Is MacBook Air Good for Engineering Students? (The Truth)

MacBook Air is of course one good, perhaps arrant, machine for every engineering student. It can easily run all those 2D, 3D, designing, and modeling applications used by all the civil, mechanical, biomedical, and aerospace engineers, etc. 

It can also devour all types of complex coding and programming-like things and runs smoothly with all those intricate needs of computer/software and electrical engineers. 

Macs, in general, have a reputation for being some absolute killer platforms for college students to hang on to. I personally know a lot of students who swear by Macs to get through their academic workloads. 

And you too seem to be a Mac-buff, perhaps going to buy a MacBook Air for your soon-starting engineering degree. Right?

The Best MacBooks for Engineering Students in 2021 – My Recommendations

Our Top Pick
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
  • 13.3″ Retina Display
  • Up to 18 Hours of Battery Life
  • Apple M1 Chip with an 8-core CPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • FaceTime HD Camera
Editor’s Choice
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
  • 13.3″ Retina Display
  • Up to 18 Hours of Battery Life
  • Apple M1 Chip with an 8-core CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • FaceTime HD Camera
Best Value
Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch with Apple M1 Chip
  • 10 Gen Intel Core i5 processor
  • Brilliant Retina display
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • 1TB SSD Storage
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life

So, here is everything you need to know regarding, “is MacBook Air a good pick for engineering students?“. “Does it have the guts to go smooth with such fiery techies like you?”. And a lot more. 

Let’s explore.

Engineering Students Vs Others – Requirements

An engineering student, no matter what specific discipline he/she is in, has to do a lot more with a laptop than others. 

A non-engineering (nontechnical) student would perhaps need a laptop mostly for things like writing assignments, preparing notes/presentations, and routine web browsing, etc. Add some part-time gaming to the list too.

A nonstudent i.e. an employee, or a businessperson, would mostly need a laptop for his workaday tasks, perhaps M.S Office things, or whatsoever. 

But an engineer (student and professional both) is usually not into these typical things. He/she, as I said, would either be dealing with some weighty design-related programs or some tri-athletic coding-like lyrics. Based on what kind of major he is in; these things are a must while pursuing an engineering degree.

So, that’s why the laptop (specs) requirements for an engineer differ from anyone else. Now, let’s check out if MacBook Air checks all those “required” boxes or not.

Is MacBook Air Good for Engineering Students?

It’s no secret that Apple produces some ultra-reliable machines. MacBook Air 2020 is undoubtedly one of them. Boasting a seamless fusion with Apple’s mystic masterminding this one is a next-level laptop indeed.

It packs not that typical Intel processor but Apple’s own beast M1 Chip setup. It comes with Apple’s most advanced 17th-release (Big Sur) macOS. And has of course more novel merits than the previous Intel Macs.

Considered that, M1 MacBook Air is one demon choice for everyone indeed, yeah engineers too. There are, just a few although, minor lacks; I’ll discuss them later on. First, let’s get to the engineer vs MacBook Air thriller.

MacBook Air for Likes of Civil, Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineers

Not only these four but lots of other likes of these can find M1 MacBook Air a decent pick for their needs. Anyone who is using various designing and development software to devise some novel droids, etc. Here are the key pros and cons of MacBook Air for all these fellas.

Pros

  • All the Autodesk programs – AutoCAD and others, work extremely fine with a seamless integration on this Mac. Make sure you go for Mac-compatible software suit so that any licensing issue (unlikely though) can be contained.
  • All types of other widely-used engineering applications like MATLAB, Revit, MechDesigner, COMSOL, etc., can easily run here.
  • Unlike Windows, there are no such things i.e. “install, configure, or update the driver”, here. None of your crazy working or new experiments is gonna heckled by such things. Whatsoever you do or want the Mac to do for you, everything is just flowing. 

Cons

Although the M1 chip (system on chip) setup doesn’t let you down in any way and you can run almost everything on this mac. Most of those heavy designing software with recommended RAM and SSD of 16GB and 512GB runs quite smooth here. 

Still, here’re a few deficiencies, as I see.

  • It comes with 8GB RAM which is a bit, bit lagging when ruthlessly burdened. 

But again, this 8GB unified memory is way snappier and powerful than all the previous (Intel-mac’s) 8 gigs.

  • No dedicated GPU here. Everything is integrated on CPU i.e. M1 chip.

MacBook Air for Computer, Software, Electrical, and Other Engineering Students

M1 MacBook Air is the best budget solution for all computer and software engineering or other math-and-analytics-related engineers. For those 24-7 into the tortuous cyphering, coding/programming, etc.

Pros

  • All the several computer and software engineering applications i.e. programming and development tools, etc. run pretty smooth on this mac.
  • You can run both the iOS as well as Android emulators on this Mac. A special ARM-based-chip-compatible android emulator was launched by Google for this MacBook Air because it didn’t support any other. Anyways, you’ve got the issue resolved now.
  • You can use tons of third-party command-line utilities i.e. grep, sed, wget, etc. here to streamline your experience with mac. If not there by default, you can easily download and install them.
  • You can easily install and use the GNU Parallel to parallelize your working including all your searches and lots of other tasks. Plus, you can also instantly download the GNU compiler collection (GCC) to optimize your programming works.
  • As discussed earlier, all sorts of widely used engineering software are fun to deal with on M1 MacBook Air. Be they the previously mentioned civil, mechanical engineering software or those complex (math-related) chemical, electrical and other ones i.e. PSpice, ETAP, gPROMS, etc.

Cons

  • 8GB memory only feels minimum when you use both (android and iOS) emulators as well as any heaviest engineering app, all three at once.

Otherwise, no matter how harsh you get with MacBook Air, it still promises a smoother performance with this RAM and SSD duo.

Other Pros of M1 MacBook Air Irrespective of Your Study Major

With all the (hard to notice though) cons discussed above, here are a few added pros you get with this MacBook Air.

  • The M1 Chip here promises some beyond-belief powers. A single CPU core here is way more mighty than a single core of Intel processor(s).
  • MacBook Air features an incredible battery performance with some 17+ hours one-charge stand. That’s just perfect for a heavily demanding engineering student.
  • The machine is quite perfectly built. It’s premium-looking and ultraportable – handiness redefined.
  • Like Safari, Chrome browser too is so well optimized and runs smooth as silk on this mac. Browsing is 2x faster and each page loads in a matter of microseconds – guaranteed.
  • macOS is a certified UNIX i.e. a multitasking-supporting and multiuser-compatible OS. This makes the Mac one extremely multivalent machine on which you can run all the different UNIX, Linux, and plenty of other software.

Mac devices only lose when it comes to upgrading them as compared to a Windows system. You can easily upgrade a Windows laptop to your desired specs for a fair price increase. Whereas in Macs, just a little performance upgrade needs really heavy bucks.

So, that’s the only major flaw in a Mac as per my experience. Otherwise, macs and especially this one i.e. M1 MacBook Air, (with cons considered) is, of course, a beast in-budget pick for every engineer out there.

Final Words

I’ve done very diligent research on the aptness of MacBook Air for engineer’s needs. I’ve found out what type of engineers would be better off having it. And for whom will it be a bad pick. 

After being done with all that, here is the answer to one most frequently asked question i.e. is MacBook Air good for engineering students?

This article has everything you need to know regarding this one question or anything apropos to it. And yeah it’s worth mentioning that I have picked the MacBook Air with M1 chip here. 

For those older “MacBook Airs” with those typical Intel processors, etc. that if they are good or not for you, I am sure you’d be smart enough to answer yourself by comparing their specs with those of this one.