Best Laptops for Engineering – 2020 Guide

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There are a lot of different engineering fields. Because of that we have created specific guides for many of the areas where a specific guide would be useful. This page also outlines some of the things that you as an engineer should look for in a laptop. Engineering typically requires a little more than what is usual from a laptop.

Best Engineering Laptops

Based on our research, our pick as the best laptop for engineering is the MSI GS65 Stealth-432.

1. Best Engineering Laptop: MSI GS65 Stealth-432

Image of MSI GS65 Stealth-430

The MSI GS65 Stealth-432 is our pick as the best laptop for engineers. It couples a good looking design with powerful parts. The laptop comes in a few variations. On the product page you can chose between different GPUs and CPUs to make the laptop fit your price point.

The CPU that comes with the model that we have looked at is the intel Core i7-9750H. This is one of the best laptop CPUs currently. It has 6 cores which is important for engineers. You want a laptop that has as many cores as you can get, and 6 cores is the most common option on high end laptops. You can get more in desktop grade CPUs, but for most 6 cores should be okay.

The laptop has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. There is an option for an RTX 2080 as well, but this brings down the price a little, and the performance gain is not so much. If you want to play video games then you can consider getting the model with the RTX 2080, but for most people the 2070 model will be good enough.

The screen that this laptop has in well suited for gaming. If you don’t care about playing video games then this wont matter to you, but the refresh rate is 240 Hz. Because of the great CPU and GPU, this means that you will have a really smooth experience when playing video games. The bezels are also incredibly small giving the laptop a premium look and feel.

See the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad) on Amazon.

2. Best 4k Screen Laptop: Dell XPS 15

Image of Dell XPS 15

The 15 inch Dell XPS is a great option for those who want a stunning 4k screen. With its super thin bezels this makes the laptop look incredibly premium. I want to mention that this is not the best option if you want to play video games. Powering a 4k screen for games takes an incredible amount of resources, and you are therefore better off getting a full HD screen with a higher refresh rate. If you are going to be doing 3d modelling or anything else where you can benefit from greater detail and you do’t constantly have to redraw the image, then this is a good option.

The CPU that comes in the laptop is the i7-9750H. This is a great CPU with a max speed of up to 4.5 GHz. For engineering purposes this is the CPU you should be looking for.

The material of the laptop is is metal which is great for build quality. The inside material is not as premium but it feels nice to the touch. Something that you might find a bit challenging is that with such a high resolution display, we found that you have to zoom in often to see program menus properly. Most laptops don’t have such a high resolution so not all programs are made to scale as nicely.

The GPU is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, which is quite good. It makes the laptop a suitable option for things such as video editing and the like, although you would get much better performance on a desktop computer.

Don’t expect too much in terms of battery life from this laptop. With powerful parts and a 4k screen that gets up to 500 nits bright, this laptop is sucking power.

See the Dell XPS (#ad) on Amazon.

3. Budget Engineering Laptop: MSI GF63 Thin

Image of MSI GF63 Thin

The MSI GF63 is a more budget friendly laptop. It is still not cheap, and that is why it also does come with parts that can be used for engineering purposes. As the other laptops here it has the Intel Cire i7-9750H. As mentioned, this is the CPU that you should be looking for.

The laptop body is made of brushed aluminum which is great for reducing smudge and fingerprints. Few things are more annoying than a laptop that constantly is full of fingerprint marks that are hard to get rid of.

It comes with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI graphics card. This is an older card but it is still okay. The fact that it has a GPU makes the laptop suitable for gaming, and other resource intensive engineering tasks. If you are looking for more entry level laptop for video games then this is a good GPU to get started with.

Although it is a gaming laptop per say, the screen is far from as good as what more expensive gaming laptops offer. It is a full HD option which is what we would want, but with a refresh rate of only 60 Hz it can’t deliver the same experience as a screen with 240 Hz.

The storage is also bit lacking in this laptop. It only has a 256 GB SSD on board, but you can upgrade this yourself in the future if you want. Also, the laptop advertises 7 hours of battery life, but for anything you will be using the laptop for you can expect significantly less. If you turn down your settings and screen brightness and only brows the internet you might be able to get close to this number.

Overall this is a good entry level engineering laptop.

See the MSI GF63 (#ad) on Amazon.

4. Powerful Lenovo Laptop: Lenovo Legion Y740

Image of Lenovo Legion Y740

The Lenovo Legion Y740 is a powerful laptop. This is a 17 inch laptop so it offers a lot more screen real-estate that some of the other laptops. This is a good size for anyone who need more work space, but you can get around this with other laptops by getting an external monitor as well. 17 inches is best when you need to move around but also need a large screen. The screen does have a 144 Hz refresh rate, so it is quite good for gaming as well.

One downside of this laptop is that it has an older i7-8750H CPU. This is one generation behind the i7-9750H that most other laptops on this list have. You probably won’t notice much of a difference, but if you are into video games then you want to go for the newer version. Also, for the price of this laptop we really did expect it to have a better CPU.

There is 16 GB of DDR4 RAM which is good. But as you can upgrade RAM yourself quite easily this is not such a big selling point.

One area where this laptop comes in strong is with the GPU. It has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, which is the area that adds a lot to the price of this laptop. The CPU might be the absolute best, but this is the best GPU that you will get in a laptop right now.

Overall this is a great option for those who are looking for a gaming laptop. For a work laptop specifically I would go with the better CPU, as it is more useful in more case.

See the Lenovo Legion (#ad) on Amazon.

5. Powerful Engineering Option: HP Omen

The HP Omen is one of the most powerful laptops on this list. For a great price you get some really good parts here. To start with it has the newer Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is one of the best laptop CPUs and will work great for any engineering task you might have. The CPU is the most important part of your laptop, so in general I would recommend that you go for this CPU or better.

One thing about this laptop is that it really does look like a gaming laptop. Some might find this a bit off-putting, as sometimes you might want to bring the laptop out in public. This is also a 17 inch laptop so it is quite visible. It is a full HD screen with 144 Hz refresh rate. This is a gaming laptop which is why the screen is so well suited for games. If you don’t play video games then you don’t have to think about the refresh rate.

The GPU is the RTX 2080 Max-Q. This is the best laptop GPU on the market right now, and you can use it for everything from artificial intelligence to the newest video games. For a lot of engineering tasks you don’t need such a good GPU, but if you are going to do things that involve data science or any number crunching activities, then this is a good option. A lot of software can take advantage of a GPU now.

There is 16 GB of RAM that is expandable. There is also a 256 GB SSD coupled with a 1 TB HDD. A hard drive is not optimal, but since it also has a smaller SSD it is okay. The SSD will fill up quickly though, but as long as you can install the OS and all your programs there it is ok.

The HP Omen is one of the best engineering laptops on this list if you can get over how it looks.

See the HP Omen (#ad) on Amazon.

6. Best Looking Laptop: Razer Blade Pro 17

Image of Razer Blade Pro 17

In contrast to the HP Omen, the Razer blade is one of the better looking laptops on this list. Only the logo on the back gives away that it might be a gaming laptop. Gaming laptops tend to have more powerful parts, which is why they are so prevalent on this list of engineering laptops.

The Razer blade has a few configurations that you can play around with. You can chose between the RTX 2060, 2070 Max-q, and 2080 Max-q. These are the best graphics cards for laptops, so for engineering they will be really good. The reason why we chose the one with the RTX 2070 Max-Q is that the price difference with the 2080 Max-Q option.

One of the main benefits of this laptop is that it the premium design and build quality. This laptop is as sleek as it comes, and the screen is a stunning 17 inch full HD, 144 HZ refresh rate, and almost no bezels. This laptop looks really good. Couple that with really good parts, from a manufacturer with a really good reputation, and you have a laptop that you should seriously consider.

The laptop comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, which we would expect from this laptop. There is also a 512 GB SSD, which should be enough for engineering. There are also a lot of other cool features you should check out.

See the Razer Blade Pro 17 (#ad) on Amazon.

7. Good Value Option: ASUS ROG Strix Scar III

Image of ASUS ROG Strix Scar III

If you want premium parts for a very good price then the ASUS Strix Scar III is a great option. To start with, this laptop has a 240 Hz refresh rate on the screen. Lots of engineers like to play games as well and this is one of the best gaming screens. The laptop also has the same Intel Core i7-9750H that most of the other options do.

You can chose between the RTX 2060 and 2070 Max-q on the product page, but we have picked the 2070 Max-q as our choice. In this case we think it is worth going for the better GPU because it comes at a good price.

There is 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. You can always upgrade RAM yourself, but 16 GB is a standard amount on high end laptops. When you get to mid-range laptops the norm is 8 GB. For engineering I would recommend you stick with 16 GB or more, unless you want a cheaper laptop and are willing and capable of upgrading it yourself at a later point.

There is also a 1 TB SSD on board. This is a great amount and should keep you happy for a long time. It is unlikely you will need more.

If you want good value for your money then this is a great option to consider.

See the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (#ad) on Amazon.

8. Budget Option: Dell Inspiron 7000

The Dell Inspiron 7000 is another budget option for those who are not looking for the best laptop available. The Inspiron is a good looking laptop, and it still has good parts. This is not a really cheap laptop, so you still get a laptop that is capable of playing video games and performing some resource intensive tasks.

You still get the really good Intel Core i7-9750H with this laptop. That is even better than what you get with the legion laptop. For most engineers all you need is a really good CPU. The GPU is not really important unless you do things such as machine learning, or you want to play games in your off time.

This laptop also come with a GPU which makes it suitable for playing games as well, just not on the highest settings. It has a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. This is an older cards these days, but in a mid-range laptop like this it is just fine. The CPU is more important in more cases, and this laptop has one of the best CPUs around.

There are other good things about this laptop that you should check out too. There is a fingerprint reader which I think is really cool. You can have a secure password and still log in easily.

See the Dell Inspiron 7000 (#ad) on Amazon.

9. Powerful Gaming Laptop: ROG Zephyrus M Thin

The ROG Zephyrus M Think is another really good bang for your buck option, perhaps the best one. For its incredible price you get a 15 inch full HD screen with a refresh rate of 240 Hz. If you are a video gamer then this is one of the features you should be looking for. A regular 60 Hz refresh rate is not the same, and you will definitely notice the difference.

You also get the Intel Core i7-9750 CPU, but at this point we are getting used to this CPU. The only time you should really be okay with a worse CPU is if you want a cheaper laptop.

There are a few GPU options on the product page, but this version comes with the RTX 2070 Max-Q. This is one of the best GPUs right now, and for an engineer you are likely to be able to take advantage of it. If you don’t need it for your work and you don’t play video games, then you can save some money by getting a weaker GPU.

The laptops is build out of a premium metal chassis, and it looks quite good.

See the ROG Zephyrus M Think (#ad) on Amazon.

What to Look for in an Engineering Laptop


When researching your laptop you should be looking into the following.

CPU

The most important part in any laptop is the CPU. It is the brain of the computer, and the better the CPU the better the laptop will perform. There are some limitations to when the extra CPU power will be useful of course. If you just want to browse the web then you don’t need the latest and greatest out there. But, for engineering purposes you almost always can take advantage of a better CPU. There are a few things to think about in regards to the CPU.

Number of cores

The more cores your CPU has, the more it can do at once. Being able to process multiple tasks in parallel greatly increases the performance of a CPU. For engineering you should be looking for as many cores as you can. The most common option for high end laptops is 6 cores, but you can also find some that has 8.

The limiting factor here is that your software is able to take advantage of multiple cores. Parallel programming is becoming much more common. If you are a programmer yourself then you definitely should make sure your software is multi threaded and can use more cores.

Speed

Typically, a CPU with higher frequency is better, but not always. In general, you should be trying to get as high of a frequency and instructions per cycle as you can. Also, most software list a requirement for the CPU in terms of Hz, but usually they are fairly low.

GPU

As an engineer, you should get a laptop that has a GPU. A GPU can be used for more than just rendering games, even Chrome is able to use a GPU these days. Also, more and more software is able to take advantage of the enormous computation power of a GPU. Machine learning for example relies heavily on GPUs to increase performance.

Currently the best GPUs for laptops are the RTX series cards. They are not the full version of the cards, usually a Max-Q version which is smaller so that they will fit in a laptop.

The other GPU cards are mostly GTX cards, which will do just fine for most. They are also suitable for gaming if that is what you are interested in.

RAM

RAM is another important component for engineers. Luckily, RAM is getting pretty cheap and this is something that you can easily upgrade yourself. Because of that I would not put too much importance of the amount of RAM in the laptop.

The important part is that the laptop has DDR4 RAM. You can’t upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4 as they don’t fit in each others slots. So for longevity it is paramount that you get DDR4. You probably won’t notice too much of a difference in terms of speed if you are a casual user, but as an engineer it only makes sense to get DDR4.

I recommend that you go with at least 16 GB of RAM. Low end laptops can come with as little as 4GB, but that will not do. For example, Docker won’t even be able to run with 4 GB as it runs out of memory. 16 GB is recommended, but you can get 8 GB and just upgrade it yourself at a later point too.

Storage

The most important thing regarding storage is that you get an SSD. SSDs are much faster than hard drives, and it makes a big difference in performance. Not just engineers, but everyone should get an SSD these days.

For engineering I recommend that you go with at least 256 GB, but 512 GB and above would be better. The storage space will fill up quickly.

Screen

The screen is not the most important thing for engineers. But, if you are into gaming then getting something with a high refresh rate is good. There are lots of laptops with a refresh rate of 240 Hz now.

Specific Engineering Laptop Guides


Below you can find all our engineering related laptops guides.

Laptops for Programming

Software engineering is one area where you would benefit from a good laptop. Things such as machine learning and data science can take advantage of a great GPU, and as such the laptops tend to be a little more on the expensive side. We also explore some more budget friendly laptops in our best programming laptops guide.

Architecture Laptops

Architects use a lot of drawing software that can really be taxing on the laptop. Having something that is able to render all the images, especially when you get into 3d rendering is important. We explore what are good architecture laptops.

Automotive Technicians

Automotive technicians require laptops that are more rugged. When working in a shop a laptop will be exposed to more dirt and rough handling than it would otherwise. There than taking extra good care of the laptop, we go over some of the best automotive technician laptops.

Last Updated: by Ole