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Student Laptop Requirements

Students taking courses in the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department are expected to purchase and bring to SDSU a personal laptop. The ME department does not have a program that requires you to purchase a computer from SDSU.  This allows you the freedom to purchase any brand or manufacturer.  However, we have created the following specification guidelines to help you choose a computer.

Computer Part

Suggested Specifications

Minimum Necessary Specifications*


2.4 GHz Quad Core Intel i7 (or faster) or AMD FX series

2.0 GHz Dual Core Intel i5
or AMD A series


16 GB

8 GB

Hard Drive

512 GB SSD or larger

256 GB SSD

or 512 GB HDD (7200RPM)**


2K (2560 x 1440)

1080p (1920 x 1080)

Graphics Card

Dedicated NVidia or AMD



(3) USB 3.0/3.1

(2) USB 2.0


Wireless (Wifi) AC

Wireless (Wifi) N

* It may be necessary to upgrade after 2 to 3 years when choosing the minimum specifications
** 5400 RPM HDDs will have very slow boot times and software load times and are not recommended
*** Touch screens are not required

  • Wireless mouse with scroll wheel
  • 8 to 16 GB USB flash drive or external hard drive

Some software used in the ME Department does not have a Mac version available. It is still possible to run Windows software on a Mac computer by dual-booting (Apple Boot Camp or a Virtual Machine) and installing the software on the Windows partition. However, there will be glitches and workarounds required and not all aspects of the software should be expected to function the same as the PC Windows version. Therefore, we strongly recommend a PC, but will help students work through dual-booting problems.

All engineering specific software required for courses will be provided through SDSU site-licensing.  Access to all software will be provided to students enrolled in courses using the software.

  • MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, …) – student Office 365 Account “My Installs”
  • Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark) – Project, Visio, Visual Studio, Windows, …
  • Solidworks
  • AutoDesk (Inventor, Fusion 360, …)
  • Creo (Pro-E)
  • HSMWorks
  • Star-CCM+