha I love ANSYS.

    To put my two bits in, I'm also a Mechanical Engineering student. I use my mac everyday, using virtualbox to run windows 7 when I need to. Never had a problem so far. As far as screen size, I currently have a 13" MBP, though I wish I had a 15" for designing on my laptop.
     
  22. DiscardedPacket macrumors member

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    Mar 8, 2013
    #22
    Now now, no need for name calling.

    The point I was simply making is that once you are used to the rMBP 15, you can't go back to lugging around the cMBP 15.

    The DVD drive doesn't justify the additional weight / size etc.
     
  23. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a

    xkmxkmxlmx

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    Apr 28, 2011
    #23
    Will all those programs you listed work on a boot camp Mac? Lol lol lol lol lol
     
  24. kensic macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2013
    #24
    well in that case the choice is clear for OP then huh.

    im sure he had thought of that, and yet he still asks the question *mac or windows*.
     
  25. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #25
    A pen and paper.

    From a recent graduate. You will not be needing your computer in 95% of classes, it'll most likely only be needed for reports. Most schools have computers much more capable than any notebook for engineering apps should you need them.
     

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