The best laptops for engineering students

If you're an engineering student looking to buy a laptop during the back to school season, then you'll be looking for a powerful and flexible workstation that has plenty of graphical grunt and can handle complex tasks and demanding applications.

The exacting demands of an engineering student can in some cases make the hunt for the perfect laptop slightly easier, as it narrows your options in an increasingly crowded market.

However, it can also make it tricky to find the right laptop that offers the power you need, while also costing a reasonable amount of money. That's where we come in, as we've put together this list of the very best laptops for engineering students to help you find the perfect laptop to an ideal price.

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So, what do you need to look for in a laptop for engineering students? As we mentioned, you're probably going to be running complex programs, such as AutoCAD, which means you're going to need to have a laptop with enough power to run them.

We'd recommend a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor and at least 8GB of RAM, though 16GB is even better.

Many of the programs engineering students rely on are also graphically intensive – especially ones such as CAD, MATLAB and Solid Works that are used for 3D modelling and video rendering. This means it's essential to have a laptop with a dedicated graphics card – rather than an integrated one powered by the processor.

This is why some gaming laptops are good choices for engineering students, as they offer that kind of graphic power, and the fact that they can handle games for when you unwind after classes won't hurt either.

A big screen with a high resolution is also advisable, and if you're going to be working on site a lot, it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the rugged laptops that are built to withstand accidents on work sites.

With those requirements in mind, here is our list of the best laptops for engineering students. 

dell

As expected from a Dell workstation laptop, you get cutting edge components and the type of flexibility in the customisation process that sorely lacks with the SOHO-oriented Inspiron range. This is Dell's direct, built-to-order model at its best: from the latest Intel quad-core CPU to a plethora of other high end parts, this is as good as it gets.

For engineering students looking to get this excellent laptop, we'd strongly recommend adding a dedicated graphics card.

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Dell Precision

Lenovo hails this model as the world's first multi-mode workstation, one that manages to combine power and creativity thanks to a 360-degree hinge that has, to some extent, set the standard when it comes to convertible or 2-in-1 designs. 

What's more, it is one of the very rare laptops to come with built-in Wacom Active ES pen technology, capable of delivering 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition.

This makes it an excellent laptop for engineering students who need something easily portable, yet also very powerful.

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best gaming laptop

This is one of those gaming laptops we mentioned earlier that also does a fantastic job as a mobile workstation for engineering students. It’s expensive, yes – it certainly won’t save you money when compared to building your own PC. On the other hand, it measures in at only 0.88-inches thick with an onboard 17-inch, 4K multi-touch display and a built-in Wi-Fi card. If that’s not enough to sell you on it already, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. These keys bear an appearance similar to your run-of-the-mill chiclet keyboards, but press down on them yourself and you’ll feel (and hear) the authentic click of a mechanical keyswitch.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro

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  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

The Samsung Notebook 9 is what other 2-in-1 laptops have aspired to be since their conception. It hones in on the S-Pen, Samsung’s own proprietary stylus with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity (the same as Microsoft’s new Surface Pen), a nifty little accessory that conveniently doesn’t require charging. Although the touchscreen display is only 1080p, at between 350 and 450 nits of brightness, you won’t be paying any mind to the pixels, or lack thereof. Plus, the lengthy battery life more than makes up for this hybrids few setbacks.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

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  • This product is only available in the US at the time of writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre x360 15.

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The 5 best back to school backpacks for 2017

All of the semester’s books, plus your laptop, plus your everyday essentials is a heavy enough physical burden to bear much less the figurative weight of coursework and a reputation to upkeep. Picking out the best back to school backpack for you can lift some of that burden.

Naturally, we happen to be experts in picking out the best of, well, all sorts of tech products, including the best back to school backpacks to cart them around in. 

From designer names for the lowest prices they’ll be found this season to sensible, affordable picks all year round, these are the very best back to school backpacks we’ve found for 2017.

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If you’re looking to just drop 25 some bucks on a backpack that will get you through the year, i.e. most folks that just want a bag to hold their stuff, this is the one for you. Made and sold by Amazon through its Basics program, this all-black backpack has a laptop sleeve for machines up to 15 inches, and several types of pockets, for but a pittance compared to most.

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The tried and true JanSport is tough to go wrong with. A full-canvas bag with nylon mesh inside including a 15-inch laptop sleeve, this version of the JanSport comes in several colors for a variety of prices. Included in the price are also a media pocket lined in fleece as well as a removable storage pouch.

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For those that like the look and feel of JanSport but need even more storage for a particularly heavy semester, the Big Student Backpack from them should do the trick. With a whopping 2,100 cubic inches of carrying capacity, this backpack should hold everything you need and then some. Plus, ergonomic shoulder straps help prevent your load weighing too far down on you.

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Burton is one of those brands that has come in vogue in recent years, and for good reason. Its backpacks come in countless colors and fabric styles, even nylon so that rain runs off it a bit easier. The Tinder style packs a 15-inch laptop sleeve, too, as well as ergonomic shoulder straps and a lifetime warranty should a piece go bad.

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Meet the ultimate backpack for your next school semester, marrying the worlds of form and function like few others can. The Little America comes in several colors and patterns, all intimating that look and feel of a hiker’s pack. That feeling comes through even with the 13-inch laptop sleeve, magnetic closures and media pocket with headphone port.

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  • Now, fill that backpack with one of today's best laptops

Intel’s 8th-generation desktop CPUs will up core counts across the board

Intel is evangelizing its 8th-generation Core i series with reckless abandon, most recently detailing the upcoming desktop chip line to Chinese manufacturing partners in a private session it had to know would inevitably leak online.

Just ahead of an August 21 official reveal, the leak comes courtesy of a photo from the session posted on a Chinese computing forum known as ChipHell, later picked up by none other than Anandtech before the post was removed from the forum.

As per the leaked photo, Intel’s desktop processors – from Core i3-8100 to Core i7-8700K – will enjoy increases in core count by 100% and 50%, respectively. 

Specifically, 8th generation Intel Core i3 processors will be quad-core by default, meanwhile both Core i5 and Core i7 chips will be hexa-core standard. However, the devil is in the details here, unsurprisingly.

While Intel is upping the core count of every tier of Core i processor, the firm is removing hyper-threading from the i3 line in comparison to last generation’s product, and not bringing it to the i5 line – on par with last year. 

Of course, the i7 line’s hyper-threading remains untouched, for such a move would likely be deemed treason by the enthusiast community.

Otherwise, it seems the Core i3 line is enjoying the most changes, with the i3-8100 and i3-8350K seeing a considerable bump in TDP, or thermal design power, to 65 watts and 95W, respectively. (Last year’s were 51W and 60W, respectively.)

This is to be expected given the doubling of cores, and makes the TDP offerings of every tier much more uniform than before.

Across the board, all three tiers of Core i desktop chips will receive a boost in L3 memory cache, too, to the tune of 6MB, 9MB and 12MB going from Core i3 up to Core i7.

Intel spouting off 8th-gen details to Chinese manufacturers. Credit: ChipHell

Questions left unanswered

That said, this leak still doesn’t tell us some of the base and turbo frequencies of the processors, but expect these clock speeds to drop a few hundred megahertz year-on-year across the board given the bumps in core counts.

The leaked photo also makes no mention of the graphics platform found within these new processors, an important element given AMD’s focus on GPU compute – or utilizing graphics processing cores for general computing tasks.

Finally, we still have no idea how much these chips are going to cost, if at all different from last generation’s pricing. That said, with AMD's effect on the processor market, we could well be paying less for the highest-end, 8th-generation Intel desktop processor.

Boy, can that total eclipse not come soon enough or what?

  • How long until we see 8th-generation chips in the best gaming PCs?

Surface app now gives battery status for Microsoft peripherals

Microsoft has updated its Surface app so that the software now shows battery levels for any of the company's Bluetooth peripherals that are being used.

That means those who use the likes of the Surface Mouse, Surface Keyboard, or indeed the Surface Pen or Dial will be able to see the battery levels of these wireless accessories clearly displayed within the app.

So instead of having to guess how much battery life your Surface peripheral has left, you get an exact percentage reading of the remaining juice.

That’s clearly a useful feature, and if you want to benefit from it just make sure you grab the latest version of the Surface app from the Windows store.

Now the Surface app gives you a percentage readout for battery level

Pen pusher

As well as monitoring battery life, the software also enables you to adjust various settings for the Surface Pen, such as those relating to the amount of pressure applied and the thickness of the resulting line drawn, plus it offers access to other bits and pieces like technical support for Surface devices.

The new Surface Keyboard and Mouse only went on sale in the UK at the beginning of the year, and they’re designed to be solid peripherals that are quiet in action and run off a pair of AAA batteries. They'll set you back £90 and £45 respectively, or $100 (about AU$125) and $50 (about AU$65) in the US.

Via: Windows Central

  • Microsoft’s Surface Pro is one of our best laptops of 2017

Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop now available in India

Acer today launched its latest gaming laptop in India, the Predator Helios 300. Expanding its Predator series of gaming laptops in India, the Predator Helios 300 starts at a price of Rs. 1,29,999. It is already available for purchase exclusively on Flipkart, the company revealed.

Unveiled earlier this year in an event in New York, the Predator Helios 300 series of gaming laptops come in a matte black chassis. While the Helios 300 was launched in two display variants – 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch, it is available in the 15.6-inch size in India. The display comes with a Full HD resolution.

Powering the Predator Helios 300 is a seventh generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. The graphics duties are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050Ti. The gaming laptop comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM which can be expanded up to 32GB. It also comes with a 256GB SSD and 1TB hard disk drive.

For an enhanced experience, Acer has included its PredatorSense software that lets you overclock and provides real-time system information. Additionally, the Predator Helios 300 also features AeroBlade 3D fan to help the laptop run at optimal temperatures.

Acer has also included Dolby Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony for an immersive audio experience. The laptop also comes with an iron red backlit keyboard to help gamers hit the right keys.

Connectivity options on the Predator Helios 300 include a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port with power-off USB charging, two USB 2.0 ports and a HDMI 2.0 port. It also includes 2×2 Wi-Fi ac and a Gigabit ethernet port for fast connectivity.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop starts at a price of Rs. 1,29,999 for the Core i5 version and Rs. 1,49,999 for the Core i7 version. It is now available for purchase exclusively from Flipkart.