Electronics > PCB/EDA/CAD

Macbook Pro with Apple silicon

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greyowl:
Hello all,
    New member here :)
    I majored in EE in college but took CS job after graduate. I am looking forward to getting back to EE as a serious hobby.  I am wondering if PC/Windows is pretty much the only game in town? I am going through Andre LaMothe's udemy class and he mentioned that most professional shops use Windows/PC and his class uses software that are Windows only. I do not have plan to shift my career but I'd like to learn/use the best tool for the job.
    I am about to fork $3k for an Apple Silicon Macbook Pro to replace my 9 years old laptop. The new laptop won't be able to run an X86 VM, at least not at acceptable performance level. If best tools are mostly Windows only then I might have to reconsider my decision.

Thanks!
   

Weston:
The biggest EE related tool I can think of that do not run on OSX are Altium (Windows only) and some of the FPGA toolchains like Vivado (linux and Windows).

You should be able to get away with running tools like Vivado in a VM, there is no computationally intense UI.

In regards to Altium, if this is for hobby stuff you will probably use KiCad anyways. Most open source electronics projects use KiCad as well as a number of companies now-days. KiCad can also open schematics / PCB layouts produced from most of the other PCB layout packages.

greyowl:
Thank you, good to know! In Andre's course, he used Proteus for simulation, Is there an open source or free simulator like KiCad for PCB design?

Weston:
LTSpice is free (but not open source) and runs on OSX and Windows (and on Linux through Wine) and is pretty well featured. Its used pretty widely in industry and academia. I would strongly recommend it.


There is also some simulation capability built in (linked to?) KiCad using ngspice, which is free and open source. However, the feature set of ngspice is not very good. I would recommend using LTSpice.

m98:
Since the M1 Pro/Max blows every other mobile computer out of the water by quite some margin, I wouldn't even consider any other platform if I where to buy a new laptop. Windows should also work just fine using Parallels. But you shouldn't really need any windows-only software for hobby electronics purposes. You're not going to use tools like ADS or Maxwell, or the paid FPGA toolchains that lift the artificial performance constraints. Other than that, modern embedded toolchains are mostly just at home on Linux and mac OS.

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