Apple, Inc. is UK's other preferred computer vendor, and Engineering students with Macintosh computers should not encounter any major difficulties or incompatibilities in the course of their studies. However, some of the disciplines within Engineering are better suited to Windows computers, and all students will occasionally need access to Windows programs. Our Macintosh page discusses three ways Mac users can do this.
Each year we receive a number of questions about computers for incoming Engineering students. Hopefully the information here answers most of those questions, but if not, please feel free to either email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me (859) 257-3452.
It is strongly recommended that Engineering students have a personal computer, and students are likely to find a laptop more useful than a desktop. If you already have an existing laptop that is only a year or two old, you will probably be able to use that for another or two, then purchase something new later in your college career.
The University of Kentucky has a preferred vendor contract in place with Dell, Inc., so UK students get a discount on computers and other items purchased from Dell through the University's EBuy site. Because Dell is a preferred vendor, we've used their terminology and configurations as examples on this site, though other vendors will offer similar products and services. If you're looking at purchasing a Dell through the UK Dell Portal, look at both the standard configurations (Optiplex and Latitudes), and their full catalog configurations (Employee Discount Program and Student Purchase). Many of these systems are similar, but the prices can be considably different.
From UK's Dell Portal, pick "Personal Purchase". You now get two choices, UK's standard configurations or Dell's full catalogue. The examples below are based on UK's standard configurations (Dell Latitude laptops and Optiplex desktops). If you look under Dell's full catalogue you'll find very similar Studio and XPS laptops and desktops; you may even be able to save some money.
Which calculator a student can use in a class, at least on their tests, is determined by the individual faculty members. In the first few semesters, students will generally be allowed to use calculators that are allowed on the SAT, ACT, or AP tests. Basically, calculators that are not capable of performing symbolic manipulations. The Texas Instrument's TI-84 plus falls into this category, as do similar Hewlett-Packard models. Later in their academic careers students will be able to use more powerful models like the TI-86, TI-89, or Voyager 200.