New Laptop for engineering student under $700

My son’s laptop is crapped out and he is an engineering student. We were looking at Dell’s and they were about $740 without extended warranties, which for a college student would be helpful.

What are some other brands or stores to try.
I will be pricing HP and Lenovo.

This seems to be the best deal HP has. $619 sales price
Windows 10 Home 64 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor
NVIDIA® GeForce® 1050 (2GB) 8 GB memory; 256 GB **SSD **storage
15.6" diagonal FHD display

Mid-range processor, mid-range amount of RAM, decent video card (could even do some gaming but 2GB will limit texture quality), somewhat limited storage. Do you know what sort of software he needs to run and what that software’s requirements are?

Also any idea how much storage he had before, or better yet how much of it he was using? SSDs are faster than regular hard drives and are totally silent. So they’re a good thing. If 256GB of storage is enough I think that would be a good computer for the sale price.

We’re going to jump up to the 4GB graphics card with the i7 processor, only $50 more for both. The storage will be fine for him, the SSD is almost essential now.

For an engineering student, or other STEM major, I would say that upgrading to 16GB of memory is worth the investment, even if you go to a lower rated processor to compensate.

I know that as a professional in a STEM field, any computer with less memory is worthless for technical purposes and handling large data sets, however adequate it may be for word processing.

If you have open slots, you can do the memory upgrade later, perhaps when you have some spare cash. If there is a strict budget, I’d go for more processor and storage and lesser memory.

$50 for an i7 upgrade would be well worth it. 4GB video card mostly good for games but there may be some heavy-duty engineering software that would benefit.

I agree, the i7 is a very good upgrade for $50 when they’re throwing on the extra 2 GB GDDR5.

The memory upgrade can come later, it is a single 8GB chip with one open slot, so that can wait, if needed.

Software, I believe he will be using Solidworks and Creo.

What type of engineering student? (electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, …?)

As an engineer, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD both seem a bit anemic to me. I would want to double both of those. Actually I personally would want at least 32 GB of RAM, but if you’re on a budget, 16 GB will be enough for reasonable performance with most engineering type software packages and development environments.

The HP in the second post has a proper numeric keypad, which is something I also look for in a laptop.

Get the biggest screen you can afford. For engineering work, a bigger screen with better resolution is much more important than FPS performance in games. The more code you can see on screen or the more detail you can see in CAD drawings the better.

For what it’s worth, I am a hardware (EE) and software design engineer in the R&D department of a company that makes industrial controls.

My company mostly buys Lenovo laptops. I have no idea what they cost.

What he said.

I am absolutely on a budget and he is a only a freshman. Mechanical Engineering is his major but heavy towards Robotics.

Lenovos are overpriced and I don’t have much faith in the company. I did some configs with Lenovo earlier anyway and no way.

As to the memory, I can’t easily upgrade the CPU & GPU next year, I can easily add another 8GB ram. It is currently a pricey upgrade ($120).

He’s a student, if screen size is a real issue for him, we can get him a 24" monitor for less than moving up to a 17" laptop screen, also makes for a clunky laptop.

The SSD upgrade to 512GB is $150 and I don’t really see the need. Why wouldn’t 256GB be enough. This is to make for a fast computer, he can store docs and completed projects on the school server or on USB sticks. Or I’ll give him a 1 TB external drive for storage. I have one laying around.

I like HP & Dell, don’t like Lenovo, wasn’t sure if there were any other useful manufacturers I was missing.

In my experience, memory from someone other than the PC manufacturer is cheaper. So that eight-GB upgrade might be half or less than the $120 you mentioned.

That’s been my experience. Amazon has some for around $60. We’ll start with the 8GB and see how that works. If it is bad, I’ll upgrade him at spring break.