I was just accepted in to my Industrial Design program at my school and am required to buy a laptop. I have very little knowledge about laptops and all the details… Just wondering if anyone has any good advice on what would be a good starting off laptop for a student?


Thanks cyberdemon!

Congratulations! I wish you success with your education and career.

I got the macbook pro, i think its a good option.

More than computer i’d like to know what softwares i should start experimenting with.
Till now i’ve been playing with pixelmator, photoshop, raytracing, i downladed a trial of rhino… even google sketchup.

I found a list online of free softwares for mac.

Any suggestions of software i should focus on will be appreciated
Or the ones that a must so i can get it.


first, I think a Macbook Pro is a good choice.

I would recommend to set up boot camp and get the educational edition of Solid Works.
You will most certainly have use for it during your studies.

I wish I would have learned it in sophomore year.
It is not that hard, you just have to spend some time in the program.
SW plus a hypershot and you can make some pretty cool stuff.

Pretty much all 3d rendering programs (SolidWorks, Rhino) are PC only, so if you do get a Mac you’ll need to install a Windows partition and a coy of Windows (though Rhino and maybe eventually others are coming to Mac).

Id say must have programs:
-3d CAD (SolidWorks or Rhino are probably the top 2; Alias and XSI are great but pretty $$ so most companies/schools don’t own them)
-2d programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (you’ll have to make posterboards, etc)

-a good rendering plug-in for the 3d CAD programs (Bunkspeed, etc), you’ll get a lot better final rendered pictures than the default rendering options that comes with the CAD programs

-Sketchbook Pro (with Wacom or talet PC): good for hand drawn illustrations

Rhino is on mac, although still only in Beta. But its usable (and free while its in beta). Autodesk’s Alias Studio is also on mac now. Autodesk seems to take mac seriously and they also have some nice, free student licences for some of the programs (I’m not sure if its open to all students or if your uni needs an agreement with Autodesk). People talk about solidworks coming to mac also, but I haven’t seen any official statements on that.

For 3D visualisation (I mean non-CAD) theres MAYA.

The lack of 3D and CAD was a weak point for mac. While there’s still more choice on the Win-platform, the offering on the mac-platforn is certainly improving.

For 2D/graphics/photo, mac’s got what you need.

Thank you so much guys

I guess i did my homework. I already searched all the remote corners of the internet last week and dowloaded the Rhino Beta and the Maya 30 day trial… (i’m keeping it for when i have a better idea of what i am doing)
blender is kinda tough… google sketch up is so easy, it made me get the other softwares better.

Sooo it means i will have to go back to using windows as oper. system.
This ain’t right … but needs must.

Bepster, One last question please , you said “education edition of solid works”
i see on the page they have a student and an educator edition which one did you recommend?

The student version includes this:

[size=0]Pre-engineering Machine Shop
Technical Education Precision Engineering
Technological University Technical Drawing
Physics Technical Illustration
Mathematics Technical Documentation
eering [/size]

Education Edition says this:

[size=0]SolidWorks Education Edition includes the complete curriculum and courseware, making it easy for you to teach at every educational level.

SolidWorks is also simple for your students to learn and use. That means they can concentrate on learning the principles of engineering and design, and feel the excitement of seeing their creations take shape. Outside the classroom, they can hone their CAD skills with SolidWorks Student Edition.

Click on the links below to learn how SolidWorks can help you teach your students:[/size]

Thanks again

Rhino is going Mac and most people have a partition on their mac to run solidworks.

lost you,
don’t follow what has lead you back to Windows
want to make sure you understand you can run windows on a Mac as well

I meant :
Sooo it means i will have to go back to using windows as oper. system?

With “?” at the end.
I knew I could run Windows on the Mac, just never used Boot Camp before.

Thank you anyway :slight_smile:

How is SolidWorks running on a MacBook Pro with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB? Is it as fast as a workstation-class PC graphics card?

i run solidworks on boot camp on my late 08 aluminium macbook. (2ghz, 2GB ram, 9400m nVidia.) It runs fine for me. It can take a while to load some assemblies though. when i have reasonably complex parts. (lots of surfacing and complex features, less than 50 parts in assembly)

What are your requirements? If you are a student (i’m assuming you are), then i think you should be fine with what the macbook pro. If i was going to be a full time CAD/Rendering dude, then i’d want a more dedicated system with more power. So long as you aren’t running very large assemblies with very complex parts, you should be fine.

Solidworks seems to run pretty well on consumer cards. I think most people do it without any issues.

Like was mentioned, if you’re a student, you’ll probably never need to load any complex components (Molex connectors for example tend to be more complex than an entire set of product housings) then the video card will handle it fine.

I don’t get real view (i think that’s what it’s called) in solidworks on my macbook pro (unibody). Could be something that there is a hack for, I haven’t really looked that much into it. Other than that it runs well.

Personally, I’d recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad. If you’re going to be running SolidWorks then go for a T61p (can still get them new on eBay) or their new W series workstation. The quality, features and durability of the Thinkpad is really unparalleled for the price you pay. Don’t believe me? Check out this video - YouTube (I promise it is not a RickRoll). If anyone is ever thinking of buying on online, always Google search “Lenovo Coupon” before checking out. 99% of the time there is a 10-20% coupon code floating around that could save you hundreds of dollars.

Also, while SolidWorks will run on Mac’s (using Boot Camp or Parallels) it is completely unsupported (meaning if you call tech support they’ll just say run it on Windows). That’s not meant to scare anyone away, just want to be clear that support and issues will have to be resolved by forums and Google searches. Saying that, I know plenty of people running it on a Mac without issue.

Lastly, RealView is only available when running a SolidWorks certified workstation card (such as an ATI FirePro/FireGL or NVIDIA Quadro FX). It adds some cool looking real time rendering, and a bit of a visual aid when trying to identify levels of curvature. Other than that, its just for your enjoyment (since you can render the model in PhotoWorks or Photoview 360 afterward).

Refurbs on Ebay can be a great deal too… I bought my last two laptops that way and had a lot of luck with it. One was an IBM T42P a while back, which I loved for the super high quality feel an metal cover - it felt like a piece of precision machinery

definitely get this one!

Well, i love the design of the new macbook pros, but i’ve read that boot camp can only run windows 32 bit, which means that it will only utilize about 2.3 gb of ram. so if you get a macbook pro with 4 gb to run solidworks, you have shot yourself in the foot. also, at the mac store they told me that since the OS’s use different file structures, if you have something on the mac partition you want to access from the windows side, you can’t.

also, keep in mind that you will have to buy a copy of windows which adds another couple hundred to the price. basically i would love to use a mac, they are the bmws of computers, but there seem to be too many cons. Lenovos seem to be built just about as well as macs (with a similar price tag). also you can customize them to a large extent on the web site.

plus if you get a windows computer, you will be able to set yourself apart from the apple-festooned flocks of free thinkers on your typical art school campus. you will truly “think different”

Boot camp can only run 32 bit: False. A quick google will prove you wrong, and that even Windows 7 64 bit is supported.

You can’t access stuff on the Mac side: False. How to Access Your macOS Partition From Windows in Boot Camp. Again, a quick google.

You have to buy Windows: well, listen, if it’s a personal computer (esp as a student), google goes a long way. Look up TinyXP or TinyVista. They are streamlined, compacted versions of the respective OS’s. They install without a CDkey and take VERY VERY little disk space (doesn’t install all that crap you don’t need. Tutorials for doing so are easily found online. It will take you a weekend to get it all set up and running smoothly, but it’s totally worth it.

I run TinyXP on my late 2007 Macbook Pro, and run SolidWorks, Alias Studio, and Team Fortress 2 (although admittedly, I run the latter one wayyyy more than the other two) with no problems (at least not so far… I’m not exactly the shining CAD user).

It’s a perfect setup for me. I just switch over to Bootcamp when I need to run any of those 3 programs, and that makes me focused (No distractions like I have on my OS X partition). With my 2 year old computer, it takes about 3-4 minutes to switch to the Windows partition (that’s enough time for me to do my dishes or go to the bathroom or clean up my desk.)