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Electrical engineering student looking for laptop

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 22, 2012 6:33:46 AM

1. What is your budget? 1800 max

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 13-14

3. What screen resolution do you want? 720p but full hd 1900x1200 would be great

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? portable

5. How much battery life do you need? atleast 4

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)? not really. if so LOW

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)Electrical engineering software

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 128gb ssd

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? as long as possible

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? dont need

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons. ive heard very good things about lenovo's thinkpads but i am open to any brand

13. What country do you live in? canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. I am a second year electrical engineering student and have been looking for a laptop for awhile. I had decided on getting either the asus zenbook or the lenovo x1 carbon but i was advised against it. I was told that the ULV cpus that ultrabooks use really hinder your processing power, and this would not be good enough for electrical engineering programs. Is this true? Should i only be looking clock speed on a cpu or is there a lot more to it then that?
September 22, 2012 6:52:56 AM

eesupaturk said:
1. What is your budget? 1800 max

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 13-14

3. What screen resolution do you want? 720p but full hd 1900x1200 would be great

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? portable

5. How much battery life do you need? atleast 4

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)? not really. if so LOW

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)Electrical engineering software

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 128gb ssd

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? as long as possible

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? dont need

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons. ive heard very good things about lenovo's thinkpads but i am open to any brand

13. What country do you live in? canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. I am a second year electrical engineering student and have been looking for a laptop for awhile. I had decided on getting either the asus zenbook or the lenovo x1 carbon but i was advised against it. I was told that the ULV cpus that ultrabooks use really hinder your processing power, and this would not be good enough for electrical engineering programs. Is this true? Should i only be looking clock speed on a cpu or is there a lot more to it then that?



Could you possibly give a little insight into the type of programs you are running? I doubt you will do too much with autocad, but perhaps MATLAB, and modeling software? The more specific you can be about software, the better we will be able to help you.
September 22, 2012 7:29:12 AM

Unfortunately i have just started second year so im not quite sure what software we will be using in the future. So far we have used circuit simulation software(specifically Quartus and NI Multism) and im sure within the next few years i will end up using MATLAB. Can you tell me anything about the ULV cpus? In the specifications, is the "low processing power" reflected only by the clock speed or do i also have to take into account that it is a ULV cpu. Or does the fact that it is a ULV cpu, determine the clock speed.
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September 22, 2012 8:50:01 AM

eesupaturk said:
Unfortunately i have just started second year so im not quite sure what software we will be using in the future. So far we have used circuit simulation software(specifically Quartus and NI Multism) and im sure within the next few years i will end up using MATLAB. Can you tell me anything about the ULV cpus? In the specifications, is the "low processing power" reflected only by the clock speed or do i also have to take into account that it is a ULV cpu. Or does the fact that it is a ULV cpu, determine the clock speed.


Well, by definition, these ultra-low-voltage cpu's will be downclocked, this in turn allows the core voltage to be lowered, and allow it to run with a lower tdp, which in theory, extends battery life. The trade off is, as you said, a lower clock speed, which lowers the amount of floating point calculations, which can severely hinder high load performance. This can be at least partially circumvented, by placing more cores within the cpu, so long as the threading schedule of the software allows it. However, this in turn draws more power, which can eliminate the gain in battery life provided by underclocking. A constant give and go, you could call it.

This is a huge advantage if you are using your computer while mobile, because face it, how much of the time that you spend on your laptop are you going to be using engineering software, maybe 10% ? That trade off may well be worth it, if you aren't able to plug it in all the time. However, if you think you will be near a plug in for the majority of this laptops usage, I would personally get a traditional cpu, unless you are somehow able to "overclock" these ULV cpus to something more standard.

As far as what cpu will be sufficient to your needs, I truly cannot say. It may very well be that you could have the potential to run software that requires the extreme edition i7's to punch out results in a timely manner. If this is the case, no notebook in the world will be adequate enough to run this software quickly. It's really hard to say without some idea as to the software you will use.

Finally, I personally am in Oregon State's engineering department, and we can easily remote access to their servers in order to "borrow" their hardware to use some of our more demanding software. This has several advantages, first, it keeps me from having to spend a ridiculous amount of money on hardware that I may not actually have any practical use for, and second, it keeps me from having to spend ludicrous amounts of money on software that I once again, may not have any practical use for. The trade off, however, is some really goofy latency issues due to my schools servers. Would something like this be available to you? If so, the computer you get would then become largely irrelevant, only really requiring a screen and a wireless card.

This is nice due to the fact that the laptop I use was $300 about 4 years ago. And has a sempron m120 processor in it. You honestly cannot find a worse processor today. It has a TDP of 25w. However, it still works fine when I remote access, which is what I mainly use it for.
September 23, 2012 7:08:33 AM

i really appreciate all the information. I guess i will email one of my profs and ask him about any cpu intensive software that we will use. For using computers at school, i dont know if they have open servers for us to remote access but in the labs they have quad core i7s with 3.0ghz and 6mb cache. Regarding the engineering software you use, what engineering are you in? because i do know that 3d graphic design software and solidworks kind of stuff are cpu intensive but as an electrical engineer i wouldnt be using any of that.
September 23, 2012 7:43:02 AM

eesupaturk said:
i really appreciate all the information. I guess i will email one of my profs and ask him about any cpu intensive software that we will use. For using computers at school, i dont know if they have open servers for us to remote access but in the labs they have quad core i7s with 3.0ghz and 6mb cache. Regarding the engineering software you use, what engineering are you in? because i do know that 3d graphic design software and solidworks kind of stuff are cpu intensive but as an electrical engineer i wouldnt be using any of that.



Environmental. I do a ton of modeling, which is a highly threaded, cpu intensive application. I can do it at home, but when I'm on the go, I have to use the servers. Additionally, I use MATLAB occasionally, but more often, excel and solver suit my needs. And actually, as far as 3d design goes, now that I think of it, I haven't actually came across a class that I can't just use google sketchup for.... weird....
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