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What computer do I need? studying product design engineering at Uni.

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    Looking to study product design engineering at uni this September and currently unsure on whether I need a Laptop or computer and what specs it should be as well as what extra's such as printer, scanner etc do I need.
    Thanks
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    (Original post by James_robson)
    Looking to study product design engineering at uni this September and currently unsure on whether I need a Laptop or computer and what specs it should be as well as what extra's such as printer, scanner etc do I need.
    Thanks
    I haven't personally studied product design engineering, but I know a little about what sort of computer specs are suitable for any graphics intensive course.

    Laptop or Desktop? Your call - laptop obviously offers portability, which will allow you to move around a design studio, work in the library etc etc.

    Desktop will generally provide more bang for your buck in terms of processing power, memory storage capacity (although laptop prices are fast leveling out with desktop prices). Major advantage to a desktop? It can be hooked up to a huge monitor if budget allows. Never underestimate the size, resolution and colour reproduction attributes of a good monitor when carrying out design work. Lots of screen estate rules. Parts can also be swapped out and replaced in custom builds.

    Graphic files usually contain a lot of data. A hard drive with lots of storage capacity (1TB minimum) is therefore recommended. For super fast access to programs and files, invest in a computer with a solid state drive. Bear in mind that SSD Drives are only capable of carrying out a limited amount of read/write cycles, and will therefore die on you at some point (as will a standard hard drive containing a platter and an actuator arm though). Look into cloud storage and external storage in addition to built-in storage.

    Try to get a computer with a dedicated graphics card (as opposed to a stock built in one). NVidia manufacture a range of excellent Graphic cards. There are a lot of accompanying technical terms linked to graphic cards. familiarise yourself with them - http://tinyurl.com/ybz783

    As far as processors are concerned, the more powerful the better. Again, there are a variety of terms associated with CPU (Central Processing Unit) technology - http://tinyurl.com/qdbleto I would recommend ensuring that you have a multi-core processor with hyper threading capabilities. Look at Intel's 'I' range of processors. a high spec I7 processor will provide all of the processing power you require, and will not become defunct too quickly (well it should last you three years at least).

    Purchase as much RAM as you can afford. I would recommend a bare minimum of 8GB, but really, go for 16GB if you can afford it.

    PC or Mac? I assume you will be required to use design software developed by Autodesk. This software is available for both Windows and OSX based systems. Macs do have beautiful retina displays, but some PCs are very well equipped when it comes to visual displays. Here's another link that is well worth checking out - http://tinyurl.com/ns45aut they are describing purchasing a monitor for graphic design purposes, but the advice can be applied to other design tasks.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list of what to look for when buying a laptop/desktop for your course, but it will have to do for now because I am knackered and ready to go to bed!

    Perhaps you were looking for a spec by spec breakdown with specific components listed? Well there are so many combinations of components that this post could get considerably longer than it already is. Maybe somebody else can provide some more specific information on a good set-up, but hopefully the information I have provided is useful in some way.
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    Thanks for the reply, you echoed what I was thinking. Still unsure on whether a laptop or desktop is better as I could just have a keyboard, mouse and monitor at my apartment (which I already own) and just dock the laptop. I'd also need to carry a wireless mouse around because cad with a track pad is horrid. In terms or specs I was thinking around i3 or i5 maybe? Cad isn't too*intensive on the processor until you render which I could do at uni or over night. A graphics card would need to be around a gig, not somewhere I have too much experience. Ram sis blown through, especially when running Sims, so your 8 min is what I was thinking too. I also want a pc, rather than Mac because apples are less compatible with internal networks and solidworks isn't on it either. Thank you for your reply, it was of great help. Any other advice is welcome.
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    (Original post by James_robson)
    Looking to study product design engineering at uni this September and currently unsure on whether I need a Laptop or computer and what specs it should be as well as what extra's such as printer, scanner etc do I need.
    Thanks
    Get in touch with the department and ask what software, etc you will be using....whether they'll have their own computer facilities as well as asking a current student.

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