Desktop vs. Portable. We recommend that you have your own computer. A portable computer is more useful than a desktop computer, because a portable computer provides you the greatest flexibility to work with other students in various locations on campus.
PC vs. Mac? If you have a passion for one over the other, follow it. If you don’t have a passion, get a PC with Windows. There are a lot more people around who can help you if you have a problem on a PC. But if you have a Mac or a Linux machine, you can still find an intense group of enthusiasts to go to.
Any general-purpose or specialized software you need will be available for you on computers in the various computer labs around campus. You can purchase most software at student prices to install on you own computer, whatever type.
100-level Engineering classes do not require a calculator.
Most higher-level Engineering classes do require a calculator. Any calculator that meets the specifications published by the Mathematics department for calculators allowed in courses after calculus will be appropriate.