Well, I'd definitely go with the TI-89. I've used both a TI-89 and a TI-83. It's good for those times where you don't want to mess with differentiating, or you want to check your work.
There's a ton more you can do with a TI-89, but I haven't used most of the features. It's also much easier to do multi-step problems on the TI-89 because you can just scroll and select the previous answers you want to use in your calculations.
of course we assume that TI calculators are the only ones out there. But HP calculators are much better for engineers. I recommend the HP 50g (look it up on amazon.) I've used the TI83/84, TI89/92, and HP platforms. HP is by far the best. I have 5 or 6 calculators, so I can confirm.
TI 83/84 platform: very ease to use, intuitive. but it's no good as soon as you hit calculus. (i.e. doesn't have a CAS)
TI 89/92/voyage200: almost all the functionality you'll need. It has a CAS, meaning it can do symbolic manipulation and calculus operations. But (imho) it's a very bad interface, and fussing with syntaxes can be annoying, and in short, doing certain things on this platform are much more complicated then they need to be.
HP 50g: all the functionality of the TI89, and then some. But it's also very sensible to use, once you get the hang of it it's as user-friendly as the ti84, but has all the features you would associate with the ti89. Once you start off with an hp calculator, you figure that it does things exactly as they should be done, whereas the ti89 made things unnecessarily intricate. several features in particular (equation writer, and index of how to use commands, and others) make it very worthwhile. Downsides: you'll probably be only one of few using this, so it's harder to get help.
But hp calcs also have a very wide database of actual programs for the calculator suited for various engineering tasks. (hpcalc.org) The programs available for ti calc are pretty much just games.
I have a TI-89 titanium that I got off eBay for ~ $70. It's awesome and I have hardly even scratched the surface of what it can do. I'll be a freshman in the fall.
When do professors start allowing use of calculators? I've heard most beg. classes don't allow them...
Don't get hung up on the calculator thing too much. It really boils down to 2 things- T.I. 89 or H.P. 50g.
T.I. 89 is more prevalent..if you need help, ask the student next to you. I think the H.P. can do more, the programs offered and also the ability to hook up external cords to link to external boxes. Plus a memory expansion card. Either way spend some time learning how to use they are awesome later on..
But honestly do you need them? You really learn more if you don't use it. I took 3 calculus classes and diff eq, physics and statics, just using paper and pencil. Its a lot better when you see a formula and know what it's supposed to look like on a graph, as opposed to putting it in your calculator to see what the graph looks like.
Interesting thread. Son will be a freshman this fall in mechanical engineering, and none of his "book lists" include a calculator. Am I to assume he will not be permitted to use a calculator in his freshman engineering or Calc I class?
I made it through all the math and physics classes fine with my TI84 plus. Maybe it would have been more convenient to use an 89. But I was doing fine with my 84 and didn't wanna switch and learn how to use the 89.
Montegut: I think it just depends on the teacher. Most of my math and physics teachers only let people use scientific calculators on tests. But your son will definitely want a graphing calculator...
When I was in school, engineering classes generally allow any kind of calculator and math classes did not allow calculator use. Some engineering classes did not allow calculators and it wasn't a big deal as it wouldn't have helped. The TI-89 is pretty much the de facto standard as it's the most popular calculator of them all. You don't HAVE TO have one (or similar), but you are definitely at a disadvantage on tests without one.
I made it through all the math courses with just a TI-83. I don't think you can do much calculus on it though. I notice a lot of people using their calculators to double check their calculus.
Replies to: Which kind of calculator is the best for an Engineering major
There's a ton more you can do with a TI-89, but I haven't used most of the features. It's also much easier to do multi-step problems on the TI-89 because you can just scroll and select the previous answers you want to use in your calculations.
Engineering is applied physics and physics is mathematics based.
TI 83/84 platform: very ease to use, intuitive. but it's no good as soon as you hit calculus. (i.e. doesn't have a CAS)
TI 89/92/voyage200: almost all the functionality you'll need. It has a CAS, meaning it can do symbolic manipulation and calculus operations. But (imho) it's a very bad interface, and fussing with syntaxes can be annoying, and in short, doing certain things on this platform are much more complicated then they need to be.
HP 50g: all the functionality of the TI89, and then some. But it's also very sensible to use, once you get the hang of it it's as user-friendly as the ti84, but has all the features you would associate with the ti89. Once you start off with an hp calculator, you figure that it does things exactly as they should be done, whereas the ti89 made things unnecessarily intricate. several features in particular (equation writer, and index of how to use commands, and others) make it very worthwhile. Downsides: you'll probably be only one of few using this, so it's harder to get help.
But hp calcs also have a very wide database of actual programs for the calculator suited for various engineering tasks. (hpcalc.org) The programs available for ti calc are pretty much just games.
Amazon.com: HP 50g Graphing Calculator (F2229AA#ABA): Electronics
When do professors start allowing use of calculators? I've heard most beg. classes don't allow them...
T.I. 89 is more prevalent..if you need help, ask the student next to you. I think the H.P. can do more, the programs offered and also the ability to hook up external cords to link to external boxes. Plus a memory expansion card. Either way spend some time learning how to use they are awesome later on..
But honestly do you need them? You really learn more if you don't use it. I took 3 calculus classes and diff eq, physics and statics, just using paper and pencil. Its a lot better when you see a formula and know what it's supposed to look like on a graph, as opposed to putting it in your calculator to see what the graph looks like.
Montegut: I think it just depends on the teacher. Most of my math and physics teachers only let people use scientific calculators on tests. But your son will definitely want a graphing calculator...