Laptop Recommendations for Students

Welcome to the beginning of a great career in mechanical engineering!

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has two computer labs with 82 of the fastest computers and the latest engineering software to meet your course needs.

Overspending on a laptop is not necessary. A quality laptop can be purchased for less than $900.00. Tablet laptops are pricier but are gaining interest because you can take notes and work totally paperless.

Below is an overview of recommendations:

  •     CPU—i7. You want to stay away from any of the really low power Atom based processors, an i5 would probably work, but will be noticeably slower.   

  • RAM- 8 GB. Remember, this is a “minimum”. More is better, but less than this will be too little.

  • Hard drive/storage- 1 TB in size and preferably: 7200 rpm mechanical drive OR a Solid State boot drive, with a mechanical drive for work space. I don’t recommend getting ONLY an SSD in a computer that will be running engineering software. (This may not matter as an undergraduate TBH, as you will probably not be running long duration computer simulations on this machine.)

  • Video Card—a discrete video card with 2GB video RAM (DDR3 or 4 is fine, DDR5 is better but more expensive). This means stay away from anything that says “integrated”, as that is video on the motherboard which negatively impacts performance.

  • 14” Display

  • Extended warranty is good because laptops take a lot of abuse.

Please note, the Mac operating system is incompatible with most engineering software but you can have Windows installed.

The Computer Store

The Computer Store can offer advice on Lenovo, Dell, MAC laptops, and tablets for students. 

MS Office, Solidworks, Creo 2.0, and AutoCAD are a few of the Windows-based programs you may want to run on your computer. There are student versions available at The Computer Store online. Fees vary.

UA Virtual Lab and Free Matlab 

Our new UA Virtual Lab is available through My Akron. Students can access selected applications, including Office, Solidworks, and AutoCAD from any location at any time. 

Free Matlab and Anti Virus software is available through My Akron under. Login and click on "Help Center." Under the heading “Home use software downloads” you can install Matlab.  Carefully review the PDF instructions for the license code required to enter.

The Computer Store has the best prices for software:

Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365, plus many other Microsoft products and engineering programs.

For more information, contact The Computer Store at 330-972-5308 or Cliff Bailey, Engineering Technician Sr., at 330-972-5353.