5 Best Desktops for Engineering Students 2021 & Price

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What are the best desktops for engineering students? The various forms of Engineering help to shape a country both on technological and economical fronts.

Most of what you see around yourself today is a result of some sort of Engineering innovation, due to which we also have electric vehicles to travel and towering apartments to live in.

But the scope of Engineering is wide, and hence you cannot simply restrict it to a handful of objects like these.

Being this important as a profession, it is also necessary that a student in the field gets various resources to allow him to pursue his career and become a successful engineer.

So we have dedicated this article to those who are looking for a reliable system that can process hours of coding and designing purposes.

Since there are various types of subjects under engineering, it is quite natural that the students therein would have different needs.

For example, the one studying computer Engineering would not require the things that an Architectural Student needs, and so on.

Even so, we have kept 5 of the best options that serve several of these subjects so that most of you would be benefitted.

There is also a buyer’s guide at the end so that you know what you should be looking for when choosing a desktop later on, should your needs evolve.

Desktops for Engineering Students – Price

Minimum and Recommended Desktop Configurations for Engineering Students

There are many divisions in the Engineering subject that you can graduate from or engage in higher studies. Some of these can be run with very basic specs, and so you need not spend too much on things like coding or 2D designing.

Other Engineering Students require a dedicated configuration on their desktops, so not just quick CPUs, but GPUs with a good amount of VRAM have to be present. Some software need better graphics than others, while others need faster processing from the CPU’s end and more cores on it.

So while the first kind of users might be satisfied with a Core i5 processor, the second kind would need something better, Core i7 for example. Other specs like the RAM, graphics, and such would be needed better as well.

Minimum System Requirements: Quad or Hexa-core CPU │ Integrated or entry-level dedicated GPU│ 12 GB or more RAM │ 512 GB or bigger SSD

Recommended System Requirements: Hexa or Octa-Core CPU │ 4 GB or more dedicated Graphics│ 16 GB RAM │ 1 TB or more SSD space

5 Best Desktops for Engineering Students 2021:

1. Dell XPS 8940 – Best Overall

Dell XPS 8940 Desktop

Bottom Line: The XPS 8940 Special Edition is a very versatile desktop, not only among those on this list but also in Dell’s entire line-up. And for Engineering Students too, it has enough potential that can bring out the best results when working even on the heaviest of software.

Key Features:

Pros

  • Excellent Performance
  • Large storage and RAM
  • Ample Upgradability

Cons  

  • Higher variants can be expensive
  • GPU upgrade is needed for better graphics performance
  • WIFI 6 not available

Not every student has intentions of using their PC for anything other than studying, while others want to use a single desktop for multiple purposes.

The Dell XPS 8940 SE is a match for either of those. You won’t get a fancy case with RGB or high fps on games initially, but for serious coding and intensive AutoCAD even, this has got enough power.

The tower runs on a 10th gen Intel Core i7-10700 8 core CPU that has a maximum clock rate of 4.8 GHz. If you aren’t impressed yet, then wait till you use the 16 GB of memory installed in it already, which can be upgraded as well.

This is extremely suitable for programming and coding and you would never find the PC slowing down.

And not just a good processor, the desktop has also got a decent enough NVIDIA GeForce 1650 Super GPU that can give a further boost to your projects.

You can always buy a better variant since options having 11th gen Intel Core processors and RTX 3070 GPUs are also present. These are very powerful specs that can boost your productivity even more.

Along with this is the dual-monitor support that can handle 4K given that you have a decent enough GPU.

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So this is something that every sort of Engineering Student can use, from programmers to designers and even those whose requirements are a bit of both.

There is enough cooling present, ample upgradability, and right ports distributed between the front and back sides.

Even with a moderate budget, you can buy this PC that would be useful for years to come. Check out Dell XPS 8940 Review.

2. Dell Inspiron 3880 – Runner Up

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Key Features:

Pros

  • Affordable Price tag
  • Decent entry-level specs
  • Compact Size

Cons  

  • Not very upgradeable
  • Graphics-heavy tasks not possible
  • Dual-channel RAM

Every student in the field of Engineering needs a powerful CPU, if not a good GPU. Unless you need graphics performance, the Dell Inspiron 3880 desktop is one of the best PCs on this list.

This is the latest Core i7 version, but there are two other lower ones as well featuring 10th gen Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs respectively.

This one here has got 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD for storage. Now both of these can be upgraded, but the RAM slots are only two in number.

There is space for a dedicated GPU if you need one, and also for a full-sized hard drive. Given the small size of the PC, the upgradability is decent but limited.

The build is nothing exceptional, but the side panel can be easily opened for you to get easy access to the components inside. You get a decent number of ports and a DVD writer as well.

The Core i7 processor should be able to handle large calculations but to run heavy software you might have to make a memory upgrade and install a better GPU.

The hyper-threading that the CPU offers would be very useful in multiple use cases even without a dedicated GPU though.

So while this won’t be suitable for 3D designers, it can tend to mid-range programming and 2D modeling. Also, for something to start software development, this is a decent machine.

Given the price, the features are worth it but if you are ready to spend some more then there are other options better than this. Check out Dell Inspiron 3880 Review.

3. iBuypower Element MR 9320 – Great Option for Mid-range Users

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iBuypower Element MR 9320

Bottom line: If you need a good graphics performance for either study or games, then look no further than this desktop from iBuypower. It has got great specs and RGB lighting too so that you don’t have to compromise with boring vibes from your PC just because you’re an Engineering Student.

Key Features:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10700F
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB HDD + 240 GB SSD

Pros

  • Decent performance
  • Dual-storage
  • Attractive RGB case

Cons  

  • Not always available
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Not overclockable

The next PC in this list is not just for coding and it can serve multiple purposes, and you can even use it for gaming in your free time.

The iBuypower Desktop Element 9260 has got good enough specs and a lovely case that won’t let you get bored when working on your PC.

Inside the RGB case, you get a Core i7-10700F processor running at 2.9 GHz (base frequency, can be boosted to 4.8 GHz) along with 16 GB of RAM.

This is an 8 core CPU, with 16 threads and a cache of 16 MB to store more instructions.

This isn’t an overclockable CPU and for that, you would have needed the Core i7-10700K and likewise, which tend to be more expensive.

For graphics, the CPU itself may not have a solution but there is an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti video card with 6 GB of video RAM.

This means that it can run editing software and those related to AutoCAD or other mechanical software as smooth as coding languages.

Both an SSD and a bigger hard drive are present for storage to make sure both speed and space are available to you. These are a balanced set of features that you get for a price tag just below $1500.

So this is one such desktop that is suitable for all kinds of Engineering Students and can provide performance on both CPU and GPU fronts. Check out iBuypower Element MR 9320 Review.

4. HP Envy TE01 – Performance that Satisfies

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HP Envy TE01 Desktop

Bottom Line: With tons of reliability and convenience is the HP Envy desktop that makes it very clear that you wouldn’t need to look forward to buying any other desktop, anytime soon. Unless you are into overclocking or want to replace the GPU already present with a full-sized RTX card, this is an excellent option for an Engineering trainee.

Key features:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10700
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Impressive performance
  • Good connectivity features

Cons

  • Proprietary PSU can cause issues when upgrading to a better GPU
  • Freezing issues in certain models at times when USB peripherals are connected
  • Small space inside chassis

Another excellent option that we found that could serve the needs of an Engineering Student like you is the HP Envy desktop. This too, like the XPS comes in a sleek design and several configurations, each suitable for different users.

The one here is one of the best-configured Envy desktops, with a 10th gen Core i7 processor, an RTX 2060 GPU, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD for storage.

This cannot be overclocked though, but that is a problem that only bothers a handful of users that have plans for it.

The RTX 2060 video card gives the much-needed 6 GB of VRAM for 3D designing and modeling that might be included in your curriculum.

And not just that, with the octa-core processor to back it up, there are other things too that it can be used for.

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Some of these are editing, 3D or 2D rendering, gaming on 1080p, and much more.

This too supports a second display, which is another very important advantage that a user with needs like yours would be benefitted from. Check out HP Envy TE01 Review.

5. HP Pavilion 24-Xa0032 AIO – Value for Money

HP Pavilion 24-Xa0032 AIO

Bottom Line: Although not as good as an iMac when performance is concerned, this AIO from HP can still be much useful if you’re an Engineering rookie. Now it isn’t the kind to handle heavy graphical projects, but as long as the software you run are more CPU dependant, you would love the device.

Key Features:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-9400T
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Graphics 630
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB

Pros

  • Slim and attractive design
  • Touchscreen display
  • Good Cable management

Cons  

  • Not very upgradeable
  • Limited Graphics functionality
  • Not always available

The list would have been incomplete without an AIO, and for a student, it is not always possible to afford an iMac.

Hence, a cheaper alternative is the HP Pavilion 24 inch All-in-One desktop that provides you with a slim system to work on, excellent cable management, and a touchscreen display for added convenience.

The desktop has got an Intel Core i5-9400T processor and a 512 GB SSD for storage. But not only that, this is the only computer in this list that comes with a touch-screen display, which makes working on it further comfortable.

The display cannot be tilted although the viewing angles are decent.

There is 12 GB of RAM installed in it already that keeps the system smooth even under the workload. You may upgrade it as well.

The PC comes with good connectivity owing to the various ports at the back, and both HDMI in and out ports.

This means that you may use the device as a monitor, as well as use it as a screen for another desktop too, and this is an excellent feature if you’re studying any Engineering subject.

A keyboard and mouse also come in the package, so you get a system ready to use as soon as you plug it into a power source.

It would be very useful for coding or running algorithms, but Integrated Graphics largely restricts its graphics capability. Check out HP Pavilion 24-Xa0032 AIO Review.

How to Choose Best Desktops for Engineering Students?

The specs that you use on your desktop as an Engineering Student may be different than those needed in a professional workspace.

But this does not necessarily mean that you would have to upgrade to a new PC and replace the old one entirely.

With the right configuration, a PC lasts for years and unless there is a major fault in any of the parts, it would remain to be useful for quite some time.

This is why it is very important to know what sort of specs you need so that your requirements are met and you can save some money in the long run.

What matters most is to know whether you would be needing anything related to graphics as subjects like architecture, automobile, and such require graphics more than coding.

On the other hand, things like software Engineering require both and hence provisions for graphics must be kept.

Some architects indeed need to know how to program, and hence use coding software too. You should also have an idea of what sort of software you might have to use on the desktop.

This includes both the heavy ones that are mainly for designing or coding purposes and others that you might need daily for web browsing, etc.

The PC must be able to run these as smoothly as possible, which would make sure that you can complete projects and assignments swiftly.

No matter what the specs, the PC has to be reliable, and thus it would be preferred if you choose from a decent brand.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are a student, and any subject related to Engineering can make it even more complex.

To avoid that, this buyer’s guide is created that should give you an insight into what to look out for.

What would the desktop be used for?

This is the first thing that has to be decided before you go ahead and make a purchase. Do you have a secondary laptop or PC, or would you use this one solely? This can solve a lot of confusion and help you to fix a budget.

A PC that is to be used for studying Engineering has to be swift. If you need to render graphics and create designs, it would be better to buy one with a GPU present already.

You might also make an upgrade later on, but that is entirely your choice. However, be sure to have arrangements for the same.

Then, it has to be able to run a lot of tabs on the browser, while also running different applications at the same time, and so on.

All of these depend on the hardware being used, and the way you want to use the computer itself dictates some of the hardware choices.

Every student needs some refreshment now and then, and so it is quite natural to use the PC for playing movies and gaming.

But that is on the average level only, and a GPU that can handle both projects and games shouldn’t be very expensive. And along with these, the right accessories are also to be considered.

Form Factor

The size of a desktop is not a very big concern, but when space and upgradability matter, this does become a topic to think about. Full tower desktops are the easiest to upgrade, but are usually expensive and take up a lot of space.

An Engineering Student may not have a lot of space in the place where he resides (like the dormitory) or in his classroom where several others like him have to study, with a computer for each.

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Hence an SFF desktop comes in very handy in a situation like this.

Mid-towers are the solution when neither a full-tower nor an SFF is useful to you. They offer enough upgradability, save space, and come with varied specifications that you can choose from.

Now as you know desktops with bigger space inside also allow more upgrades and the addition of storage drives. What size you prefer depends on what upgrades you intend to make, or any at all.

You can choose either of the full, mid or small case sizes, but it is important to know their limitations from the beginning.

Processor

The right processor for the majority of students in the field of Engineering is a Core i7 with 6 cores, but a quad-core i5 also suffices in less intensive cases.

The former usually has more cores, better clock rate, and usually a better overall performance but is also pricier.

A Core i5 should be able to do most of the things that a Core i7 can, but there are cases where you could use some better performance.

There is multiple software that is needed to be run, and unless budget is not a concern, we would suggest an Intel or a Ryzen alternative with at least 6 cores. This should be powerful enough for both multi-tasking and running a single heavy software.

It would be wrong to say a dual-core CPU, such as a Core i3 cannot handle the coding. It surely can, but the experience would not be very comfortable.

Also, with an increase in workload or when working with 3D designs, you would have to upgrade to a better CPU, so having at least a quad-core processor in the PC from the beginning would be preferred.

Graphics

The tasks that your PC has to run can be of two types, one demanding a lot of CPU power and the others requiring a powerful GPU. When it comes to programming or calculations, the GPU has little to no uses at all.

Some coding software indeed requires very little graphics and the Integrated graphics are enough for everything that you do. But others, like SolidWorks or AutoCAD, work better with a discrete GPU, even though it is an entry-level one.

You don’t need to buy a very expensive RTX series card, at least until your Engineering studies are complete and a mid-range GPU should be sufficient.

Your gaming needs would also be solved by a GPU that can handle video rendering or 1080p presentations.

Some departments, like graphics engineering, designing, or software development depend largely on graphics. You have no other option than to get a good GPU if you study subjects like these.

RAM

No matter the CPU-GPU combination, what your PC should have is a lot of RAM and scope to expand it later on. A minimum of 8 GB of memory must be kept even if graphics aren’t involved, and you might as well save some money to buy better RAM sticks.

By better, we mean those with more memory and not speed. Now surely RAM speed matters, but not more than the amount of memory present. As long as it is in dual-channel configuration at least, working on your PC should be comfortable enough.

With a mid-range system, using two 8 GB modules to have a total of 16 GB of RAM should be enough for most, but 32 GB would be necessary when you have demanding tasks to complete.

Most software that Engineering Students have to use, recommend that 16 GB of memory be kept on their PCs, but in certain cases even below that is workable.

Storage

Regarding storage, we recommend at least 512 GB of it since there would be lots of notes, video lectures, and files to store over the years you study engineering. Using an SSD would be the right choice here, but a hard drive and SSD combination would work too.

But make sure to not use a hard drive only as there are multiple disadvantages that one has to face.

These range from slow storage and software responses to lengthy boot-ups. Even a 240 GB SSD to store the necessary system files could be very useful.

With the right budget, you may invest in larger storage drives and usually, these can be upgraded over time. As long as you aren’t using an extremely small PC, adding one or more storage drives would not be an issue.

Connectivity

With all of this sorted, as an Engineering Student, you must also have the right connectivity features so that transferring files and connecting various devices with your PC is easy.

The USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports would be needed for connecting printers, scanners, and such while others like USB Type-C would help transfer files.

The latest Bluetooth and WIFI connectivity would also be required, given that you have access to a fast internet connection.

And certain software need an active internet connection when you are working on them, so keep an eye on the connectivity features too.

FAQs:

Which desktop is best for Engineering Students?

There are quite some options in the Engineering profession that students can pursue. So the kind of desktop needed for the best performance in the related software would also depend on this choice.
However, the following are some of the most suitable choices for any kind of Engineering Student:
• Dell XPS 8940
• Dell Inspiron 3880
• HP Pavilion 24-Xa0032 AIO

Is Core i3 processor good for Engineering Students?

The Core i3 or similar Ryzen CPUs usually have 2 or 4 cores at most, and the highest frequency that they have is not all that great either. So while those students that have light needs or solely coding to do might just find one of these CPUs useful, a majority of them won’t. We would suggest at least a Core i5 or Ryzen alternative instead.

Is 8 GB RAM enough for Engineering Students?

If your desktop has 8 GB of RAM, then it can handle certain software only, not all of them. More memory is always better for the CPU to perform at its best, so most Engineering Students prefer having 16 GB or more memory on their desktops. It’s not that lesser RAM would not allow you to work, but you would soon need to make an upgrade anyway.

Finishing up

As an Engineering Student, one has complex subjects and calculations to deal with that aren’t possible without a decent PC. But the PC should be useful for all scenarios, study, work, and leisure.

Thereby, it has to be selected with great caution. The options presented here should be to help a wide number of viewers, while the buyer’s guide is sure to make things clearer.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin