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Old 05-10-2015, 10:09 AM   #1
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Default Advice Needed - Laptop for University

Good afternoon,
I'll get to the point. I'm going to University this September to study Robotics and Mechatronics. Naturally, I need a laptop, but I have never owned or bought my own computer. Furthermore, I don't know what to look for.

I do know that I will be programming/coding, using CAD software, amongst maybe a bit of gaming.
On an applicant day at the university I was told that it would need to be a pretty beefy computer. (It's vague, but it's what I was told). They also said that a Windows machine would be a decent choice.

I am afraid that I know next to nothing. I don't even know what my budget should likely be. I am an RC model nut, so I'm no stranger to putting stuff together, if that's necessary.
What should I avoid?
What should I look for?
General recommendations?

I'm prepared to learn, so if someone maybe has some good reading, drop a link.

Thanks
Sam
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Laptop for University

Some people are going to recommend you get some kind of beefy gaming laptop to do this on. Unusually for this forum (:P) you're actually in the market for a CAD machine it sounds like. There are two big names in the CAD business, NVIDIA Quadro (and/or TESLA) and AMD FirePro.

On the flip side if you're going to be gaming, business/CAD oriented GPUs aren't as good as gaming oriented GPUs.

so the question really, is what do you want it to be best at. CAD-capable with good gaming ability, or gaming-oriented with some CAD capability?

For a business/engineering oriented laptop, with a good warranty and decent spec, you'd be looking at something like this:-

http://www.dell.com/uk/business/p/pr...workstation/pd

One of my clients is a CAD firm that design streets for TFL. They swear by these.

Or on the other side, you could look at the more powerful custom-built SCAN 3XS laptops.

http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurat...a-geforce-960m


You'll probably notice both being pretty similar for CAD (though the Dell will inevitably be faster since the FirePro in it is specifically designed for that kind of job). However the 3XS model there blows it out of the water in terms of ability to game and value for money.

If your budget is stretchy and you don't mind the bulk, there is also a 17" version of the 3XS high end gaming range that carries a beefier GPU.

http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurat...orce-970m-980m
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Laptop for University

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnionsInBurgers View Post
Good afternoon,
I'll get to the point. I'm going to University this September to study Robotics and Mechatronics. Naturally, I need a laptop, but I have never owned or bought my own computer. Furthermore, I don't know what to look for.

I do know that I will be programming/coding, using CAD software, amongst maybe a bit of gaming.
On an applicant day at the university I was told that it would need to be a pretty beefy computer. (It's vague, but it's what I was told). They also said that a Windows machine would be a decent choice.

I am afraid that I know next to nothing. I don't even know what my budget should likely be. I am an RC model nut, so I'm no stranger to putting stuff together, if that's necessary.
What should I avoid?
What should I look for?
General recommendations?

I'm prepared to learn, so if someone maybe has some good reading, drop a link.

Thanks
Sam
If I were you I'd go back to the university and get more details, it's unfair of them to say you need a "beefy" laptop. The programs you will be using will have system requirements etc, and also you have to consider budget.

You can get a relatively beefy laptop for as low as 600GBP which would be fairly capable, but if you start looking at laptops with FirePro/Quadro graphics cards (pure work station, beast OpenGL graphics cards etc) then I think you could easily double that.
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