If I would say “life of an electrical engineer is not possible without a good laptop” then you can’t deny.
Most electrical power engineering students will have to attend many lectures and will have to have a laptop that can fulfill some computational needs.
Best Laptops for Electrical Engineering students
As a former student and current electrical power engineer, I feel qualified enough to recommend the best laptops for electrical engineering students, and sharing some knowledge with you. During my study and work period, I find that many people don’t know that what kind of laptop an electrical engineering student might need for their studies. So, that’s why I created this guide to help you to pick the best laptops for electrical engineering students.
There are the unlimited great software solutions available for electrical engineering students that can perform a wide variety of task and that should be in your toolbox. For example, you can check out this great list of software options, probably you may find this useful. Apart from that, I find that certain powerful software suites are integral to the electrical engineering experience, and there are lots of simulation software to choose from that will eat your system.
The main computational need for Electrical Engineering student – Undergrad, Grad or Ph.D. will be.
- Documentation/ Word processing: MS Office, LaTeX
- Embedded Programming ecosystems: Code compose Studio, Vivado etc.
- CAD Software: Eagle, CAD
- Simulation: MATLAB/Simulink, pSPIE, Saber, NI Multisim, Simcenter 3D, NX Nastran, LMS Samtech, Star-CCM etc.
*These are just representative and not exhaustive.
Each of these (simulation software) designed to provide simulation options that can span a variety of electrical engineering applications and each can tax a standard system. So, it is recommended to pick a nice performant system for any students who are looking to pursue electrical engineering as a course of study.
For example, the recommended system requirement for Femap are
- Windows 7 64-bit or better
- 8 GB of RAM or more
- Video adapter supporting True color (32-bit) or 16 million colors (24-bit), Open GL4.2 or higher, and 2GB of dedicated VRAM
- 1280 x 1024 or higher screen resolution
- Minimum 5.2 GB for Femap with all options
- 500 GB, free continuous disk space for Femap model files, Femap and NX Nastran scratch
These are not the much high requirement compare to the other simulation software, and while they might not seem that bad. You really should be running a system that has the rig that works well in excess of these. This is why it is recommended to consider avoiding a system that doesn’t perform well. Or simply, these types of system will slow down your simulation and modeling which could adversely affect your overall productivity.
Now, you know what type of system a typical FEA solution requires, you should pick a laptop with these features.
A Powerful Processor
This is one of the most important components of electrical engineering laptops. When you are using an FEA to model and create simulations for power engineering for things like an electric machine or magnetic domain. It’s super important to have a system with the powerful processor. Moreover, a multicore processor is recommended, so that can handle multiple computational processes simultaneously and modeling process will greatly be streamlined.
Generally, a quad-core processor works well in most of the situation, and they are recommended, but make sure the processor should be of 64-bit. Nowadays, quad-core processors are not too expensive, and you can find them in the budget laptop easily.
A Dedicated Graphics Card
Some of the FEA application allows you to use an integrated graphics chipset for modeling. But, according to me, if you grab a laptop with Nvidia or ATI graphics, that will be a far better experience. Because these have a better time pulling together 3D models for practical use.
But, you’ll probably need to pay with somewhat battery life, due to these dedicated chips.
A Responsive Keyboard
This is another important requirement for an electrical engineering student because you are going to be typing a lot. And try your best to choose a keyboard as much as responsive and has keys that aren’t going to bother you when you’re working on an assignment. There is another recommendation that I want to suggest, I prefer a num pad; that allows to quickly enter numbers into my software. Moreover, the num pad also has a selection of ALT key presses that come in handy for me on more than one occasion.
There are mainly two types of keyboard available in the laptops – mechanical and membrane
Mechanical keyboards have some “click-clack” types of sound when we use them, they have a hard-keys underneath, and they are ideal for gamers. For convenient typing membrane keyboard are recommended because they offer soft rubbers underlay that provides tactile feedback, and quick response time.
An Ideal Size of Display
As an electrical engineering student, you’ll probably go through some programming experience. Considering this thing, laptops over 14″ are recommended, because sharper and larger display allows you to read conveniently. Moreover, I also think that a laptop should be as lightweight as much as possible because big laptops are hard to manage.
Although, this might be not super crucial for a professional electrical engineer, having a lightweight laptop is very useful for an electrical engineering student. Your syllabus is going to be challenging, means longer study sessions, a lot of lab time, and a lot of lectures, so why would you choose a machine that’s going to break you back when you are trekking around campus?
As I’ve already explained the value of an ideal size display, so according to me, the best laptops for electrical engineering students should be around the 6 pounds.
Good Battery Backup
Having a laptop with longer battery backup always a good choice. However, laptops with the dedicated graphics cards suffer from somewhat low battery backup. So, in my opinion, laptop with 6-7 hours of backup is good which can last up to your whole lectures and labs, or you can find a power source until then. But keep in mind that, the laptops with more than 7 hours of battery backup and good performance are more expensive.
i7-7700HQ | GTX 1050 2G | 8GB DDR4 | 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | 15″ 1920×1080 | 6H
See? you can get a pretty good laptop for electrical engineering without spending a huge amount of money. You won’t find any notebook with Quad-Core processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 2G in this price range. This powerful and energy efficient GPU is specially designed for mobile workstations. This laptop has a good amount of modeling power, and it also comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
The MSI GL62M laptop comes with a perfect combination of 128 GB SSD+ 1 TB of HDD, which delivers good performance without being heavy on the pocket. This laptop is capable to run most of the applications without any hiccup. Additionally, this laptop has only 6 hours of backup, which is okay, this is a great choice for the tiny amount of cash.
i7-8750H | GTX 1050Ti 4GB | 8GB DDR4 | 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 7H
After spending some more dollar, the Acer Aspire 7 is a great choice for an electrical engineering student. It has a Hexa-Core processor and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1050Ti 4GB graphics chip and 8 GB of RAM. The main thing you might notice is that this is a gaming laptop, which is fine because these types of the laptop have the good graphical and processing capability, that can work well when running FEA and modeling software.
Another great thing about this laptop is that, it comes with SSD drive, and which is just faster than the mechanical hard drives. This laptop is also having a great battery life of around 7 hours, which is commendable. The main drawback of this laptop is it’s got slightly warmer above average when used with high performance. But this can be ignored when we think about its performance and price.
i7-7700HQ | GTX 1060-6GB | 16GB DDR4 | 256GB SSD | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 7H
Another laptop that’s designed for gaming but can also serve as a great electrical engineering rig is the Acer Predator Helios 300. Its processor comes with turbo boost technology which is capable to work on 3.8 GHz clock rate, which is perfect for electrical engineering modeling. Additionally, it comes with 16GB DDR4 of impressive memory, and you can even upgrade it up to double capacity.
As a gaming laptop, it can even run Virtual Reality with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 of 6 GB GPU. One of the features that I love is this laptop’s 15.6-inch full HD IPS display. These displays provide the accurate and vivid color along with wide view angle. While they can experience some lag in gaming, but these are perfect for creating the vivid models that can be used by an electrical engineering student, and you won’t lose the image quality when viewing from different angles.
i7-6700HQ | GTX 960M 4 GB | 16GB DDR4 | 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | 17.3″ 1920×1080 | 5H
As another laptop that employs IPS technology into its display, the ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH74, this massive 17.3-inch display provides a very vivid experience. Moreover, it has a dedicated Nvidia GTX 960M 4 GB GPU, 16 GB of RAM and ability to handle most complicated tasks. It has the i7-6700HQ processor that is having slightly less performance than our previous model, but its massive display is very impressive when comes to modeling.
ASUS has included two hard in this laptop – one 128 GB solid-state and a 1 TB mechanical drive. This is a good setup because you can run your models and simulations on the solid-state unit so that you have faster access time and you can store your model files. The only drawback of this unit is that this is somewhat heavier due to its massive size.
i7-8750H | GTX 1070 8GB | 16GB DDR4 | 1TB SSD + 1TB HDD | 17.3″ 1920×1080 | 5H
The highest performant laptop in my guide actually doesn’t cost a whole lot we compare with the more powerful laptops on the market. You are getting a half of terabyte of a solid-state drive, and Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB that’s design for professional modeling, and Hexa-Core latest 8th generation Intel i7-8750H processor that’s unlocked for overclocking. Additionally, its inbuilt 16 GB of RAM is capable to handle multiple programs very smoothly.
I like the multicolor backlit of this keyboard, which allows you to work in dark room without disturbing your napping room/housemate. It comes with a larger 17.3-inch IPS display, which is great when working with modeling, and this also supports the outputting the larger monitor, so you will get even more room for your work. The only obnoxious thing about in my opinion is this is something heavier, but it’s a huge laptop so it is understandable.
Table of Best Laptops for Electrical Engineering Students
Wrapping it up
Electrical Engineering is really interesting, but having the right tool is very crucial. All of these laptops that I selected for this guide are perfect for students, professional engineers to complete their assignment as well as personal development. If you have any questions regarding these machines, simply leave a comment down below for me – I’ll get back to you shortly.