The Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering at California Baptist University has computer labs/classrooms available for student use, so owning a computer is not required. However, students find the ability to do work outside the computer lab beneficial. If you use the school's computers, you will need a USB Flash drive (pen/thumb drive) to transfer your files.
A Livescribe Pulse digital pen is highly recommended for note taking, especially if you get a desktop computer.
Mac vs. PC
Currently, all of the engineering computer labs are PC based. In addition, some engineering software (SolidWorks and some EE simulation software in particular) only run on a PC. AutoCAD and Excel both have applications for the Mac, but the menu structure is different than the tutorials for these programs. With the Intel based Macs it is possible to install an independent Microsoft Windows operating system on them (dual boot), and run the software, but you will have to reboot to access your Mac software. For this reason it is recommend to use a PC based system. Both Dell and Apple offer educational discounts to CBU students, though we do not make any specific computer brand recommendations.
Desktop vs. Laptop
Laptops are great for portability and will run most of today's computer applications. CBU has a wireless network covering the academic buildings, the library, dorm lobbies, and all campus residences. Desktops give you more power for the money, and are more reliable. They generally have a faster CPU, and are capable of more internal devices. They are also more upgradeable. It is really a personal choice.
- 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7
- 8GB RAM (more is faster)
- 500GB Hard Disk (more is better) (1TB Hard Drive is preferable and does not cost that much more)
- Dedicated Graphics Card
- 8X DVD +/-R
General Software (Student discounts are available)
- Windows 7
- Microsoft Office 2013 (you need Word for many classes and Excel used in EGR 122)(special deal $79.95: http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-us/default.aspx?cid=howtobuy)
- Student Discount Software (http://www.academicsuperstore.com/, http://www.journeyed.com/)
- MATLAB (student version is available for $99 at http://www.mathworks.com/academia/student_version/) Used in EGR 182
- AutoCAD (Free Download for students at students.autodesk.com/) Used in EGR 122
Other engineering school recommendations