By Robin Owens 7 days ago, Hardware
Great civil engineering laptops for you to start a technology career.
The latest technological innovations have affected students and researchers across all fields and industries. The age when a laptop was considered a luxury has long passed as you can find such a device in most office spaces, labs, and households. The market is full of options at all price ranges, but not all laptops are equally well suited for engineering.
Regardless if you’re still a student or a qualified professional, the process of picking a laptop for civil engineering can be a tricky one. Thankfully, you can read this article to get a better idea of what to look for in such a device, what aspects are the most important ones, and what are the 7 best civil engineering laptops that you can buy right now.
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 5.29 pounds
⊕ Turbo mode
⊕ Long-lasting battery
⊕ Cooling pad
⊕ Nearly silent performance
⊖ Black screen issues
Acer Predator Helios deserves to be mentioned among the best civil engineering laptops due to its state-of-the-art GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU and 9-gen Intel i7 CPU. You can unleash the power of that hardware on the included 144HZ IPS display that has a 3ms response time. Such a combination allows you to work on large-scale engineering projects without ever noticing any lags or freezes. Other interesting features of this option include the Windows 10 OS, handy backlit keyboard, an efficient metal cooling fan, and the support of the latest wireless technologies.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 10th Gen | GPU: Intel Iris Plus graphics | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 13.4-inch | Weight: 12.47 pounds
⊕ 16:10 InfinityEdge screen
⊕ Convenient keyboard
⊕ Incredibly slim and small
⊕ Unparalleled performance in its class
⊖ Not a lot of connectivity options
⊖ Keyboard can warm up
This laptop for civil engineering students is the embodiment of sturdiness and durability. Made of aluminum, the XPS 13 can withstand the toughest working conditions while preserving its elegant design with minimum screen flex. The laptop is equipped with an innovative cooling system that spreads the heat over a bigger area and keeps the device cool when running high-end 3D modeling software. The keyboard included in the XPS 13 is extremely convenient and has a nice click to it, the large screen produces a fantastic image, and the 10-gen CPU ensures you can multitask as much as you want.
CPU: Intel core i7-10510U | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 14-inch | Weight: 5.59 pounds
⊕ Robust design
⊕ Impressive performance
⊕ USB Type-C inputs
⊕ Terrific portability
⊖ Subpar screen brightness
⊖ Mediocre battery
If you’re interested in the best civil engineering laptops that you can get for under $1000, then the Inspiron is a fantastic convertible option for you to consider. It’s powered by a 10-gen Intel i7-10510U CPU, has 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and offers you enough power to quickly access and process all data regardless if you’re working on an engineering project, watching a movie, or browsing the web. The laptop also has extra-slim bezels, meaning you get to enjoy an improved screen-to-body ratio, which is very important for such a compact model. The display offers a Full-HD resolution, is built on an IPS panel, and provides handy touch controls when using the Inspiron in tablet mode.
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 13.3-inch | Weight: 2.6 pounds
⊕ Sturdy and robust design
⊕ Durable battery
⊕ Unique ErgoLift design
⊕ Extra-thin bezels
⊖ Hardware doesn’t justify the price
The best civil engineering laptops have to be ready to endure the toughest working conditions, and the ZenBook can do just that, as it was designed to meet military-grade durability standards. Whether it’s shock damage or active daily usage, this model can continue to function properly for years to come. It also offers the brand’s patented ErgoLift design that ensures the keyboard automatically tilts to provide the most convenient typing angle, while also allowing you to enjoy superior cooling and sound quality. The cherry on top of the cake that is the ZenBook is the included Windows 10 Professional OS and the TPM hardware security.
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 512 GB | Display: 15-inch | Weight: 4.08 pounds
⊕ Sturdy, reliable chassis
⊕ Ultra-HD resolution
⊕ Runs cool even using demanding software
⊕ Handy keyboard backlight
⊖ Display brightness is dull
Unlike some other civil engineering laptops, the Pavilion can be used for much more than just engineering projects. It’s particularly useful for people that constantly have to participate in video chats, conference calls, and other online meet-ups, as it supports both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 wireless technologies. The included Windows 10 Pro OS is both convenient and extremely safe, as it protects the laptop from most viruses and ransomware that are spread around the web. In terms of performance, the Pavilion can handle any modern engineering software and is perfectly capable of multitasking when you have to work on large-scale projects. The only thing you can’t expect from this option is to use it for playing AAA games on the highest settings.
CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G1 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 128 GB | Display: 14.5-inch | Weight: 3.63 pounds
⊕ Refined performance
⊕ Great value for your buck
⊕ Sturdy chassis is pleasant to the touch
⊕ Touchscreen controls available
⊖ Dim 250-nit screen
Equipped with the latest AMD Ryzen CPU, the IdeaPad Flex 5 provides a previously unseen mix of power and cost-efficiency, making it possibly the most attractive 2-in-1 model on the market for any civil engineering student. This laptop offers a 14” display, a 10-gen Intel Core CPU, and a 128GB SSD, all of which are packed into a compact and lightweight device that is powerful enough to run any engineering software you need while combining the strengths of both laptops and tablets.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16 GB | Storage: 1 TB | Display: 15.6-inch | Weight: 4.85 pounds
⊕ Easily transportable
⊕ Cooling mechanism
⊕ Consistently high performance
⊖ Made mostly out of plastic
⊖ High price
While most slim products that are considered the best civil engineering laptops tend to suffer from overheating, the Zephyrus offers a unique cooling mechanism that helps deal with that issue. Each fan is equipped with 83 blades that are 1/3 thinner than the average ones, which allowed the manufacturer to increase the airflow by about 20%, meaning the provided NVIDIA GPU can unleash its full power without killing the system. The Zephyrus also offers a quality 15” screen and is equally well suited for all possible civil engineering tasks, moderate gaming, graphic design, and entertainment.
Acer Predator HeliosOur Choice
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The last thing you want after purchasing a brand new laptop is to find out that it’s not capable of running engineering software smoothly and without any hiccups. That’s why it's vital to understand what characteristics are crucial when picking a laptop that can handle management, modeling, analysis, and GIS software.
While deciding on the brand and the series of the laptop you want to buy is important, you have to remember that each specific model can come with different specs, strengths, and weaknesses. Be sure to check if the laptop you’re about to buy offers the specifications you think it does.
As a civil engineering student, you have to keep the GPU power in mind when making your laptop choice. While having a high-end graphics card isn’t particularly important for 2D projects, the performance of more demanding software will highly depend on its quality.
Whether you’re still a student or a professional, civil engineering will have you constantly moving around. This is why you have to consider battery life when picking between the best civil engineering laptops. It’s recommended to get a model with at least 8 hours of work time.
The optimal choice would be to purchase a laptop that comes with an SSD large enough to fit all of your engineering projects. Sadly, big SSDs are quite expensive. While getting a large HDD storage drive sounds like the second-best option, it's wiser to get a modest 128/256GB SSD instead since the latter far outperforms HDDs in terms of speed and reliability.
If you want to multitask efficiently, then you need at least 8GB of RAM. That said, the best civil engineering laptops are the ones that offer 16GB or even more since 8GB models can suffer from performance drops if have multiple high-end programs running at the same time. Meanwhile, 16GB of RAM along with an i7 CPU will ensure you can run any software you need without any lags or long processing times.
MacBooks are a perfectly viable choice for using engineering software as long as they meet the system requirements. Moreover, you get to enjoy Apple’s refined and user-friendly OS, which is one of the reasons many Silicon Valley engineers rely on such large screen laptops as well.
While it’s not an official requirement, having access to a laptop to a PC is very important. Even though tablets and smartphones can handle some projects, advanced engineering software isn’t supported by mobile devices.
At least 16GB are required to enjoy a smooth, efficient performance. 8GB of RAM can also be enough for most CAD/CAM projects that engineering students have to do, but a laptop with more RAM is better for both your productivity and the longevity of the device.
If you need the best laptop for AutoCAD, such a CPU should offer enough power even for large-scale projects. That said, if you plan to use software like Revit as well, then you should strongly consider getting a laptop with an i7 CPU instead.