Can I Use a Gaming Laptop for School?
When you think of a gaming laptop, do you imagine a bulky, neon-lit machine with a loud fan?
Finding a good gaming laptop has always been a struggle for PC gamers. After all, there are nearly 30 top-performing PC gaming brands vying for your attention. To get the best bang for your buck, you want a machine that can perform any task, work and play.
So, are gaming laptops good for school? Can you actually find laptops that excel at gaming and work?
The short answer is yes. It’s more than possible to grind away on a game and write papers all from one computer. Here’s what you should know so you can find that balance in your next gaming laptop.
For many PC gamers, the balance between work and play laptop functions can make or break the machine.
First of all, what kind of games do you want to play? Do you need high capacity storage so you can hold the newest Call of Duty update? Do you need hardware that can take hours of a high-stakes MMO?
It’s important to identify exactly what you want in your gaming/work laptop. You know which games are more technically demanding so that your machine can meet those requirements. However, games aren’t the only factor in your hardware decisions.
Here are some of the most common problems that PC gamers face in their laptop search:
- Battery life
- Poor Graphics
If you can identify what PC problems to avoid, you can find the right specs to help you avoid them.
Gaming laptops are built to handle the computing power that games require. Naturally, their specs exceed normal computing functions.
They’re built to run for long periods of time so you can game extensively. However, even some gaming laptops lack productivity features for work. For instance, most problems related to productivity include:
- Incompatible or insufficient ports
- Low battery Life
- Inefficient multitasking
- Heaviness/low portability
- Bulky, unsubtle design
Ports are particularly important to consider for work purposes.
Don’t be that gamer that can’t connect their computer to the projector at work or school.
You’ve probably seen it happen before. Someone shows up for a presentation but doesn’t have the necessary ports on their computer to hook it up to the projector.
Ports aren’t the biggest requirement, but you should still factor them into your decision. Here are the ones you need:
- HDMI or VGA
- Various USB (USB-B and USB-C)
- Ethernet port
HDMI is one of the most important computer ports for work. Most modern projectors, televisions and devices are compatible with it. If not, they’ll use the more old-fashioned VGA ports.
USB is a standard port for charging and connectivity functions. Because USB technology is constantly evolving, there are different generations of ports. It’s useful to have both USB-B and USB-C, the latest models.
These are just some of the external features to consider. For the laptop’s actual computing ability, you’ll need to look at the internal hardware.
An ethernet port is a plus for both gaming and work. It connects you directly to a Wi-Fi modem to improve your network. If you have to work from a data cloud, or you want to play an MMO, you’ll need this stable connection.
Are Gaming Laptops Good for School? Check the Specs
Sometimes it’s hard to know specs are most important in your buying decision. Here are some of the most important specs to consider for a gaming and working laptop.
Dedicated Graphics Card (GPU)
The graphics card, or graphics processing unit (GPU) is often considered the most important component to a gaming laptop.
It’s a specialized computing unit that helps your laptop render video and images. Think of this as an assistant computing unit to your CPU (central processing unit). The graphics card handles image-related computing tasks so that your CPU can handle other computing tasks.
Because of this, a good graphics card can help your computer multitask and operate more efficiently.
Beyond gaming, graphics cards are also useful in video processing tasks like art projects. If you’re in the art or engineering field, you might find graphics cards helpful for 3D modeling or high-definition imaging.
Before you choose a graphics card for your laptop, you need to know the screen resolution capacity. Not all graphics cards are compatible with all resolutions.
A mid-range or standard graphics card suits screens with a 1080p resolution. Higher-end graphics cards suit resolutions of 1440p, or even better, 2160p.
The CPU is the central processing unit or “brain” of the PC. It fetches information from the RAM, interprets it, and executes commands based on that information. The better the CPU, the more efficient your laptop will be.
Although a good CPU can speed up performance, you don’t need the fastest clock speed for a good gaming experience. In some cases, it’s better to get a CPU with multiple cores.
The i9 Intel Core Processor is one of the fastest CPUs on the market. However, many gaming laptops come with a mid-level i5 Intel Core processor.
If you want to multitask between games and working, you’re better off going for the i7. Most higher-end gaming laptops come with a CPU of i7 or higher.
RAM is the system memory, where data and information are stored.
As a rule of thumb, 4 GB of RAM won’t do the job for a decent gaming experience. This is a budget laptop that handles basic work functions like document creation and sending e-mails. It will likely struggle with multitasking and high-demand functions like streaming, uploading, and downloading data.
For gaming laptops, 8 GB of RAM is the bare minimum. You can run most games at this level and use low or high game settings. Some games may demand more RAM and run slower than others. However, 8 GB of RAM can’t handle other work or school programs running in the background.
16 GB of RAM is a reliable memory capacity that delivers a superior experience. You can run any game at this capacity and keep work apps running in the background without overworking the computer. If the games aren’t too demanding, you could also run more than one game at a time.
Anything higher than 16 GB can perform above and beyond.
Wondering why gaming laptops are so huge? It’s largely because they need sturdy builds to vent their CPUs and circulate air.
If you’re gaming for extended periods of time, you need an effective cooling system to prevent your laptop from overheating.
The last thing you want is to cook your CPU. With a good cooling unit, you can avoid common PC gamer nightmares such as a smoking or flaming laptop.
Unfortunately, this bulkier build is a dead giveaway for a gaming laptop. If you want an effective machine for both work and play, you’ll need to find one that’s sturdy but subtle.
Best Laptops for Work and Play
Need example laptops that are good for gaming and school?
The good news is that you don’t always have to trade sleekness for performance. You can take your game with you and be subtle about it. However, the specs you want may come at a higher price.
Most high-performance gaming laptops are at least 15 inches long. There are 14-inch gaming laptops, but they typically have lower-quality specs. You’ll also find that longer laptops have taller, bulkier builds for cooling.
Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and Acer are some of the top names in the gaming laptop industry. If you’re not sure which brand to consider, you should at least decide whether you need entry-level, mid-level, or hardcore equipment.
The 15-inch Dell G3 3590 laptop brings a balance of sleekness and performance. It’s one of the thinner, lightweight Dell models with a basic, black exterior. It’s a great entry-level gaming laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.
The HP Pavilion 16t-A000 and the 17T- CD100 both have sleek builds with entry-level specs. The 16T-A000 has a 16-inch screen while the 17T-CD100 has a slightly larger 17-inch display. Both have i5 cores and 8GB of RAM.
All of these laptops run under $1,000. Amazon tends to offer these models for less than $800, but the price varies.
Need a step up from entry-level specs? The Dell G5 15 might be a good choice for you. Although it only has 8RGB of ram, it’s got an Intel Core i7 processor. This gives it a slight edge over the entry-level laptops.
With an i7 Core, you have more multitasking ability for gaming and working. This Dell laptop also runs on the cheaper scale of laptops with i7 Cores. You can typically find it on Amazon for less than $1,000.
For hardcore gamers, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 GU 502, is the computing powerhouse you want.
It supports up 48 GB of RAM support and a powerful i7 Intel Core. The sleek build hides these powerful mechanics well, so it suits formal work and school settings. It’s one of the thinnest laptops on the market that enables you to game and multitask.
Are Gaming Laptops Good for School?
PC gaming laptops are some of the most powerful machines on the planet. So, are gaming laptops good for school?
Yes, you can find laptops that deliver a premium gaming experience and help you get work done. You just have to know what specs you’re looking for.
For more PC insights, check out the more content about computers and laptops on the site!