Laptop suggestions for engineering student in Canada with budget of ~$500 CAD (form is filled)


Feb 2, 2018
Hello all,

I'm an engineering student in Canada and I current have a Dell inspiron 14z-5423 laptop that I've had from ~may 2013. It's served me well but it's getting old and my screen flickers sometimes, some keys (b,n,?, space, left right and down arrow keys) don't work, it gets fairly warm even when I'm not really doing anything resource intensive, and it's slow. I'm looking for any advice and recommendations for a new laptop.

1. What is your budget?

Ans: $500 Canadian but if necessary, I am willing to extend it to $600. Only as a last resort though!

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Ans: 14-15.5 inches

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Ans: I'm fine with whatever resolution my current laptop has.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Ans: A portable one would be ideal. Not sure what "desktop replacement" means -- is it one of those bulky 17.3'' laptops? If so, then definitely a portable one. I want to be able to carry it to my classes.

5. How much battery life do you need?

Ans: Not important since I'll be charging it most of the time

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

Ans: I don't do much gaming, but when I do game I play "The Long Dark". My current laptop can play it but only in the lowest settings, and even then it overheats in about 10 minutes. I would be happy if I can play the game at medium settings for, say, ~2 hours/week. The minimum requirements for the game is as follows:

Processor: Dual core Intel i5 CPU @ 2GHz+
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel 4xxx Series w/ 512MB VRAM or better
Storage: 7 GB available space
Sound Card: Any on-board chip will work.

Recommended requirements:
Processor: Intel i7 CPU @ 2.6GHz or higher
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GTX 555 w/ 1GB VRAM or better
Storage: 7 GB available space
Sound Card: Ideally, something with Surround capabilities.

My current laptop has Intel HD 4000 (I don't know what available VRAM it has though) and it CAN play the game but if I play it for more than 30 minutes it's hot enough for me to flinch upon touching it.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Ans: I need to run CAD software like solidworks, autodesk inventor. I also need to run software like MATLAB/SIMULINK and Maplesim for simulation purposes, Multisim for circuit simulation purposes, and maybe ANSYS FLUENT for (really basic) computational fluid dynamics purposes if I decide to get into the field. The fluid dynamics part isn't as important as the others though.

My current laptop can run all these software pretty well except solidworks and inventor. When I try to rotate views on my model so that I can look at it from a different perspective, it lags quite a bit.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

Ans: 500 GB and up would be nice

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

Ans: No sites in particular.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

Ans: Around 5-6 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

Ans: Not too important. A CD/DVD drive would be nice because occasionally, I need to run those CDs that come with textbooks to be able to access answers/hints to questions.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

Ans: Not really concerned about brand but I did hear that Acer has poor build quality. But then again, I also heard that Dell is a poor brand but this laptop managed to last for 5 years so I'm pretty satisfied. Overall, I don't think I'm too concerned with brands.

13. What country do you live in?

Ans: Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Ans: I got my current laptop for ~$350 canadian back in 2013 and its specs are:

CPU: Intel core i3-3217U @ 1.80 GHz, 2 cores, 4 logical processors
graphics: Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics chip

This laptop does what I need it to do fairly well, but the problem is as I described at the beginning. So I figured that a budget of $500 should be a decent upgrade.



Jan 20, 2018
So i hate to burst your bubble, but it is almost impossible to find a laptop for $500 but as i know you don't want to you can get pretty decent laptops for $600, but if i find something i will let you know. and also does the processor need to be Intel? i recommend Asus (vivobook) and Lenovo (ideapad)
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