Engineering Laptop Recommendation 2017

b_ollhoff

Prominent
Mar 2, 2017
1
0
510
0
Hello,

I know there are threads out there that I have read, but they aren't as specific as I was hoping to find so I started my own.

My last laptop which I received from a family member used just crashed after 5+ plus years of abuse. I am looking at purchasing a new laptop to replace it. I am a bit overwhelmed by the options and companies that offer engineering laptops. I am hoping someone can give me a recommendation based on the info provided below.

Uses: high volume engineering software use as a mechanical engineering student, race car full-vehicle assemblies and FEA analysis work

Software Used: Solidworks , ANSYS simulation, Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, C++, Matlab, Autodesk applications (from time to time), iTunes

Budget: $1000-$1800

I think I narrowed down my search to a couple options but am open to other suggestions. They are the following:

HP ZBook 15 Series
Asus Zenbook Series
Lenovo P50 Series

Specific questions for recommendation (pros vs cons):

Memory? 8 or 16 GB?

Processor? i5 or i7?

SSD size? 256 or 512 GB?

I know it was a bit wordy, but I want to be thorough and clear about what I am asking. If I haven’t covered all the core questions or information let me know.

Thanks in advanced for the help!
 

jtabb1256

Honorable
Jan 4, 2014
34
0
10,590
2
Clemson recommends the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga or the Dell Precision 5510.
http://media.clemson.edu/ccit/crlt/media/laptop/pdf/2016preferredlaptopmatrix.pdf

Out of the two, the Dell has a much more powerful CPU and GPU:
http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-m5510-workstation/pd?ST=dell%20precision%205510&dgc=ST&cid=263753&lid=5638519&acd=12309152537461010&ven1=sxXzTMqIs&ven2=e

If you got one from the above link, I'd say get the cheaper one with the i7.
Instantly clone the HDD to an SSD like this one:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147373

Laptops with gaming GPUs should work very well, too, but may not be officially supported by the software. MSI may be a good place to look for these laptops, but make sure your software is okay with gaming GPUs over professional ones. (GeForce vs. Quadro).

And make sure your CPU is like the i7 in the above link that says HQ, not U.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
From your background details I'd say you need a workstation. This means the HP ZBook or the ThinkPad P50. Close rivals include the Dell Precision and the Eurocom Tornado F series. The ASUS Zenbook is a great-looking café cruiser and not a serious candidate.

Seeing that you're actually going to use heavy-duty ISV-grade software, I'd say you're looking at a Xeon-based workstation with a Quadro GPU. Fortunately, your budget is very generous and you should have no problem customizing a laptop that will meet your requirements.

Eurocom offers the widest range of upgradability but the machines are also rather expensive. The Dell Precision is available with very high-quality displays and a slightly broader range of Xeons to choose from. Apart from that, it's basically identical to the P50. The P50 is more limited when it comes to upgradability but it's also less expensive than the Dell. The HP ZBook is very similar to the P50 with respect to components and price.

All these brands are designed to make it easy to replace components. The ThinkPad P50 is widely recognized as a durable and rugged machine, but I have no reason to believe the Dell Precision or the HP ZBook should be any less durable - I think some of it is down to very successful PR on the part of ThinkPads. The Eurocom is a high-end niche product, and the only one to offer an 8GB Quadro GPU in a 15" frame. It's a bit of an 'insider's choice' and it's difficult to find long-term tests and reviews.

Make sure to spend your money wisely, i.e. get the best non-upgradable components now (GPU and maybe CPU) and save up for more storage and RAM later on.

Best of luck,
GreyCatz.
 

jtabb1256

Honorable
Jan 4, 2014
34
0
10,590
2
Clemson recommends the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga or the Dell Precision 5510.
http://media.clemson.edu/ccit/crlt/media/laptop/pdf/2016preferredlaptopmatrix.pdf

Out of the two, the Dell has a much more powerful CPU and GPU:
http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-m5510-workstation/pd?ST=dell%20precision%205510&dgc=ST&cid=263753&lid=5638519&acd=12309152537461010&ven1=sxXzTMqIs&ven2=e

If you got one from the above link, I'd say get the cheaper one with the i7.
Instantly clone the HDD to an SSD like this one:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147373

Laptops with gaming GPUs should work very well, too, but may not be officially supported by the software. MSI may be a good place to look for these laptops, but make sure your software is okay with gaming GPUs over professional ones. (GeForce vs. Quadro).

And make sure your CPU is like the i7 in the above link that says HQ, not U.
 
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