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If you want to save some money and just want a scientific calculator, I HIGHLY recommend Casio's natural display calculator. Only $20. I've had one since junior year of high school and bought a 2nd one junior year at Purdue and never bought or used a graphing calculator.
It won't graph, but you can enter an equation and it will give you the X/Y (or in this case, X/f(X)) points in a table for you to use and graph. It can also solve definite integrals and derivatives.
The best part, though, is that it's natural display. So it will give you answers like sqrt(2), 1/3, 4pi, etc., rather than 1.6542135432468421... and you can enter in equations the same way. I think graphing calculators do this now too, but there's still the $80 difference.
Granted, I didn't do engineering, so maybe graphing will work best, but my program had the same amount of math, so I thought I would offer my 2 cents.
I second the dry erase. Expo clicks are my favorite thing ever because I hate letting them dry out, even when I talk.
This is my favorite calculator. Gives exact values [sqrt(12) = 2sqrt(3) and not 3.46, unless you want it to be] and it's not clunky.
>every engineering student (and some unlucky highschool students) have no option but to buy that specific model
Uh, no they don't. If engineers want to become an engineer intern, save yourself the trouble and get a CASIO fx-115 for $15. The FE exam doesn't allow any TI calculator and only allows 3 different types of calculators for the exam with the CASIO fx-115 being one of them. You might as well learn the calculator before your senior year. Also, the calculator can pretty much do all of the advanced math functions. Yeah, it can't do Calc 2 but you're usually not allowed to use a calculator on those kind of exams anyways.
@ Work - Excel 2003 (2007 - bleh, hate the ribbon)
@ School - My cheap little Casio fx-115ES
I also have a TI-Nspire CAS, a TI-89, and a TI-83.
In Calc class, the Nspire and 89 are verboten, so I keep the 83 and the Casio on my desk during tests.
Even so - unless I'm doing something like Newton's method, I pretty-much exclusively use the Casio. It gives me exact answers - I ask it for the sine of pi over 4 - It gives me radical 2 over 2. I ask it for the square root of 99 - It gives me 3 radical 11.
I had originally purchased the Casio for use as a cheap back-up. (It can run on solar power.) But it's my main now.
Note to self: Must stop using WoW-speak irl...
$60??? You should have bought this casio. The only thing it can't do that I need is graphing. It also doesn't solve indefinite integrals, but it can do definite. This calculator was awesome in my circuits class.