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Old 10-09-2012, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Laptop for Solidworks 2013

Hi, I'm a first year Mech. Eng. at Cal Poly Pomona. Needless to say, I need a new computer; and it would be highly beneficial if it could run Solidworks 2013 (yes I have free access to it) and up. Have done a bit of research and my current 2008 Macbook Pro definitely won't be able to keep up...

So, here is what I have found out so far.
+ Anything with an i7 2.5ghz and quad cores should be good for a few years? (id hope)
+ Definitely prefer to have a supported graphics card... looking at the Nvidia Quadro k2000m series and up...
+ 6GB ram or more would be nice (cheaper to buy aftermarket)
+ Solid State drive would be reaaally nice (buy aftermarket? still mystified on how to transfer the OS from the stock hard drive...)

Best candidate I have found so far is a Lenovo W530 with the stats below is gonna run around $1,900


ThinkPad W530 - 1 Year Depot Warranty
Processor: Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.30 GHz)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
Display: 15.6" HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Backlit AntiGlare Display
System graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K1000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory
Total memory: 4 GB DDR3 - 1600MHz (1 DIMM)
Camera: 720p HD Camera with Microphone
Hard drive: 128GB Solid State Drive, SATA3
System expansion slots:Express Card Slot & 4-in-1 Card Reader
Battery: 9 Cell Li-Ion TWL 70++
Power cord: 170W Slim AC Adapter - US (2pin)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 with Antenna
Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters: Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN
Microsoft productivity software preload: Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 - NA English

Accessories and options:
4YR Onsite Next Business Day + Accidental Damage Protection


YES it needs to be a laptop, YES it needs MS Office, YES I know I'm asking for a lot... I'm just wondering if you guys know of any other options.
I'd like to keep it under $2,000 and obviously being a college student, getting the price even lower would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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uhhh... what? I run Inventor 2012 on a 700 dollar laptop no problem... if SW actually needs that, it's a bloated waste of space
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My home PC for Wildfire 3 is a P4, 1.5 gigs of RAM and a 256MB video card. Runs just great. Unless you are designing an entire car on your laptop, I don't think you need absolute top of the line stuff. As far as what to get, that's not where I can help much.

Is OpenOffice an option? That would lower the cost a decent amount.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I actually just got a Lenovo W530 for pretty much the same reason as you, I'm a mechanical engineering student at Case Western. The setup I have is pretty much the exact same as the one you have listed with the exception that I went with the 500 GB 7200 RPM harddrive and the 1920 x 1080 HD screen. I just received the laptop last week but so far I have not complaints, actually spent a few hours today working in solidworks and matlab running through data. The laptop seems very well built and I like it far more than my previous laptop (Dell XPS 1530). So if you've got the money, I'd recommend it. Also, check with your colleges software center, often times they'll have free downloads for microsoft office and other common programs. And make sure you purchase it as a "student" as lenovo will give you some money off. I got mine with a carrying case, bluetooth mouse and cable lock for under $1,600 including taxes and shipping. Your price seems a bit high.
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Last edited by O'Lane; 10-10-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApoC_101 View Post
uhhh... what? I run Inventor 2012 on a 700 dollar laptop no problem... if SW actually needs that, it's a bloated waste of space
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Originally Posted by desertT1 View Post
Unless you are designing an entire car on your laptop, I don't think you need absolute top of the line stuff. As far as what to get, that's not where I can help much.

Is OpenOffice an option? That would lower the cost a decent amount.
Heh, I dare to dream big (Part of the Formula SAE team...)
http://www.facebook.com/CPPFSAE
Aaaand we basically have to redesign it from the ground up every year hahaha

But I see your point, many affordable laptops could suffice. But at that point maybe I could spend the money on an OSX upgrade, bootcamping into Windows 7, and running with my Macbook Pro (2.4Ghz Intel Duo with Nvidia Geforce 8600 Gt) and actually be able to run Solidworks reliably?

Posts on Mac forums about incompatibility issues (Drivers and stuff) discouraged me from going that route... because I have little to no idea what I am doing Thats what spurs my need for a supported graphics card.

Haven't heard of OpenOffice, I'll look into it.
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Originally Posted by O'Lane View Post
...So if you've got the money, I'd recommend it. Also, check with your colleges software center, often times they'll have free downloads for microsoft office and other common programs. And make sure you purchase it as a "student" as lenovo will give you some money off. I got mine with a carrying case, bluetooth mouse and cable lock for under $1,600 including taxes and shipping. Your price seems a bit high.
Will do I forgot to add the student discount in...
The more I think about it, the more I want one. But will the investment actually last for a few years? Before hardware requirements change again?


Thanks for the replies!
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lol can't talk eh? boy is mar gonna have a field day (and night) with you.
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I wonder if I can put a pumpkin on the CNC mill? Hmmmmm.... (toddles off toward shop)
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have had my $1200 laptop for over 6 years and it still holds up. It can't handle new software, but it can handle stuff just fine that came out at the same time it did.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yea, don't do that to your macbook... use a newer windows-based laptop, brand new and set up specifically for the work. I got mine with a tiny 14" screen for small portable size, cause I hook it up to a 27" 1920x1200 at my desk for most of my work (I advise you to do the same, big 16:10 screen is the best for CAD).

Don't overspend on the laptop though. Get what you need to run the software and don't go overboard... having some extra money for a big display is worth it (unless you only need the laptop for school not for home/office use). Also if you can, get SSD in it... I've got one in mine for my OS and work applications and it's wicked fast for start-up and loading apps/models/assemblies.

Last edited by ApoC_101; 10-10-2012 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spankopotomous View Post
Heh, I dare to dream big (Part of the Formula SAE team...)
http://www.facebook.com/CPPFSAE
Part of the Formula SAE team, nice... I'm part of our Baja SAE team.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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May I ask why you need it to be on a laptop? If you're just modeling solids, then you might be able to get a less expensive laptop. On the other hand, if you're doing FEA and Flow, most laptops will have a hard time, desktops, even.

Also, I would recommend you run an older version of SolidWorks, as 2013 is still very new, and will be prone to bugs and kinks. The best versions are the free student versions, as they get released after SP 3 or 4, though their main downside is that they have the watermark.

Apoc, SW is demanding because of flow simulation and FEA software (SW is meant to cover everything from CAD to CAM), but depending on the version you have, requirements will be different.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertT1 View Post
I have had my $1200 laptop for over 6 years and it still holds up. It can't handle new software, but it can handle stuff just fine that came out at the same time it did.
That's the catch, the free software for me is the latest and greatest :P (2012 and 2013 versions)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApoC_101 View Post
... use a newer windows-based laptop, brand new and set up specifically for the work... (big 16:10 screen is the best for CAD).

Also if you can, get SSD in it... I've got one in mine for my OS and work applications and it's wicked fast for start-up and loading apps/models/assemblies.
SSD all the way, and I will soon be set up with a nice display

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Originally Posted by O'Lane View Post
Part of the Formula SAE team, nice... I'm part of our Baja SAE team.
Nice, I chose the Formula Team over the Baja Team... cause I like to go fast 0-60 in 2.7 seconds on a 106HP 440lb death-kart? Sign me up!

The poor Baja division is stuck with 10HP Briggs and Strattons... it is still amazing what you guys can do with them though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by towerofcards.19 View Post
May I ask why you need it to be on a laptop? If you're just modeling solids, then you might be able to get a less expensive laptop. On the other hand, if you're doing FEA and Flow, most laptops will have a hard time, desktops, even.

Also, I would recommend you run an older version of SolidWorks...

Apoc, SW is demanding because of flow simulation and FEA software (SW is meant to cover everything from CAD to CAM), but depending on the version you have, requirements will be different.
The emphasis on a laptop was so that I could use it at school on a daily basis, while this Macbook Pro would go to my Dad. Having a Solidworks dedicated desktop would just complicate matters. (As my parents see it)

I'll see if I can get access to older versions, but my Professor can only get the newest version (so far)

My dream would be to model flow through some of my prototype paintball gun designs BUUUT I don't have the cash for that high-end computing power :P (or do I?)

Thanks guys!
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Quote:
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lol can't talk eh? boy is mar gonna have a field day (and night) with you.
Quote:
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I wonder if I can put a pumpkin on the CNC mill? Hmmmmm.... (toddles off toward shop)
Ty
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