Student Computer Recommendation

Recommendations for student computers in UTA's College of Engineering

If you already have a laptop which meets the OIT UTA minimum standards, you may continue to use it as long as it continues to meet our coursework needs. The following recommendation is provided for students wishing to purchase a laptop that is likely to be sufficient for four years of undergraduate engineering coursework.

At minimum, because software must be installed on your device, a laptop that either has the full Mac OS (not iOS), Windows, (or Linux for Computer Engineering students) is necessary. Chromebooks, netbooks, iPad Pros, etc. do not have the option to have these operating systems and will be insufficient for the engineering program.

General Laptop Suggestion for Fall 2022 Engineering Students

  • 64 bit platform
  • Intel 10th (or higher) Generation i5 or i7 processor (equivalent or higher) or AMD Ryzen 5 processor ( or higher ) with 4 core / 8 thread processor minimum
  • 16 GB RAM (or higher)
  • Screen size 15 inch (or your preference)
  • 512 GB hard drive (or higher), SSD recommended
  • WiFi, sound, and camera
  • Two or more USB ports (or a specialized docking station that will allow for more USB ports) and a video port (HDMI or microHDMI)


The following software tools are often used in engineering courses:

Software Windows 10 MacOS Ubuntu 20.04
Microsoft Office (licensed through UTA/free) yes (native) yes (native) yes, runs in VirtualBox
Mathworks MATLAB (licensed through UTA/free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)

Specific software requirements will be included in the syllabus for each course. Student versions of many engineering software applications are available from the individual manufacturers at relatively low cost. Many of these required software licenses are free to UTA engineering students. Contact your department to see which ones are. In general, SolidWorks, Matlab, and Microsoft applications are free. Also, in some cases, free open source software is available.

For Aerospace Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Software Engineering students, specific information on software and compatible operating systems is included below.

Hardware and Software Suggestions for Specific Majors

Aerospace, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering

Of the standard CAD software, currently only AutoCAD has a native Intel-based Mac OS version. Standard mathematics software, such as MatLab, Mathematica, and Mathcad, also have both Intel-based Mac OS and Windows versions. Currently, 3D modeling software, including ANSYS, Inventor, SolidWorks, PTC/CREO and CATIA run only on native Windows based computers or on an Intel-based MAC OS through a Windows emulator. FE software ABAQUS runs only on native Windows based computers. Standard CAD and FE software does not currently support the Mac M1 ARM architecture, which requires ARM64 format software. ABAQUS, Altair, ANSYS, Inventor, SolidWorks, MathCAD, Mathematica, and MatLab are available in on campus computer labs for coursework.

Electrical Engineering

The following suggestions as well as the general configuration suggestions are provided for laptop configurations:

  • Intel-based Windows 10 or 11 with Windows or Intel-based macOS with Bootcamp. 
  • At least 16 GiB of memory is required (32 GiB recommended).
  • Ethernet port (or a USB to Ethernet adapter), Wi-Fi, microphone, and Bluetooth.

The common software used in EE department includes OrCAD PSPICE, Cadence Virtuso, Keysight Advanced Design System, Ansys HFSS, C/C++ programming, Python, MatLAB, Mathcad, Mathematica, Texas Instrument Code Composer Studio. 

Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering

Students majoring in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering also need a Raspberry Pi 4b computer running 32-bit Raspberry Pi OS.

For Computer Engineering students the following suggestions are provided for machine configurations:

  • Intel-based Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with VirtualBox or Wine
    or Intel-based macOS with Bootcamp
    or Intel-based Windows 10 with Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • No 32-bit operating systems are supported
  • At least 16 GiB of memory is required (32 GiB recommended)
  • At least 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • Ethernet port (or a USB to Ethernet adapter)

To better evaluate your choice of machine, here is a list of common software used in the Computer Engineering curriculum with current level of support for each OS:

Software Windows 10
with WSL2
(not on ARM cores)
with Bootcamp
(not on ARM M1 cores)
Ubuntu 20.04
with Vbox or Wine
(not on ARM cores)
Microsoft Office (licensed through UTA/free) or LibreOffice (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native for LibreOffice, MS Office runs in VirtualBox)
Mathworks MATLAB with 5G Toolbox, Antenna Toolbox, Communication Systems Toolbox, Control System Toolbox, Instrument Control Toolbox, LTE System Toolbox, Phased Array System Toolbox, RF Toolbox, and Signal Processing Toolbox (licensed through UTA/free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
GNU C/C++ Compiler and Linker (free) limited use (run in Windows Subsystem for Linux v 2) yes (native) yes (native)
KiCAD (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
Analog Devices LTspice (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (run in Wine or VirtualBox)
Texas Instruments Code Composer Studio (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
Intel Quartis Prime Lite (free) yes (native) yes (in Bootcamp) yes (native)
National Instruments Digilent Waveforms and Adept (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
PuTTY (free) yes (native) no (use Terminal) yes (native)
Filezilla (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
Wireshark (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
FreeCAD (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
Cura (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)
Universal Gcode Sender (free) yes (native) yes (native) yes (native)