Advancements in technology have impacted every sphere of study and work environment. Gone are the days when laptops were a luxury. Today, high-performance machines are a necessity for college students and working professionals. Civil Engineering is one such field of study where students require machines that complement heavy software used for creating architectural designs, 3D modeling, rendering, and more.
If you’re a Civil Engineering student or a Civil Engineer looking forward to buying the best laptop for your study or work, then you’re in luck. Because we interviewed 14 professional Civil Engineers who have more than 10 years of experience and the models included in this list are based on inputs from them.
Unlike other fields of study such as Business, Medical school, Law school, Art school, etc., may not require laptops with specific configurations, students or working professionals in the Civil engineering field require machines that come with specific features such as suitable RAM capacity, large SSD storage, and safe battery life, among others. Whether you need to run heavy 3D software like Revit, AutoCAD, Blender, or Cinema 4D, hardcore design programs or need extra memory storage space, these laptops are ace.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops For Civil Engineering in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: MSI Prestige 15
- 2. Best Runner Up: Dell XPS 15 7590
- 3. Best with Dual Storage: ASUS ROG Strix Scar
- 4. Best for Students: ASUS VivoBook K570UD
- 5. Best with 8GB RAM: Dell i7577
- 6. Best Value for Money: Asus TUF FX504
- 7. Acer Predator Helios 300
- 8. Best with GTX 1050 Ti: MSI GV62 8RD-200
- 9. Best Business Laptop: HP Pavilion 15
- 10. Cheapest Option: Lenovo Ideapad 15
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is having a laptop a must for civil engineering students?
- What kind of a laptop should civil engineering students buy?
- What is a good screen size for laptops for civil engineering?
- Is it advisable to purchase a touchscreen laptop for civil engineering use?
- Is it necessary to buy laptops with additional storage space for civil engineering students?
- I like a laptop that offers high performance but is too heavy. Should I buy it?
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||10th Gen Intel Core i5||9th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|Graphics||2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX350||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or better|
|Battery||Up to 4 hours||Up to 8 hours|
We don’t want you to buy a laptop that provides a laggy or sluggish experience while running CAD software. That’s why we tested the minimum system requirements of 13 different software that are used for different tasks such as management, modeling, analysis, etc.
- For management: MS Project (part of Microsoft Office), Smarta, Project Kick Start, Primavera, etc.
- Analysis/Design: Strap, GTS, Staad Pro, ETABS, NISA, MicroStation, Struds, Xsteel, Sap2000, etc.
- Modeling: AutoCad Revit, AutoCAD 3D Civil, ArchiCad, D Studio Max, PDS, Tekla Structures, etc.
Best Laptops For Civil Engineering in 2021
|MSI Prestige 15|
|Dell XPS 15 7590|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar|
|ASUS VivoBook K570UD|
|Asus TUF FX504|
|Acer Predator Helios 300|
|MSI GV62 8RD-200|
|HP Pavilion 15|
|Lenovo Ideapad 15|
You could search and get an endless list of products that could help you with your civil engineering needs, but if you’re looking for the best, then you’re at the right place. It’s because we’ve checked the specifications of 13 different Civil engineering software and have interviewed 14 professional engineers to help you find the best-rated machines.
1. Best Overall: MSI Prestige 15
Even the most performance-hungry civil engineering students need a laptop that they can carry around with ease. If you are one of them, you should check out the MSI Prestige 15, which, well under the budget of $1500, packs some of the best elements you would need from a Windows-powered laptop.
Although the laptop is using an Intel Core i7-10710U, a high-end processor, it has a base clock speed of only 1.1GHz, further helping in keeping the battery life at large. However, the same chip can go up to 4.6GHz if a situation demands extra power. To complement this power in GPU accelerated applications, MSI has added an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q version, which consists of 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
While it’s true that 8GB RAM is enough to run most of the apps civil engineers use, the 16GB DDR4 RAM on the device will pay you back while multitasking. Because MSI runs a bloatware-free version of Windows 10, you can expect super-fast speeds and quick boot-up, thanks to the 512GB SSD based storage. Altogether, this device’s RAM and storage sections perform as great in real-life as they do on paper.
Being a device targeted for professional designers, CAD learners, and budding gamers, MSI has included one of the best display panels in this package. The 15.6-inch full HD panel may have the standard 1920 x 1080 resolution, but its AdobeRGB 100% color gamut means a lot when designing something. We also loved that the panel gets considerably bright to provide you the best experience in town.
Since the 15.6-inch FHD panel gives some space on the chassis, MSI has used that space to accommodate one of the premium keyboards on this device. This backlit keyboard offers an elegant typing experience, even when you have to spend hours managing keyboard shortcuts. Similarly, the trackpad looks classier, and the precision drivers do a fantastic job of smoothening the gesture-based navigation.
Considering the thickness of 0.63 inches and the total weight of 3.64 pounds, MSI Prestige 15 is definitely better than the other performance-focused laptops you find in the market. This is, we should note, after including a 4GB dedicated graphics card inside. Regardless of being a thin and light laptop, you get 2 USB Type-A ports, 2 USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, 1 HDMI port, and a dedicated microSD slot.
As for wireless connectivity, you have Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 as well. The beast laptop uses a 90W power supply that can recharge the batteries quickly. When fully charged, the device can reportedly run for up to 16 hours. We think that’s a little stretch, but you can expect a few more hours of runtime than what you would see from competitor laptops.
- Elegant, lightweight design
- Sufficient RAM and SSD storage
- Bloatware-free Windows 10
- Performance-friendly GPU
- Expanded connectivity, including Wi-Fi 6
- Built-in storage could be better
2. Best Runner Up: Dell XPS 15 7590
Civil Engineering students and professional architects who are looking for the best performing laptop that can help them in study and leisure must consider the Dell XPS 15. Why? We’ll share all the reasons with you.
This laptop here’s a great combination of power and portability, design and functionality, all of which are key requirements to civil engineering students. To begin with, it dons a classic look with the silver-grey aluminum body. The machine looks cool and feels good to hold. There is also an aluminum body in a silver finish, making it durable, sturdy, and sleek.
At the heart of this laptop is its infinity edge display on the 15.6-inch touch screen 4K UHD display. You can touch, tap and swipe with ease, just like you do on phones. At less than 6 lbs, this machine boasts of being one of the lightest high-performance laptop.
With its 3840 x 2160 resolution, the laptop provides sharp and clear visual, which makes it the biggest plus for engineering students who may need to use design software or work on web design and spreadsheets. If not that, the visuals take the movie-watching experience to next level!
It runs on an Intel Core i7-9750H processor with a 2.6GHz clock speed. For gaming needs, it is equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB VRAM. With the 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD, which allows students or professionals to multitask and that too for a long duration.
It provides 2 USB 3.0 ports that make it easy to connect to external devices. It even features an HDMI port, an SD card reader and ports for earphones. The 12-hour battery life makes it a powerhouse with super speed and large memory. The backlit feature in the keyboard lights up the keyboard in spaces wherever the light is low, allowing students to remain productive.
- Superior build quality
- Long Battery life
- No cons
3. Best with Dual Storage: ASUS ROG Strix Scar
Welcome your new weapon, the Asus ROG Strix Scar a laptop for civil engineering students who enjoy gaming as well as hardcore programming related to study and work. Want to take your gaming experience to the next level? The ASUS Rog Strix Scar is definitely for hardcore gamers. Why? Owing to its design, size, sound system, and the special gaming features on the machine.
With a grey-brushed aluminum top surface, this laptop shines like a sleek weapon. The sides though are built of plastic. It comes with 16GB DDR4 RAM, which is upgradable. This gives engineering students the option to upgrade if required for different uses. There’s a 256GB SSD that would make the booting and read/write from the disk even faster than normal HDDs.
What’s a laptop that doesn’t connect? As civil engineering students may need to connect their laptops to projectors for presentations or other external devices, this machine comes with five USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, an SD card reader slot, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack.
At 17.3-inch, the screen size is pretty large compared to the usual 15-inch and 13-inch laptops that we’ve reviewed so far. IPS-type screen, it has a wide-angle TN panel. The touchpad has geometric designs, perhaps to enhance its weapon-like look, and has buttons. It has a max screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
This Asus laptop runs on a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor. It also aids the gaming requirements with a 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics unit. And as far as the battery life is concerned, it is up to 7 hours.
The fans in this laptop aren’t too loud, ensuring there’s no noise disturbance when students are studying. Moreover, it has a top-quality stereo sound that allows a heightened gaming experience. Want to watch movies, videos, or listen to music? This laptop gives a surround, sound-like experience.
At 6.33 pounds, this laptop could seem a bit heavy but do consider that its size is larger than other laptops. With a one-year warranty, this here is one of the most affordable laptops for engineering students that provides high-performance.
- Great sound system
- Larger display screen
- lightly heavy
4. Best for Students: ASUS VivoBook K570UD
The ASUS VivoBook K570UD, a gaming laptop, is perfect for civil engineering students who prefer a laptop with remarkable visual capabilities. With a 15.6-inch full HD IPS-level display screen (1920 x 1080) and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB it offers a great gaming experience as well as enhances software and display experience for students and Civil Engineers.
What is more, its in-built display technologies provide sharper and more exact colors, which enhances the visual experience. Its 16GB RAM with 1.8GHz speed makes multitasking a breeze for students.
This laptop’s winning feature is its battery life, which lasts up to 9 hours and charges up to 60% within 50 minutes. Its impressive looks comprise a black finish with blue accents along the edges. The laptop is one of the lightest high-performance VivoBooks available with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U processor.
The backlit keys feature ambient light control to help students stay productive at all times of the day. It even has a fingerprint sensor. For those civil engineering project managers and students who need to use the laptop for presentations and connect to external devices such as a projector, its four USB ports come in handy – 2 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports. Featuring a 256GB SSD + 1TB of HDD drive, it easily stores a large number of heavy files.
All in all, this VivoBook is a great laptop for civil engineering students considering its configuration and features, battery life, and 4.3 pounds weight. The icing on the cake – its smart looks.
- It is lightweight and easy to carry around
- Features excellent graphics display quality
- It has an excellent battery life
- No cons
5. Best with 8GB RAM: Dell i7577
If you’re looking for a high-performance laptop for civil engineering students, you’re in luck with this Dell laptop. With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB), suitable for gaming and running multiple programs at one time, this laptop’s 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD allow for smooth and speedy functions. Exactly what civil engineering students require. The RAM can be upgraded to 32GB. The backlit keyboard makes it easy to work during all times of the day and in dark rooms, too.
The display of the Dell i7577-5241BLK-PUS, if not the best, is better than some other older Dell models. It is equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) graphics unit. Along with its 15.6-inch FHD – 1920 x 1080 p screen, it offers excellent color reproduction and viewing angles.
For those students who care about style along with performance, this one is a great choice for those who like minimal and subtle designs. The design features matt black and red accents. If you’re wondering if the laptop is cool enough to carry to the college and class, it surely is. With 4 USB 3.0 ports, it provides ample options for connecting external devices.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks of this laptop is its weight. At 6.28 pounds, it isn’t portable and students may find it difficult to carry it from home to college or from class to class. The other negative is its battery life, which lasts up to 5 hours on a single charge. Hence carrying the laptop and the charger would increase the weight for students who may have to carry other tools and books to class. It has an average processor Intel Core i5-7300HQ with a fast 2.5GHz clock speed.
However, with its few drawbacks, this laptop is a pretty neat design and a functional machine for students who are on a budget. It’s definitely a must-consider.
- Good design
- Good specifications
- Full HD IPS display
- Average battery life
6. Best Value for Money: Asus TUF FX504
This budget-friendly Asus TUF FX504 gaming laptop features a 15.6” display screen with 1920 x 1080 max resolution. Along with its price, some of the features that are among its key highlights that may attract students are: It is made entirely of plastic and has smart geometric patterns on the surface, and color accents, which enhances its look. With 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD, it provides ample storage space for files that students may need to store.
Let’s talk about the size and build. Even though ASUS designed this laptop to offer a thin and light option, it’s not as thin and light as it could be. It may look chunky when compared to other models and weighs 5.1 pounds. However, its size, thickness, and design work well for a gaming laptop.
It provides multiple ports for external connectivity: 1 USB 2.0 port and 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet port, a microphone jack, and power in. although this may be sufficient for civil engineering students, the laptop is missing some important ports such as the USB Type C port and SD card reader.
The full-size backlit keyboard offers a good typing experience, which allows new users to get up to speed pretty quickly. So if you love writing research papers you won’t have to worry about getting a different laptop for writing needs. The trackpad, too, is fairly large and allows swift movement with a matt finish to it. When it comes to sound, it is safe to say that the quality is above average. Its dual-side facing speakers are pretty loud and clear.
Coming to the key aspect of the laptop that gives it extra points is its performance. The CPU – 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (Up to 3.9GHz), 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, and Windows 10 operating system, make for great specs that allow great performance. These specs allow civil engineering students to handle graphics-intensive software, including Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and more. Add to it the good quality thermals that keep this machine from getting heated easily and keep it cool.
The battery life though, owing to its small size, is not too good. It lasts up to 5 hours on a full charge for normal usage and while gaming, it lasts hardly an hour. All in all, this is a good laptop for those students who are on a budget and can manage with a few of its drawbacks such as the poor battery life.
- Good thermals
- Excellent looks
- Decent display for the price
- Poor battery life
Going by the sheer number of reviews left by customers on online platforms, one can safely say that the Predator Helios 300 is among the best-selling machines for Civil Engineers. From the fact that this is a gaming laptop, students can be assured about its high-performance capabilities, inside the class and outside, too.
This laptop has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1800 pixels. Not only does it have a good-looking design, but its plastic body is also sturdy, feels good to touch, and is easy to carry works fine with an excellent heat management system for long durations, even though it has a plastic body.
The 16GB DDR4 RAM eases multitasking and keeps the speed up to a mark, while its 256GB SSD storage capacity gives ample space to store files, videos, music, and more.
The 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ provides ample options for custom upgrades – an extendable RAM and 2.5-in hard drive. In its armor is the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060GB with 6GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM, which provides top-notch graphics and visuals. It operates on Windows 10 Operating System.
What is more, you can connect this laptop to any other gadget with two 2.0 USB ports, two 3.0 ports, HDMI, SD card reader, and an Ethernet Jack. It comes in handy for Civil Engineering students for presentations, attaching to projectors, charging phones, and listening to music, and of course, for playing games like Skyrim.
At 5.95 pounds, it may not be the lightest laptop to carry around but with a good backpack, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. With its unique design, stylish looks, 7-hour battery life and affordability, it ticks all the hallmarks of a high-performance machine for civil engineering. In one word, it’s an ultra-smart machine to have for students.
- Unique stylish design
- Efficient heat management system
- Good quality sound and graphics
- The weight could feel heavy to carry
- Battery life could have been better
8. Best with GTX 1050 Ti: MSI GV62 8RD-200
The first thing to talk about the MSI GV62 8RD-200 gaming laptop would definitely be its design and build quality. Made completely of plastic with red accents to enhance the all-black look, this laptop dons a unique look for those civil engineering students who are style and design-conscious. It has a bold MSI logo on the back and looks similar to a few other MSI laptops.
There’s more than meets the eye to this laptop. For students who carry their laptops from class-to-class, home to cafes, and more, this laptop doesn’t weigh much and is pretty thin, which easily fits into laptop bags. What is more, it has NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 Ti 4G GDDR5, exactly what you’d expect in a gaming laptop. It comes with three USB ports: 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0; an HDMI port, a headphone jack and a dedicated mic chat, and an HD card slot.
Let’s get to its sound quality. The sound is great, but only with the headphones attached, as it supports 7.1 surround audio, which is most often used for gaming. The speakers are not too loud, but decent enough. The display quality is definitely great for the price of the laptop. It offers good sharpness, a spectrum of colors, and good viewing angles. This lends it well to activities such as gaming, editing, and designing.
That brings us to the biggest reason to purchase this laptop for civil engineering students – the performance. With its 8GB RAM with Intel Core i5-8300H and 2.3GHz speed that allows working on multiple heavy software, it makes demanding tasks such as video and photo editing, and gaming, faster and easier. Game buffs can play almost all games on this laptop.
At 16GB Intel Optane Memory and 1TB hard drive, its storage gear is pretty fast and makes the laptop feel a lot more smooth and speedy. The thermals? With 3 dedicated GPU heat pipes keep the laptop cool and silent even when it’s under high load. The display screen, 15.6-inch has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It weighs 4.8 pounds.
With so many plus points, could there be any weaknesses in this laptop? Well, yes, the battery life, like any other laptop, could be better. It works for around 5 to 6 hours on a single charge, which isn’t too bad, considering many other gaming laptops have much shorter battery life. It’s just that students will have to save up battery for work and gaming.
- Solid build and great design
- Overall good performance
- Launches programs faster
- Battery life is average and can be better
9. Best Business Laptop: HP Pavilion 15
The HP Pavilion 15 is another good laptop for engineers and engineering students alike, who are looking for a high-performance machine. Among the key points of this star performance, the laptop has low power consumption and low heating of the machine, allowing you to use the laptop for a longer duration and be more productive. The 12GB RAM with 1.0GHz speed helps to ace multitasking as it easily takes a load of heavy programs and multiple files simultaneously.
For storage, the 512GB SSD provides ample space for all kinds of files. The laptop features 2x USB 3.1 Type-A and 1x USB 3.1 Type-C ports that help quick file sharing and connecting to external devices. Its powerful wireless-AC technology allows quick file sharing, too. The combination of 12GB RAM, and 32GB Intel Optane Memory for storage acceleration is among the key powerful features that engineers and engineering students require on their laptops.
The processor of this laptop – Core i5-1035G11 – provides great performance and can produce 3.9Ghz with turbo boost. When it comes to connectivity to external devices for different purposes such as file sharing, presentations, and more, this laptop provides HDMI 1.4b, Ethernet, a power jack, a microphone jack, and more, in addition to the USB ports.
For design applications, 3D design programs, and other software, the Intel Ultra HD Graphics offers high-definition graphics with up to 1920 x 1080 resolution on its 15.6” IPS micro-edge touch screen. The battery lasts for around 10-12 hours, and the laptop weighs 4.08 pounds. All in all, the HP 15 is a great laptop for engineering students and engineers alike.
- High performance with good specs
- Features touch screen
- Boots in 10-20 seconds
- Comfortable, backlit keyboard
- Fan can get noisy
10. Cheapest Option: Lenovo Ideapad 15
With 8GB system memory for advanced multitasking, it can handle different software that students of civil engineering may need to work with. Its ability to run multiple software back-to-back and simultaneously while maintaining speed makes students’ study easier.
Among the star features of the Lenovo Ideapad 2.7GHz, AMD A12-9720P is a 1 TB hard drive that provides ample file storage space and 8GB RAM that keeps the functions smooth. It has an integrated graphics chipset – AMD Radeon R7 – with shared video memory that provides solid image quality. Whether you want to use the Internet, watch movies, play games or work on it, it never disappoints. Civil Engineering students who need to use software for design, planning, modeling and management, will find this laptop suitable for their needs.
With a good looking and smooth keyboard, a 15.6-inch big screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, and an average weight of 5.07 pounds, this is an ideal laptop for civil engineering students to carry around and work on.
Another key feature is its sleek, thin body. The energy-efficient LED backlight, four-in-one card reader, Bluetooth, Ethernet, 1 USB Type-C port and 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 2-cell lithium battery with up to 7 hours life don’t disappoint either. For those who prefer using DVDs and CDs for storing and backup, it has an excellent DVD Drive. The laptop operates on Windows 10 Operating System and comes with a one-year warranty.
In a nutshell, this Lenovo Ideapad is easy, flexible and comes with ultra-useful features – a laptop that looks simple but packs in plenty of features useful for Civil Engineering students.
- Elegant minimal design
- Wi-Fi provides Internet speeds up to 3x faster than other models
- Excellent DVD Drive
- Compact and solid frame
- Not the best for gaming
Frequently Asked Questions
Is having a laptop a must for civil engineering students?
Today, having a personal laptop for civil engineering students is a must. With classrooms, assignments, and exams, everything turning digital, having a laptop is a prerequisite for civil engineering students or those who are about to start their education in civil engineering. An option for a laptop is a desktop. However, students would require to carry their laptops in classrooms, too, and that’s when a desktop may not be the right choice. Hence, a good high-performance laptop is highly recommended for civil engineering students.
What kind of a laptop should civil engineering students buy?
Civil engineering students should buy a laptop that provides the specific configurations required for civil engineering programs, software, and apps. For eg, the laptop should have at least 4GB to 6GB RAM. Advanced programming activities may require higher RAM. The laptop you choose must allow upgrading for the best performance. Students must also ensure that the laptop is not too big or too heavy as they may need to carry it to different classrooms and back home. Another key requirement would be good display quality and sharpness, as students would require to design. Let’s not forget the option of gaming. Every student is into gaming and it’s best to choose a laptop that provides the speed and configurations for playing games on the laptop.
What is a good screen size for laptops for civil engineering?
The most ideal screen size is 15.6 inches. However, those who desire enhanced visual experience may go for larger screens such as 17-inch. Those who are looking for something more compact could go for 14” or even 11”. Full HD screens provide better quality visuals and more clarity. This screen also puts less strain on the eyes.
Is it advisable to purchase a touchscreen laptop for civil engineering use?
With the use of smartphones and tablets, most people are used to touchscreen devices. Touchscreen laptops are therefore easy to use. Moreover, one can always choose to use the mouse if the touchscreen is a challenge. However, whether or not civil engineers and students should opt for a touchscreen laptop is a completely personal choice.
Is it necessary to buy laptops with additional storage space for civil engineering students?
The need for additional storage depends on the use of the laptop. If the user requires extra space to store files, then additional storage space is recommended. Generally, having additional storage space is recommended. Civil engineering students may require a lot of space for storing files and creating a backup of past work and assignments and hence it is recommended to buy laptops that provide additional storage space.
I like a laptop that offers high performance but is too heavy. Should I buy it?
Well, if you really like the laptop and its features, its weight should not stop you from buying it. Remember, your laptop is an investment for your career and future. If it’s too heavy, invest in a trolley bag, which would make it easier for you to lug it around. Moreover, with the many options for laptop bags, you could look for a good backpack that is easy on your shoulders. Your dilemma sorted.
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to competition for the best laptop for civil engineering students. We’ve shared reviews of some of the most useful laptops with the best specifications. We’re sure by now you’re an encyclopedia for laptops for civil engineering students.
Keep some key requirements in mind. It is advisable to purchase a laptop with the latest operating systems, one that provides options for upgrading space, RAM, and other specifications. Ensure that the battery life is good, if not the best. And for those who want a laptop that serves gaming purposes, they should go for one that features gaming programs.
If you are a student or a parent wanting to purchase a good laptop for civil engineering we suggest you browse through these options and make a choice. The best way to select your laptop from the above options is to prioritize your requirements from your laptop and then choose the best.